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The Morning After: Raiders flop without Derek Carr in regular season finale

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Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos obliterated the Oakland Raiders without Derek Carr to spectacularly lead the way for the Silver and Black. There is no other way to view this game, it was an obliteration. From start to finish it was obvious that the Broncos were going to trounce the Raiders, and it was as awful as that sounds.

It is so disappointing to know how good the Raiders are with Derek Carr and watch them come out and play so flatly and uninspired. This game was to win the division, to get a first round bye and to show the world they are still a threat in the playoffs without Carr. Not one person outside of Marquette King (who was awesome yet again) played like they knew how big of a game it really was though.

What they did instead was fall apart and show there is every reason for the doom and gloom that came with the sound of Carr screaming “It's broken!”. We all thought he was talking about his leg, but maybe Carr was actually talking about the dreams of a deep playoff run for the Raiders. It's hard not to feel anything but down about the Oakland Raiders right now, this game against the Broncos really was that bad.

Then something happens, then we get to remember 14 years of what actually terrible football looked like. As rough as this game against the Broncos was, it was still just the last regular season game for a 12-4 team. It's hard to be happy if this is the product the Raiders will be showing in the playoffs, but at least they are actually in the playoffs finally.

It's been a long, hard wait for them to return to the big tournament and I refuse to let one terrible game sap my excitement for that. The Raiders are stronger than what they looked like yesterday, and they are going to play better next week in round 1 of the playoffs than they did yesterday. The season is not over for the Raiders like it is for the Denver Broncos. Oakland still gets their shot at the ultimate prize while the Broncos got to clear out their lockers after they won yesterday.

For them to play better next week they obviously are going to need better play from everyone on the team, especially the quarterback. Matt McGloin was absolutely awful yesterday, there is no way to defend his performance other than to say he got hurt too early to be able to turn it around. Connor Cook was better, but while the game wasn't too big for him he did show his inexperience with key turnovers that just can't happen.

The worst moment of this game was when McGloin missed Amari Cooper just a couple of plays before he got injured. Cooper was running totally free and all McGloin had to do was put the ball close enough for Coop to make a play and instead he badly over threw him. If they connect on that throw Cooper is probably untouched to the end zone and the score is 10-7, it would have become a whole new game.

That was the play that could have changed the entire course of the game but instead it just reinforced that Derek Carr wasn't the quarterback. After that drive Matt McGloin wasn't the QB anymore either because he got smashed to the ground and injured his shoulder. After all the hope that McGloin would show his McMoxie going into this game, there he was shaking his head and his shoulder like he knew his day was over afterwards.

One has to wonder where the hell the medical spotters were whose job it is to remove injured players from the game. Matt McGloin needed them to remove him from the game after the crushing blow that injured him. It was clear that he was injured and needed to be looked at, he took a truly devastating hit on the play.

Luckily he wasn't concussed, but he easily could have been with the way he was hit and yet all of the medical spotters the NFL has in place failed anyway when they allowed him to take the next snap. That was the drive the Raiders needed to score on to make the game competitive too, that makes it all that much worse that nobody took McGloin out when he obviously should've been removed from the game.

Connor Cook entering the game on that drive after McGloin was injured could have jump started the team when they still had a chance. Instead it was 3 plays with an injured QB and a punt, followed by another Broncos score to make it 17-0.

That Broncos touchdown really was the nail in the coffin to end any chance of the game being turned around. Yes, it was still just the first half but the Broncos scoring there to take a 3 score lead was devastating. It wasn't all on the coaching staff or the offense though, the defense needed to come up with a big stop there and they failed too.

The defense doesn’t deserve to be let off the hook, they are the ones that allowed a 43 yard screen for a touchdown on a 3rd and 18 play when they were already down 10-0 in a must win game. That play will be the one I remember most of defensive failures from this season because it was just so damn unacceptable to give up a screen play in that situation.

What is the biggest complaint about Bill Musgrave's system? It's that every single time they are in 3rd and long they do a super conservative play like that Broncos' screen play. Denver used what the Raiders do almost every time in 3rd and long and the defense was completely shredded by it, that is unforgivable.

With how often the Raiders use that same strategy on 3rd and long the defense must practice against it regularly, yet nobody recognized it at the most crucial moment of the season. A stop there forces a punt and keeps Oakland in the game, instead it was a soul crushing blow and it came on a play straight out of the Raiders own playbook.

If the Raiders are going to do better against the Houston Texans next week in the playoffs they need better play from their QB. However, what they need even more is for their defense to actually stop someone once in awhile when the game is within reach.

We all knew there would be a drop off from the offense, they lost an MVP candidate QB so of course there was going to be a hangover from that. What they needed most of all was for the defense to show up and play great to cover up the offensive deficiencies, but they didn't do that. Here's the crazy thing though, I still think the defense will play well against the Texans.

Despite this monstrosity of a game, I fully expect a much better effort in round 1 of the playoffs. This was a wake up call, tune up game that showcased just how much intensity will be needed to win without Derek Carr. The team will be looking at this Broncos game and realize how awful they played. Hopefully, it will reinvigorate them into playing much better next week against Houston.

The Raiders are stronger than what they showed yesterday, and the Houston Texans are beatable with QB questions of their own. If the Raiders flop again then maybe it's time to question just how talented this Raiders team really is outside of Derek Carr but they can stop those questions cold with a big win without Carr in Houston.

It won't be a long wait before we find out for sure what happens, they play on Saturday as the first game of the 2016 NFL playoffs. Hopefully it won't be their last game of the season as well, because this season was too good to see them go out with a huge flop in the season finale and then be 1 and done in their long awaited playoff appearance.