OAKLAND -- They dominated a former rival, snapped a six-game losing streak and earned the bonus points that come with posting a shutout.
Upon close observation of the scoreboard, the Raiders on Sunday looked fabulous.
They don't look nearly as good, though, once you back away from their 15-0 win over Kansas City and see how it puts a pimple on the face of their next draft pick.
That's good reason for Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie to have mixed emotions, even if coach Dennis Allen undoubtedly needed this win to at least temporarily calm his nerves.
As much as the Raiders players wanted a win as a reward for all their months of effort, the future of the franchise was threatened in the process.
And in Oakland, in December, the future counts more than anything else. Hope for the playoffs died weeks ago, and the front office is spending the final month of the season analyzing what it has on this roster and making a list of what it must add for 2013 and beyond.
That explains quarterback Terrelle Pryor's three-play cameo appearance in the second quarter, as well as the game-day deactivation of linebacker Rolando McClain, who is coming off a two-game suspension and will not, and should not, return next season.
"The plan," Allen said of Pryor's actual NFL debut, "was to get him in the first series of the second quarter and then kind of let the game play out from there."
Pryor's future might be one
Therein lies the difference between Allen's primary goal and that of McKenzie. One is paid to win now, the other to win indefinitely. One focuses on the close-up, the other has to back away and take a broader view.
McKenzie and his associates also are focused on the upcoming free agent market and the next draft, and this victory could make it considerably less attractive.
Oakland entered the game with the third-worst record in the NFL, behind only Kansas City and Jacksonville, firmly in possession of the No. 3 overall pick. By walking away in triumph, the Raiders joined a gaggle of teams that will hold the rights to pick as low as 11th in the first round.
For a Raiders team with so many needs, that would represent significant drop.
By lifting its record to 4-10, Oakland moves into a tie with the likes of Detroit and Philadelphia and possibly Tennessee, which plays Monday night.
Moreover, being 4-10 brings the Raiders within one game of five 5-9 teams: Arizona, Buffalo, Cleveland, Carolina and San Diego.
In the short view, Oakland is that much closer to 6-10 -- instead of 3-13.
For Allen, that's the only way to view it. He's coaching as if the actual games have meaning because, for him, they do. Though he is not in danger of losing his job -- assuming criminal behavior is not a factor, Reggie has to give the first coach he hires more than one season -- there are vanity points to be had. Records are still being kept.
Asked if it was time for assessments, Allen said it was not.
"We've got two more games left this year, so we're trying to win football games this year," he said. "Obviously, we've already said we want to try to take a look at some of the younger players, which we were able to do a little bit. We'll continue to do that as we go forward throughout the rest of the season.
"But we're trying to win football games."
The players, well aware they are in the midst of auditions, also realize this.
"Getting that goose egg on the board is the best feeling in the world," defensive end Lamarr Houston said.
If you're trying to build a team, however, the shutout is history. McKenzie watched his Raiders, who will go home in two weeks, silence a Chiefs team that also will go home Dec. 31 -- but likely will own the rights to the first overall pick in the 2013 draft.
McKenzie, who leaves the postgame locker room to the coaches and players, was not available late Sunday afternoon. He knows what lies ahead.
Next up are the Panthers, one of the competitors for the third overall pick, followed by the Chargers, who also have their eyes on the 2013 draft.
And to think, it was all so simple for the Raiders on Sunday morning. Lose out and draft no lower than third. The process has been ... um ... complicated.
The result is mixed emotions in the front office, and among a portion of the wounded fan base. For even when these Raiders win, they also lose.