OAKLAND – The Raiders beat the Indianapolis Colts 33-25 on Saturday afternoon.
That result matters far less than what happened early in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Derek Carr got hurt.
Carr was sacked by Indianapolis linebacker Trent Cole and was hit low and whipped to the ground. After the game, head coach Jack Del Rio announced Carr broke his right fibula. He will have surgery tomorrow and is out indefinitely.
Several teammates kneeled around him while he was attended to on the ground.
He couldn’t put weight on his right leg while being helped off the field, and was carted off the field. It took the life out of a raucous home crowd and the Raiders sideline.
The Colts capitalized on that lull, and surged with a scoring run that made it a one-score game late in the fourth quarter.
Matt McGloin took over for Carr, but couldn’t get much done as the Raiders struggled after their leader went down.
McGloin made a big throw to Amari Cooper on third down that iced victory.
The Raiders clinched a playoff spot last week, and would like to win the AFC West. They’d like home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
A victory helped achieve those goals.
They dominated Indianapolis in a victory on Saturday afternoon, made closer after Carr went down.
The victory puts pressure on Kansas City. If the Chiefs lose at Denver on Sunday night, the Raiders will win their first AFC West title since 2002.
Without knowing the severity of the injury, a first-round bye would be beneficial to getting Carr back or, if that isn’t possible, to get McGloin as ready as possible for a big game.
Mighty mites: The Raiders have a pair of diminutive running backs in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, who ate the Colts for lunch. They took turns churning out chunk yards, with big-time runs during a mid-game stretch where the Raiders established a huge lead.
Washington had 12 carries for 99 yards and his first two professional touchdowns. Richard was active as well, with six carries for 66 yards. He also had three catches for 13 yards and a touchdown
Edwards Jr. returns: Defensive lineman Mario Edwards made his season debut on Saturday afternoon, activated Friday off of injured reserve. He was primarily used on passing downs as an interior rusher, operating on a rotational basis in his first game back. The Raiders will ramp up activity in hopes of him making a significant impact in the playoffs.
Sitting it out: Right tackle Austin Howard was inactive after starting the previous nine games. He had been battling ankle issues, though he wasn’t on the injury report. Menelik Watson earned a starting spot, and rookie Vadal Alexander was his backup. He offers versatility in reserve, able to play guard and tackle.
Karl Joseph was ruled out earlier in the week with a toe injury. He has missed three straight games, though he’s getting closer to a return.
What’s next: The Raiders finish their regular season with a game at the Denver Broncos. That game will be important whether they clinch the AFC West this weekend or not. They’re still after the AFC’s No. 1 seed, armed with a tiebreaker over front-running New England.