OAKLAND -- Sunday's 23-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans had the feeling of more than the usual sick and demoralizing gut punch for the Raiders. By any objective measure, this game was their last best chance to remain a playoff "contender" in 2013.

And they blew that chance. The Titans scored the winning touchdown with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

"We still have some learning to do as a team on how to finish games," linebacker Nick Roach said. "That's what we need to focus on."

Well, among other things.

Bottom line: If you own a fourth-quarter lead on your home field over a struggling team with a losing record such as the Titans, there is no excuse for letting victory slip away. The Raiders weren't making one.

"We just didn't make enough plays to win the game," coach Dennis Allen said.

In truth, it was the Raiders' good fortune to even be facing Sunday's kickoff as part of the so-called "postseason picture." At kickoff time against Tennessee, the Raiders and their 4-6 mark were legitimately in the hunt for the lone remaining AFC wild card playoff spot .

The Titans took the field with an identical 4-6 record. And as the scores of early NFL games trickled in, it became apparent that Sunday's winner at O.co Coliseum would hold the tiebreaking advantage over all other 5-6 teams for that sixth and final postseason position.

That winner turned out to be the Tennessee Titans. Which means the Raiders are looking up at 11 other AFC teams with better records. The 4-7 record could become 4-8 very quickly because the Raiders face a Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas against the Cowboys.

The performance against Tennessee left much to be desired. It is rare to put primary blame on Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski for a loss. But there was no way around it after Sunday's final result.

Janikowski, as a 14-year veteran with a famously reliable foot, should know how to handle just about anything. But for whatever reason, he had a horrible day.

First, Janikowski barely made a wobbly 52-yarder in the first quarter. He did later convert two shorter attempts -- but inexplicably missed a 32-yard attempt wide left and did the same with a 48-yarder. If both had been through the uprights, the Raiders would have been winners.

Janikowski had not missed two field goal attempts in the same game since 2010 -- and that happened away from home, in Arizona.

One report was that Janikowski had complained about a bad hold on one of the misses to a sideline radio reporter. But the Raiders kicker was unavailable to confirm this. He was gone by the time media members entered the dressing room.

"I feel like Sebastian is going to work through this," Allen said. "I still have all the confidence that when I send him out there, it's going to go through. So it's just something that we have to go through and we have to get better in that area."

Trouble is, by the time that happens, it will already be too late -- even if Janikowski was not the only responsible Raider party in terms of blame Sunday, either.

With quarterback Terrell Pryor still benched, rookie Matt McGloin had some good moments (and earned another start Thursday) but he threw one terrible interception that set up a Titans' field goal.

The Raiders defense played well in spurts but allowed Tennessee's offense to convert 10 of 18 third-down plays, including four of five in the final period.

This led to the ultimate outcome in those final seconds. If the Raiders had stopped that final third down play by Tennessee, there likely would have been overtime.

Instead, Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright lined up in the slot and was somehow able to find way too much open space at the Raiders' 2-yard line. Wright caught the ball from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and dove into the end zone.

Allen, who ordered up just a three-man pass rush on the play, said that if he had to do it over again, "I would have been more aggressive going after" Fitzpatrick.

With basically nothing to lose, there's no need for the Raiders to be anything but aggressive from this point. Is there?

Instead, Allen's hesitancy added up to one more Sunday afternoon of not-quite-there-yet for the Raiders. It's really too bad. With their two young quarterbacks and a vastly improved defensive concept, this is a far more intriguing team than a year ago. It has just five more weeks in 2013 to prove it is a better one.

Contact Mark Purdy at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.