On the day he broke the Raiders' all-time record for games played, he seriously let the team down. He first stepped on the field for a 38-yard field goal which would have put the Raiders on the board first. But it was a low liner that was easily blocked by the Broncos' nose tackle (not exactly a big leaper). If you were wondering if it was a fluke, he proved it was not when his extra point attempt was also a low line drive - this one luckily was not blocked.
With the Raiders down 9-7 to begin the fourth quarter, Janikowski had a chance to redeem himself by making a 40-yard field goal. He pushed it left. He made a 50-yarder late in the game but it was too late. The damage had been done.
His troubles weren't limited to his field goals either. The big legged kicker, known for sending kickoffs out the back of the end zone, didn't even reach the end zone on any of his three kickoffs. They were all returned past the 20-yard-line. The first one made it to the 5-yard-line and was returned to the 28, the second was fielded at the 2-yard-line and returned to the 33, and the third was a failed onsides kick attempt.
After the game Janikowski admitted to being a little anxious due to the team honoring his record-breaking day. Not a good sign when your kicker can't even handle the ‘pressure' of being honored.
There is a tendency for people to draw a direct connection between quarterbacks and team wins. I'm not a fan of that. Especially in the ultimate team sport. For instance, had Janikowski made his field goals, we would be having a very different conversation. But even with the missed field goals, Carr missed several opportunities and made key mistakes in key moments to contribute to the loss.
As seems to happen just about every week, his first pass was off target and incomplete. And also as often happens, the drive ended with a short pass on third and long.
Carr breathed a sigh of relief on his second drive when he threw a pass to a well-covered Roy Helu up the left sideline and Helu turned defender just to keep the pass from being intercepted. Those efforts gave Carr another shot and he completed a 25-yard pass on the next play to help put the Raiders in field goal range. And we know how that went.
The second quarter featured the Raiders one touchdown drive of the day, highlighted by a 33-yard pass from Carr to a wide open Clive Walford that set them up at the 3-yard line. A well-executed bootleg pass to Reece put the Raiders on the board, up 7-3. That was their last score that really mattered.
Carr's first snap of the third quarter, he was sacked and fumbled the ball to give the Broncos the ball at the 17-yard-line. They added a second field goal to pull within one at 7-6.
Later in the third quarter, Carr had a series that started with a pass that sailed out of bounds intended for Michael Crabtree up the right sideline and ended with him trying to force balls to Crabtree and Reece, both of whom were well-covered.
After another drive ended with a missed Janikowski field goal, and the Raiders down 9-7 in the fourth quarter, Carr needed a big drive. It didn't quite go as planned. After attempting to force a ball to a covered Andre Holmes, he had Crabtree breaking open and threw behind him. Crabtree made a fantastic move to slide down and catch the pass anyway. It was a 21-yard gain, but should have been a lot more.
Three plays later, in third and five, Carr threw over the middle it was picked off and returned 72 yards for a score. On the play, Seth Roberts lined up left and Amari Cooper on the right. They both went on crossing patterns about five yards off the line. When the pass was thrown, Cooper was passing in front of Roberts. The ball should have gone to Cooper, it looked like it was supposed to go to Roberts, but it ended up going to neither of them. As they cleared the way, there was Chris Harris Jr who easily caught it and was gone for six.
The score put the Broncos up 16-7 midway through the fourth quarter. Carr put together a good drive to answer, but ended up in 4th and 19 and turned it over on downs. The play was a screen pass that went to Reece for 4 yards. Afterward, Carr looked to the sideline and put up four fingers as if he thought he had another down to work with. It sure explains the terrible play call that went for four yards when they needed 19. It's also inexcusable to lose track of downs in such a critical situation. That play absolutely HAD to be a shot down field. If it were picked off, it would still have been better than turning it over on downs.
Even still, the Raiders had another shot at the end zone on the next series. Amari Cooper got behind the defense, but Carr threw it too late and it fell well short of his streaking wide receiver. Cooper had to come back for it (an all too common issue with Carr) and try to win the jump ball. Luckily, Bradley Roby was called for pass interference which set the Raiders up for a field goal. But, like I said before; too little, too late.
Austin Howard, J'Marcus Webb, Donald Penn
While the Raiders offensive line has been getting credit for their pass protection this season, that is despite what happened in this game. Derek Carr was under pressure on a third of his dropbacks in this game and was sacked four times.
The Raiders first drive was tainted by the right side of the line. Webb gave up a run stuff, Austin Howard was called for holding, and Webb gave up pressure on the final play. The second drive ended with Howard giving up a sack, leading to a missed field goal. A series in the third quarter ended with Penn giving up a pressure for an incompletion.
The first snap of the third quarter saw Howard whiff to give up a strip sack to give the Broncos the ball at the 17-yard-line. The next series ended with Webb giving up a pressure for an incompletion. The next drive, Howard gave up a run stuff. The next series saw Penn responsible for two blocks. He tried to account for both and blocked neither of them and Carr was sacked.
That 4th and 19 play late in the fourth quarter was because Penn was pushed back into the pocket to and Carr was sacked for a six-yard loss.
He gave up a 7-yard catch that put the Broncos in third at short at the 7-yard-line. A stop forced them to settle for their first field goal early in the second quarter. On their final drive of the first half, he gave up a 41-yard catch and two plays later, on third and 2, gave up a 4-yard catch to put them in first down at the 15-yard-line. The first Woodson interception kept them from scoring a second time.
Early in the fourth quarter, with Broncos up 9-7 looking at third and 7, Thorpe was called for pass interference. In total, Thorpe gave up five catches on six targets in the game for Manning's best success rate against any of the Raiders' defensive backs.