Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr opened the third quarter of Sunday night’s divisional battle against the Kansas City Chiefs with one of the prettiest touchdown passes you’ll see. He closed it with an interception that was about as ugly as you can imagine.
Patrick Mahomes outduels Derek Carr
Carr’s highs and lows are part of the package. Buy the ticket, and take the ride. But on a night in which Patrick Mahomes finally looked like the Mahomes of old, the Raiders simply needed more out of their franchise quarterback.
Statistically, Carr was pretty good in the Raiders’ 41-14 loss. He completed 25 of 35 passes for 261 yards and 2 scores. And his frozen rope to Bryan Edwards that went for 37 yards and a touchdown might have been the best pure pass of the night by either quarterback.
But Carr and the Raiders couldn’t make the drive-extending plays that Mahomes and the Chiefs repeatedly did. Las Vegas failed on 8 of 9 third-down attempts, a big reason why the Chiefs ran 25 more plays and gained 217 more yards than the Raiders Sunday night.
Plus, Kansas City did a good job getting pressure on Carr. And when they did, he made some truly disastrous decisions. On third-and-7 from the Raiders’ 28-yard line late in the third quarter, Carr threw a pass to Zay Jones up for grabs in double coverage. Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen came down with it.
Carr’s response to his costly interception
“They did a good job on a few plays of getting me off my spot,” Carr explained. “There was one there I was trying to throw a bomb to Zay, and my arm gets hit, and it gets picked. There’s another one later in the game, we didn’t get one of their blitzers. And Zay again. Zay should have had a huge day, if I’m honest. We’d feel a little bit different about the whole scenario if those two things didn’t happen. There’s another one I could think of too. As I sit here right now, none of that matters.”
“It sucks,” Carr added. “I didn’t feel like I was dropping back and throwing straight to somebody. It’s not like I missed accurate-wise. My arm, it gets up in the air, it happens. Now, I go watch it. How do I correct it? In the pocket, how do I get the ball out of my hand faster? It’s a situation too, we’re down two scores. I’m trying my best the whole fourth quarter to take shots, forcing the ball.”
We’d accept that explanation had Carr learned from that mistake. Instead, he did essentially the same thing a couple of possessions later. The only difference is that the second pop-fly pass somehow landed in an area not occupied by Chiefs defenders.
After a 3-0 start, the Raiders have now lost four of their last six games. Furthermore, they have contests with the Bengals, Cowboys, and a rematch with the Chiefs in the next month. A once promising season is in real danger of unraveling.
DeSean Jackson’s untimely fumble
A player the Raiders thought might be part of the solution — speedy receiver DeSean Jackson — was part of the problem. The new Las Vegas wideout fumbled his only catch of the night in a truly bizarre sequence. Tyrann Mathieu had inside position on Jackson and should have had the pick.
Instead, the pass was completed for a 38-yard gain, but Rashad Fenton spoiled the play by punching the ball out. Mathieu, who didn’t give up on the play, recovered the fumble.
“I think the football gods were on my side,” Mathieu said. “I think I was supposed to have that interception … he [Fenton] was just looking out for me. That’s another thing when you’ve got guys playing fast, we can make up for each others’ mistakes. I think we’re trending toward that. Even when you mess up, there’s someone back there that can make it right or somebody up front that can disrupt it. But yeah, football gods.”