Carr’s throwaway symbolizes Raiders’ 5th straight loss
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Derek Carr rolled to his right, felt pressure from Melvin Ingram and threw the ball at the feet of Jalen Richard when no one was open.
The problem for the Oakland Raiders was that play came on fourth down.
Far more went into the fifth straight loss for the Raiders than that one botched play in the fourth quarter of a 20-6 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, but it was symbolic of how frustrating things have become for the Raiders.
“We had a play designed for Jalen versus their coverage and they just covered it well,” Carr said. “I wish I had a better answer but they did. Stuff happens.”
Plenty of bad has happened to the Raiders this season in the first year of Jon Gruden’s second stint as coach of the franchise. Star pass rusher Khalil Mack was traded a week before the start of the season, No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper was dealt away last month and the losses keep mounting.
The Raiders (1-8) are off to the third-worst start in franchise history, trailing only the 0-10 mark in Carr’s rookie season of 2014 and an 0-13 mark in 1962 — one year before Al Davis joined the franchise as coach and then owner.
“This will be a year that a lot of us will never forget,” Gruden said. “It’s painful. It’s really hard. It’s painful. It’s going to be hard to sleep again, hard to get up in the morning.”
The stretch the Raiders are currently on is as bad as any they’ve had in 59 seasons as a professional team. They have lost five straight by at least 14 points for the first time ever and are one 14-point loss shy of tying the single-season record for the most by any team since the merger.
Oakland has been outscored 75-9 in the past nine quarters and was held without a TD in consecutive games for the first time since 2012.
About the only thing left this season is determining whether the Raiders will have the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.
“Every day we go out there we give it our all,” rookie defensive tackle Maurice Hurst said. “We don’t prepare the way we do to tank. That’s annoying to hear from fans. It’s disrespectful.”
This game didn’t start off as poorly as the last few for the Raiders. They drove down to the 1 on the opening drive, thanks in part to a 42-yard run by punter Johnny Townsend on a fake.
Gruden went for it on fourth down and called for a shovel pass to receiver Dwayne Harris who was going in motion across the formation. But Derwin James read the play and stopped it for no gain.
“That play should be second-guessed because it didn’t work,” Gruden said. “But that wasn’t the plan. That wasn’t the plan.”
The Raiders were outgaining the Chargers 165-6 early in the second quarter when they faced a third down at the 21, leading 3-0. Melvin Ingram then beat Kelechi Osemele off the line and came in unblocked for a strip sack that set up the Chargers’ first score and turned the tide of the game.
That was one of four sacks taken by Carr, whose 28 sacks are the fourth most by a Raiders QB through nine games and three shy of his career worst.
Los Angeles then scored TDs on the final possession of the first half and the first of the second half, and the Raiders were forced to play catch-up to no avail.
They settled for another field goal on a red-zone trip before Carr’s throwaway in the fourth quarter ended their third red-zone possession without a touchdown.
“When we are down there, we just got to get in and score touchdowns,” Richard said. “That’s the only way you can win this game. There is only so many teams that you are going to be able to beat by just kicking field goals.”