No one recognized this team Sunday night. It was a night and day difference both literally and figuratively. In losing to Washington 27-10, the Raiders were completely inept on offense and couldn’t make stops when it counted on defense.
So, this week, I’m doing things a little differently. This week it’s Busters & Ballers. Let’s get to it.
This is the worst performance in Derek Carr’s career. Even worse than last season’s loss in Kansas City. Carr made ONE good play the entire game. ONE. And 33 of his 118 passing yards were garbage time dink and dunk yards on his final drive.
Carr threw an interception on his first pass of the day. He threw long for Amari Cooper with the safety already shading that way. It was Carr’s first interception of the season. And not his last in this game. The second play of the next series, he held the ball too long and was sacked. And after two possessions, the Raiders had 6 yards on two Marshawn Lynch runs.
The Raiders had four possessions in the first quarter and Carr hadn’t completed a single pass to anyone other than Montae Nicholson – he plays for the other team. And the Raiders didn’t convert a single first down.
After a throw behind Michael Crabtree on a shallow cross, Carr’s first completion went for 6 yards and was called back due to a holding on Seth Roberts. A drop by Amari Cooper would end that series.
The Raiders would get their first first down early in the second quarter. It came on an offsides penalty after Carr’s first completion for 9 yards to Jared Cook. That series ended with Carr throwing to a well covered Seth Roberts for his second interception.
Both of Carr’s interceptions were followed up by Washington touchdown drives. Down 14-0, the Raiders were in 3rd and 13 and Carr didn’t even bother to try to pick it up, throwing short for 5 yards to Roberts. Carr finished with 5 completions for 32 yards with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions in the first half with a passer rating of 17.5.
Washington would open the second half with a touchdown drive. Now down 21-0, Carr stepped into a closed pocket to be sacked and then had a miscommunication with center Rodney Hudson who snapped it unexpectedly and Carr was sacked for the fourth time in the game.
Another three-and-out and a punt would give the Raiders a glimmer of hope. The punt was muffed, giving the Raiders the ball back at the Washington 18-yard line. That’s when Carr had his ONE play. He threw a perfect pass to Jared Cook who took it for a 21-yard touchdown, diving around the left pylon. It made it a two-score game at the end of the third quarter.
A field goal to begin the 4th brought it back to a three-score game. And yet another three-and-out. On third and 11, Carr threw for Michael Crabtree deep, but the pass sailed, causing Crabtree to leap in the air for it with a defender able to nail him in the chest and knock him out of the game. Carr just got his best receiver blown up and injured.
A defensive turnover would give the Raiders the ball again at the Washington 12. A pass interference would put the ball at the 4-yard-line. Carr put the ball in the air three straight times, all falling incomplete. The final play, Carr saw pressure from the outside and panicked, throwing the ball into the turf. That close to the end zone, he needed to risk a sack by trying to evade the rusher. It was a chip shot field goal. He MUST try to make a play, whether with his legs or his arm. If he got sacked, it would still be a short field goal. What he can’t do is panic and throw the ball into the turf. That was the Raiders’ last chance.
Carr finished with a passer rating of 52.9, but it was actually worse than that. His 49.1 passer rating in that game in Kansas City last season is still his worst, though I don’t see how considering he didn’t even throw a pick in that game. With 85 passing yards when it mattered, two interceptions, and his only TD off of a turnover that gave him the ball in the red zone that looks much, much worse.
Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, Marshall Newhouse.
That’s the entire starting offensive line. All of them. On the second series, Osemele and Nehouse gave up a shared sack. The next play Donald Penn gave up the sack on third down. Early in the second quarter, Osemele gave up a run stuff. Early in the third quarter, Newhouse gave up a sack. Two plays later, Rodney Hudson snapped the ball to Carr unexpectedly and Osemele gave up his second sack of the game. The next series, Newhouse gave up a run stuff.
Early in the fourth, Osemele was called for holding. Next series, off a turnover, with the Raiders in first and goal from the 4-yard-line and the quick pass was knocked down. Two plays later, on third and goal, Donald Penn missed his block to allow pressure on Carr who threw the ball away.
A third unexpected snap by Hudson, then a Newhouse holding, and a Penn false start would officially end the Raiders hopes. If you’re wondering where Gabe Jackson is in all this, consider he didn’t have a single run block in the game. That’s kind of his primary job.
This is an entire season worth of mistakes by this usually dominant line. Whatever Washington was doing to them, expect other teams to try to copy it.
Jack Del Rio, Todd Downing, Ken Norton Jr
Before the game even began, the Raiders were a wreck. Not because they protested. Every team did that in their own way, including Washington, and it had no effect on them. Del Rio’s and Mark Davis’s previous stance that this team not protest in uniform led to his decision to keep them in the locker room and remain ‘unified’. Not a bad plan, honestly. Some other teams did it as well. That’s how it went down when Del Rio was playing.
But that wasn’t possible on Sunday night football because the coin toss happens before the anthem. So, pregame, instead of having their plan set so they could focus on the game and getting their minds right, they were scrambling to figure out what to do. Most of the team sat with arms locked, while Carr and a few other players stood. And as the players all took the field, Del Rio looked pissed and Derek Carr looked defeated.
As a team, they have got to be able to rise above any such distractions. And if you want to say the distraction had nothing to do with it, then this team was simply not prepared for what they were about to face in Washington – a team by most accounts they should dominate.
Washington was playing on defense like they had been sent an advanced copy of Todd Downing’s playbook. While on offense you would have thought they had stumbled upon an invisibility cloak – and they gave it to running back Chris Thompson.
Thompson was left wide open for a 22-yard touchdown on Washington’s opening drive. And that would happen several times during the game with the Raiders routinely forgetting he existed. He would make them pay dearly every time. He would have a 23-yard catch, an 11-yard catch, a 16-yard catch, and then a 74-yard catch for five of Washington’s top ten longest plays of the game. He finished with 188 yards of offense and a touchdown. That’s 60 more net yards by himself than the entire Raiders offense (128).
Down 14-0 late in the first half, for no logical reason I can possibly fathom, Seth Roberts was tasked with blocking defensive end Ryan Kerrigan. The result was expected, he flicked him away like a gnat and smothered Jalen Richard for a 7-yard loss. Later, Kerrigan was simply left unblocked to tackle Cordarrelle Patterson on a run from left to right. It’s like Downing didn’t realize Kerrigan is a Pro Bowl pass rusher.
The final straw dropped when the Raiders were in first and goal at the four-yard line and passed three straight times. Even after that very plan from that very spot on the field failed to work in the opener and the plan to hand it to Marshawn instead succeeded. Maybe mix it up a bit instead of just one or the other? Or maybe just hand it to Marshawn or Olawale? Call me crazy.
Full disclosure, this is as much about his season to this point as it is his performance in this game. Carr went to Cooper with his first pass of the day, but Washington was expecting that and picked it off.
Coop saw five passes and caught one for six yards. Even that catch was brought back due to a holding on Seth Roberts. Carr went back to him on the next play on third and nine, with the Raiders still looking for their first first down of the day. The pass was right on Coop’s hands and he dropped it.
That was Coop’s sixth drop of the season, including at least one previous drop that also came on a third down. Six drops not only leads the league, it’s TWICE that of the next most which is a four-way tie.
Sean Smith, TJ Carrie, Gareon Conley, Reggie Nelson
That’s most of the secondary. Karl Joseph gets a pass (so to speak) and David Amerson made up for the 52-yard touchdown he gave up with a touchdown saving tackle and a few key pass breakups. Can’t say the same for the others.
Smith saw three plays and gave up a big catches to Vernon Davis on two of them. The first catch came on Washington’s first third down of the day and it went for 26 yards. The other was Davis beating him for an 18-yard touchdown to go up 14-0. Reggie Nelson deserves some blame for not coming over to help out, but how a supposed number one corner can’t stay with a 33-year-old backup tight end is beyond me.
Conley gave up catches of 14, 7, and 6 yards on third and 6 on Washington’s second scoring drive. He was blocked on consecutive big plays at the end of the first half on a 13-yard run and a 26-yard screen. He was later blocked on the big 74-yard screen by Thompson that would’ve been a touchdown had Amerson not come all the way over from the opposite side of the field to stop it at the 10-yard line.
Carrie gave up catches of 11 and 4 yards on third and 4 with Washington scoring their third touchdown on the next play. He and Nelson both gave up a 30-yard catch and on the next play Carrie was blocked on an 8-yard run which led to final score of the day on a field goal.
Kirk Cousins put up 365 yards in the air, most of which courtesy of these four.