What was billed as Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum on Sunday transformed into Quarterback Tryout Day for the Silver and Black.
It had the appeal of 800 pumpkins falling off a truck, 10 at a time.
Kyle Boller started and failed, even more spectacularly than anticipated.
Carson Palmer, your next American idol, entered and also failed, slightly less spectacularly but much more predictably.
In between, rookie Terrelle Pryor made a first-quarter cameo appearance that went poorly, bringing no relief to a Raiders team that bore little resemblance to the squad that spent the first six weeks of the season seizing the attention of teams around the NFL.
It was, in short, a talent show in which the talent did not show.
The only welcome news wrapped within this 28-0 gift handed to the Chiefs before a restless crowd of 57,361 came when the clock showed zeros and the Raiders trudged off the field into the sweet and warm embrace of the bye week.
"This bye week couldn't be at a better time," said Palmer, who barring unforeseen catastrophe will start Oakland's next game, Nov. 6 against Denver.
"If you have to have a bye week," defensive tackle Richard Seymour said, "this is as good a time as any."
They're right. And they're perceptive enough to know they never again want to take part in such sheer ineptitude, beginning with Boller and Palmer sharing equally in
It won't necessarily cure the Raiders' many ills, from the quarterback predicament to difficulty covering receivers to the sprained foot suffered by running back Darren McFadden, but it offers timely respite from at least one problem that could not be solved in one week, much less a single day.
Consider, if you will:
Is Daunte Culpepper still seeking employment? Would Donald Hollas come back? How old is Vince Evans?
"I feel bad for my teammates," Boller said. "I let my teammates down."
Palmer completed 8 of 21 passes for 116 yards with three picks, the first of which was returned 58 yards for a touchdown by Brandon Flowers early in the fourth quarter, concluding the scoring.
"I didn't think I was going to play, so I didn't have much expectation," Palmer said. "I expected to get a feel from watching from the sideline and watching coverages unfold, pass protections be picked up and watch the running game -- different play-action things I was expecting to watch from the boundaries."
"First time I get into a game," mumbled the downcast Pryor, "and it's a penalty."
Pryor immediately ran off and was replaced by Boller, who on the next play sailed the interception into the arms of Lewis.
The crowd began turning on Boller, not without cause, and the disgust grew. He was so unwatchable that something had to be done, which is how Palmer ended taking off his baseball cap and grabbing a helmet.
Already identified as the team's savior in the wake of Jason Campbell's potentially season-ending broken collarbone, Palmer showed flashes of a real NFL quarterback. He at times threw with touch, if not precision, with requisite zip if not his best judgment.
That's what the next two weeks are for. Palmer realizes the talent at his disposal, and he realizes McFadden's wounds will force the passing game to have a bigger role.
"I understand that it's bye week for these young receivers, and it's time to get away a little bit, just let your mind go somewhere else, because hopefully there's a long road ahead of us," Palmer said. "But it's also time to get some work done, get that timing and rhythm and get going."
The Raiders have found their quarterback. The journey Sunday, however, was quite the unsightly ordeal and messy, too. They can safely assume it can't get any worse.
Contact Monte Poole at email@example.com.