Quarterback Derek Carr had finally started to regain the favor of the majority of the Las Vegas Raiders fan base after two wins to start the season. However, it hasn’t taken long for many to sour on him as the team has lost back-to-back games. Despite having a 113.6 quarterback rating, which is fifth-best in the NFL, Carr has lost three fumbles in two games, including a costly one in the second half of the game versus the Buffalo Bills.
Those turnovers led to a local Las Vegas newspaper taking a shot at the quarterback by calling him “butterfingers.”
While that might be unfair to Carr, whose offensive line is beaten up right now, the Raiders need to get the fumble issue under control. Through four games, the team is tied with the Dallas Cowboys for most fumbles lost in the NFL with six. Las Vegas has only forced two turnovers on defense this year, which means they’ve got a -4 turnover differential. That’s not a recipe for success.
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It’s Not Fair to Put All the Blame on Carr
Carr deserves to take some heat for losing as many fumbles as he has the last two games but that doesn’t mean he’s not playing well. The Raiders offense is going to make mistakes. At least four expected Week 1 offensive starters for the team have missed multiple games already. It’s not fair to expect Carr to be perfect every week. He was almost perfect through the first two games of the season but as the injuries pile up, it makes his job harder.
Yes, Carr needs to hold onto the ball but it’s patently absurd to suggest that the Raiders lost to the Bills because of him. The defense is one of the worst in the NFL and might be even worse than last year, which seemed impossible heading into this season. The defense is allowing 30 points per game, which is good for 24th in the NFL. Right now, the Raider offense has to play perfect for the team to win because the defense seems to only be good for one or two stops a game. Las Vegas has much bigger problems than Carr.
Are the Raiders’ Issues Fixable?
After two straight ugly losses, it’s easy to start getting concerned about the Raiders. However, there is reason to be optimistic. The Bill and Patriots are among the AFC’s better teams and the Raiders had chances to win both games in the second half. Last year, the Raiders were getting blown out by good teams. That hasn’t been the case for them yet in 2020.
Plus, the Raiders are a young team with a lot of new faces, especially on defense. With a truncated offseason, it was always going to be asking a lot to expect the defense to be stout early on. Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski, Maliek Collins and Carl Nassib are solid players. They’ve proven that in the past. They will get better as they get more experience in the system. The season is still early and the Raiders have a much easier schedule towards the end. This is a team that could make the playoffs despite recent struggles.