Another game, another disappointing result for the Las Vegas Raiders. It’s hard to believe the only team to beat the Kansas City Chiefs this year is playing so poorly as of late. For the third time in six games, the Raiders’ offense put the team in a position to win but the defense blew the game.
Quarterback Derek Carr was forced to leave last week’s game with a groin injury but pushed through this week to play the Miami Dolphins. He played well and helped the Raiders take the lead with less than 30 seconds left in the game. However, the 30 seconds was still too much time and the Dolphins pulled off the win. Regardless, Darren Waller was impressed with his quarterback.
“I am very proud of how Derek played,” Waller said Saturday. “It’s incredible how tough he is and all the positive energy he brought tonight.”
Carr threw for 336 and a touchdown while also running for a touchdown. He didn’t turn the ball over and put together a strong game against a really good defense.
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Gruden Doesn’t Blame Carr for Loss
Whenever a team losses, it’s easy to blame the quarterback. Carr has already been taking a lot of heat for the Raiders’ loss and there are those who would’ve liked to see Marcus Mariota play. Jon Gruden isn’t ready to blame the loss on Carr.
“I thought Derek did enough to win tonight,” Gruden said. “We missed a couple tackles and we missed the extra point … once again, we didn’t register a turnover on defense and the pass rush wasn’t good enough and [Ryan Fitzpatrick] got us, he got us.”
The offense wasn’t perfect and failed to score touchdowns in the red zone so they do deserve some blame. The defense actually played well for most of the game. While it’s easy to blame the defensive group, Gruden has been calling really bad plays in the red zone. A big focus this offseason should be to figure out how to maximize red zone efficiency.
Carr Laments ‘Hardest’ Loss
In his seven years as a pro, Carr has never played in a playoff game. With Saturday’s loss to the Dolphins, the Raiders were officially eliminated from playoff contention. The fact that the game was so close hurt even more for Carr.
“This one might be the hardest,” Carr said. “That’s tough, that’s a tough way to go out. Especially with all of the emotion from the week for me. Just being able to play this game, I am just so thankful. And to watch it go like that … I’m sick for the organization, I’m sick for our defense, I’m sick for our team … my heart feels for our fans.
“To be so excited and then it’s gone.”
The Raiders have put together another disappointing season. They are easily the NFL’s most confusing team. At times, they look elite. They have marquee wins over the Chiefs, Saints and Browns. A win over the Dolphins would’ve been another big win. Even though they probably still wouldn’t have made the playoffs, it would’ve been a big win to end the year.