There's nothing as rewarding for a coach as when his team comes out ready to play and executes the game plan to take an early lead. And there's nothing quite as deflating as his team coughing up the lead and losing the game late. Again and again.

Is the coaching staff not making the right adjustments? Are players not executing, or simply not as good as their opponents? Or are losing habits that hard to break?

What exactly happens after the Raiders outscore teams 86-41 in the first quarter?

Only the Broncos are better in the first quarter (plus-49).

Oakland (4-8) has lost six games that it led or that were tied in the second half. And it's clear talking to head coach Dennis Allen, offensive coordinator Greg Olson and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver ahead of Sunday's road game against the Jets that they think the coaching and the adjustments are not the problems.

"You script a certain amount of plays coming out to start the game and then you go into halftime and you kind of do the same thing," Allen said. "Our issue really, from a team standpoint, is we haven't done as good a job on third down, getting off the field defensively, so therefore we haven't had as many opportunities on offense."

And then the offense doesn't do anything with those. The Raiders were 7-for-9 on third down in the first half of their loss to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, then 0-for-4 in the second half.

"That's really an area of emphasis that we have to do better," Allen said.

Oakland is 27th in the NFL on third-down offense (converting 34 percent) and 22nd on third-down defense.

The Raiders have been outscored 95-40 in the fourth quarter, by far the biggest disparity in the NFL. And the coaches insist they have not gotten conservative late or failed to adjust to what opponents are doing.