On Wednesday, we took a look at the best memories of the Derek Carr era with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders. So, it’s only fair that today we keep the balance and recap some of the worst ones.
Carr and the Raiders saw their fair share of losses over the last nine years but some hurt more than others. Hell, there even was a win that hurt more than the losses, however, that pain was more literal...
5) Cold Weather Games
One of the biggest criticisms of Carr throughout his tenure with the Raiders was that late in the season when the weather started to turn, his play steadily declined as the temperature dropped. Before this year’s Christmas Eve bout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed reminded us that Carr was 0-6 and had never scored more than 19 points in games that were 37 degrees or lower at kickoff.
One could argue that the Steelers matchup was the quarterback’s worst performance in the cold. He tossed for a meager 174 passing yards and one touchdown to three interceptions, including the one to end the game and slam the door on Las Vegas’ playoff hopes. Also, that would end up being his last pass as a Raider as head coach Josh McDaniels announced Carr’s benching shortly thereafter.
4) 2018 Season Opener vs Rams
After a disappointing 2017 campaign, the hopes were that Jon Gruden would come in and bring the Raiders back to the playoffs and help Carr regain his 2016 form. However, 2018 ended up being the start of a rebuild as the team went 4-12 and the season got off to a disastrous start on national television.
The Silver and Black played in the second game of ESPN’s Monday Night Football Week 1 doubleheader and lost 33-13 to the Los Angeles Rams. Carr failed to throw a touchdown which ended his 17-game streak of tossing at least one. On top of that, he threw three interceptions for the second time in his career, including a 50-yard pick-six to Marcus Peters that put an end to any comeback hopes.
In a sense, the season opener foreshadowed how the rest of that year played out.
3) The 2017 Season
A year after ending a 16-year playoff drought, expectations were high for the Silver and Black. For the first time in a long time, they were widely considered Super Bowl contenders heading into the campaign and brought in more bets to win the championship than any other team by mid-August. However, to say the season was a disappointment would be an understatement.
The Raiders started hot during the 2017 campaign, winning their first two games by double-digits while Carr threw for 492 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. However, they quickly flamed out as the wheels fell off the wagon in what’s become an infamous Sunday Night Football matchup against the then-Washington Redskins.
That still stands as one of Carr’s least-productive seasons with his second-fewest passing yards (3,496) while only throwing three more touchdown passes (22) than his rookie year and one less interception (13) than his career high.
2) Broken Leg
In fairness to Carr, this low light was out of his control.
Week 16, Raiders up big in the fourth quarter, feeling like they were going to run away with the win for the first time all season, Carr drops back and Donald Penn gets beat on the quarterback’s blind side for the first time of the season and Christmas is ruined in Raider Nation...
While there can be various elements at play, the Raiders and their starting quarterback never could regain that 2016 form which saw the team finish 12-4 behind a signal-caller who finished in third place for MVP voting.
Unfortunately, Derek Carr’s last memory as a Raider is also probably his worst one. The organization made a decision that was in its best interest — and Carr returned the favor on the way out — and the franchise leader in passing yards and touchdowns didn’t walk out on his own terms.
Feel how you may about the split, but like a married couple who just couldn’t find a way to make it work together, it seems as if all parties agree a divorce is necessary and it’s best for both sides to move on.