The Oakland Raiders looked more like a high school football team than an NFL team competing for the AFC West crown and the number two seed in the playoffs in Denver on Sunday. Without quarterback Derek Carr at the helm, Oakland looked helpless against a Broncos team that had already been eliminated from the playoffs.
The game started off ugly as the Raiders defense allowed a bad Denver offense to march down the field for a touchdown on the first drive of the game, and it didn’t get much better when the offense took the field.
Matt McGloin’s big shot didn’t last too long as a shoulder injury sidelined him before the end of the first half allowing rookie Connor Cook to get a shot at some playing time.
And while Cook did look better than McGloin in limited time, it wasn’t good enough to help Oakland come back from what eventually became a 24-0 deficit.
Carr, who broke his fibula in the win over the Indianapolis Colts, had the Raiders offense looking like one of the elite units in the NFL. Without Carr at the helm, the offense wasn’t able to eclipse the 100 yard mark until the second half and didn’t find their way onto the scoreboard until late in the third quarter.
Obviously this was a very good Denver defense that Oakland went up against and backup quarterback is always going to represent a decline in quality but this wasn’t just a small step back for the Raiders offense. This is an offense that was the number three scoring offense in the entire NFL and number six in total yards.
And without Derek Carr, it’s an offense that couldn’t get anything done for most of the day on Sunday.
Even with missing the final game of the year, Carr has 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns and only six interceptions to go along with a record for come from behind wins in the 4th quarter or overtime. It was a magical season for an Oakland Raiders team that has been one of the worst franchises in the entire league for over a decade and after the loss on Sunday, it’s clear that Derek Carr was responsible for much of that magic.