The Las Vegas Raiders are no longer in a slump. They are a bad team that is playing badly. It’s hard to imagine that this team once sat atop the AFC West with a 5-2 record. On Sunday, the team was dealt their second straight blowout at home in a 32-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
While the Bengals did score a lot of points, in the end, this loss is entirely on the offense. Cincinnati had the ball for 37 minutes while the Raiders only had it for 23. It was an uninspired and disastrous performance by a team that is in free fall. The AFC is still wide open for the taking but it looks like Las Vegas is already starting to set its sights on 2022.
At the center of the Raiders’ struggles is quarterback Derek Carr. Through seven games, he looked like an MVP candidate and was playing as well as any quarterback in the NFL. Unfortunately, he’s crashed back to earth over the last three games and thrown an interception in four straight games.
He finished Sunday’s game against the Bengals with 215 passing yards, a touchdown and two turnovers. Carr has been the subject of controversy for Raiders for years. After another season that looks like it’s going to end without a playoff berth, the noise is only getting louder. Many fans are ready for the team to make a change.
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Have Things Grown Stale?
Carr is a talented quarterback and has shown brilliant flashes this season. Even against the Bengals, he put together a very impressive drive in the fourth quarter where the team scored a touchdown in just three plays. However, things could just be growing stale for the Raiders.
He’s been the starting quarterback for eight years now and has only been to the playoffs once. It would be misguided to blame him for every losing season but he does deserve some blame for the team’s current three-game losing streak. Finding a good quarterback isn’t easy and Carr is a good quarterback. That said, what the Raiders are doing isn’t working and the franchise could be in for a major shakeup this offseason.
In Defense of Carr
Carr is playing poorly right now and there’s no way to argue otherwise. He has a ton of control over how the offense operates and calls a lot of the plays. He isn’t doing a good enough job right now. Though his play is disappointing, he can’t be blamed for everything.
It was shortsighted to believe that the Raiders could keep up the strong play after losing their head coach Jon Gruden and their leading receiver in Henry Ruggs. It appears that all the turmoil surrounding the franchise has caught up to the team on the field. Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota certainly isn’t the answer for the team. Carr is playing with a bad wide receiver corps and a bad offensive line so he does deserve some slack, but he has to show something over the next seven games, or it could be time for the Raiders to finally make a change.