OAKLAND The Raiders are truly sorry.
Sorry they lost their third consecutive game by giving up an avalanche of points, this time by the score of 38-17 to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at O.co Coliseum.
Sorry they allowed the game to turn for good on big plays at the tail end of the first half and the first play of the second half.
Sorry they let down a rabid fan base, with a crowd of 56,880 forgiven for venting its frustration during the second half.
Even owner Mark Davis appeared in the locker room to offer an apology and concede his embarrassment over a 3-7 record and three consecutive defeats, during which the Raiders have given up an average of 45 points.
"We had a great crowd (Sunday); they were into it," Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said. "We let ourselves down. We let them down by not playing up to our potential by getting beat the way we did."
The game was statistically deceiving in that the Raiders outgained the Saints 404-382, but New Orleans quickly took a 14-0 lead and took charge in the third quarter.
Quarterback Drew Brees completed 20 of 27 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Running back Mark Ingram raced 27 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and led a running game that had 153 yards on 28 carries 98 coming in the second half while protecting a lead.
It was the fifth win in six games for the Saints after an 0-4 start and a portrait of two teams headed in opposite directions. At 5-5, New Orleans can legitimately talk about a playoff run.
"We're on our way," Brees said. "Winning five of six with the schedule we had in front of us, a lot of people would have said that's pretty unrealistic."
The Raiders? They'll talk about it and might even believe it. It's the job of a professional athlete to think anything is possible.
Marcel Reece, who rushed for a career-high 103 yards on 19 carries and whose 56-yard reception set up the Raiders' first touchdown, bristled at the suggestion of this being a rebuilding year.
"There's no such thing as a rebuild year," Reece said. "This is a business. If you rebuild it, you get out. We're shooting to win out the rest of the season; that's the bottom line."
Breakdowns came in all phases for the Raiders, who were without running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, defensive tackle Richard Seymour and strong safety Tyvon Branch, the team's leading tackler.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen insisted there has been improvement, even if the results haven't shown it.
"We have to continue to work to get better," Allen said. "Obviously, we've sustained some injuries, and we knew going into the season that depth was a challenge. But our guys are coming to battle. They're continuing to fight, and that's what we've got to do."
Palmer completed 22 of 40 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns. But two interceptions, both on passes intended for Brandon Myers, were huge.
Trailing 7-0, Palmer attempted to force a ball to Myers, but the Saints' Malcolm Jenkins got there first and ran it back 55 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
On the first series of the second quarter, Palmer drove the Raiders to the New Orleans 7-yard line. On third and goal, Palmer's pass bounced off Myers to Roman Harper.
Allen cited a 38-yard touchdown strike from Brees to Lance Moore with 48 seconds left in the first half cornerback Michael Huff was victimized on a double move and a 75-yard kickoff return by Travaris Cadet to open the second half as game changers.
Ingram scored on the next play for a 28-7 lead.
Jurisprudence An Alabama judge dismissed charges against Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain after McClain's accuser told prosecutors he no longer wanted to pursue the case.
McClain was sentenced to 180 days in jail for allegedly threatening to kill a man and firing a gun next to his head, but his lawyer appealed.