Raiders

Talib faults Crabtree for starting fight; 'That's what he wanted'

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USATSI

Talib faults Crabtree for starting fight; 'That's what he wanted'

ALAMEDA –A brawl broke out early in Sunday’s game with the Raiders at Oakland Coliseum, and the Denver Broncos say Michael Crabtree started it.

They point to a punch to Chris Harris Jr.’s gut on the first play of Oakland’s second series. Things escalated on the next play, with Crabtree and nemesis Aqib Talib took things too far.

Talib can be shown ripping Crabtree’s chain for the second time in as many seasons. Crabtree piledrives Denver’s top cornerback to the ground on the Broncos sideline, and then got his helmet ripped off in a full-on melee. The pair threw punches, and others got caught in the wash of something everyone seemed to see coming.

Talib says he wasn’t planning on it, that Crabtree prompted the dustup.

“I came out there to play football on Sunday and I don’t really know what he came out there to do,” Talib told reporters in Denver. “I came out there to play football and he came out here on this extra stuff, so one thing lead to another. It’s unfortunate and I wish it didn’t happen, but it happened. Just have to move on.”

Talib said Crabtree’s shot to Harris Jr. didn’t prompt the second chain grab. Talib said Crabtree struck again.

“I didn’t even defend Chris,” Talib said. If you see the play, I didn’t defend Chris. He punched Chris and the next play he came and punched me. He was on his—whatever he was on. I wasn’t even defending Chris this time. That wasn’t even a problem.”

The Broncos call Crabtree the instigator. We haven’t heard Crabtree’s take. The Raiders receiver has talked once since the start of the offseason program, following a victory over Kansas City. He was not in the locker room after Sunday’s win. Those who spoke said the same thing, that they knew Crabtree and Talib had a history.

That dates back to the 2016 regular-season finale, when Talib snatched his chain for no reason. Crabtree didn’t retaliate then, making a “business decision” to focus on winning a division title (and securing a performance bonus).

He seemed ready for this one. According to an ESPN report, Crabtree wore a chain as he always does, but taped it to his body. Talib got it anyway.

The fight got out of hand from there, even with a Raiders season hanging in the balance. Crabtree and Talib seemed willing to engage on several occasions.

Talib admits the fight went on too long.

“I guess the second half of it definitely could have been defused,” he said. “That’s what I’m disappointed about, the second half of it. The first half, that was him being extra. That’s what he wanted. He didn’t want to play that game, he wanted to come out and wrestle all day. It’s alright.”

Del Rio 'frustrated and pissed off' after Raiders waste golden opportunity

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USATSI

Del Rio 'frustrated and pissed off' after Raiders waste golden opportunity

ALAMEDA – Head coach Jack Del Rio started his Monday press conference with a message for Raider Nation.

He didn’t wait for a question or a prompt. Del Rio just went for it, and set the tone for a new reality. Going to the playoffs is a considerable long shot after Sunday’s 26-15 loss in Kansas City. Not an impossibility, but it’s close.

Del Rio wanted everyone to know that’s unacceptable, and he isn’t happy about it.

“As players and coaches, we are as frustrated and pissed off about what occurred yesterday as anybody out there,” Del Rio said. “Losing a game like that hurts, and there are no words I can say here today that will take away that pain or make people who care about the Raiders feel better. I’m really not going to try.”

Fans should be upset when a team with offensive firepower to spare can’t score consistently. Fans should be upset when drafted players weren’t developed, and major defensive flaws weren’t addressed in the offseason.

This year’s Raiders are a woefully disappointing 6-7, nowhere near the lofty internal expectations held to start this season. It feels like a waste now, with so much talent producing so little. People will point fingers. Someone will ultimately be held accountable and several will end up unemployed, players and coaches alike.

That’s what happens when you fall short. Ownership isn’t happy. Nobody is.

Looking back, Del Rio wishes his team would’ve played with abandon, with some risk in their play. The Raiders haven’t done that much this year, tiptoeing through quality competition with lackluster results.

“I think that there have been many examples throughout this season where we have not played boldly to go make the plays,” Del Rio said. “I would really like to see that because, at the end of the day, if you kind of go half-way, it’s not good enough anyway. I’d love to see us just let it rip. And go play. We’ve talked about playing with our hair on fire, talked about that kind of effort and energy and playing fast. That’s what I believe in, and I’d love to see it more often.”

The Silver and Black played like that back in Week 7, in a game against Kansas City. It was the only time these Raiders channeled last year’s group, which got by with a little hocus pocus and quality performance under pressure. It felt like a turning point then. The past few weeks proved it was not.

The Raiders could still make the playoffs. Getting there was simple math heading into Sunday’s game. Now calculus is required.

What comes next? The Raiders have to win out and pray for rain, hoping it’s good enough to sneak into the postseason through the back door. Different is necessary to do that. They simply haven’t been good enough or consistent enough to believe that’s possible.

“We have to coach it better. We have to execute it better, as players and coaches,” Del Rio said. “Head coach and quarterback get a win-loss record off of their performance in these game. We’ve won a bunch of games over the last three years, and we’re going to continue to win a bunch of games. Yesterday was a disappointment. We can’t go back and do anything about that. I tell guys all the time that you get what you earn in this league. What we’ve earned is 6-7. What we have in front of us are three games and what we’ve got to do is play good football and win the next one and see where that takes us.”

Carr takes responsibility for Raiders loss, 'it is all my fault'

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AP

Carr takes responsibility for Raiders loss, 'it is all my fault'

Derek Carr sees the world through rose-colored lenses. The Raiders quarterback can find light in dark days, put a positive spin on most anything.

Not Sunday. He refused to sugar coat a 26-15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs might’ve killed the Raiders’ playoff hopes.

Frustration was visible on his face, audible in his tone. This one hurt. Might for a while.

Carr wasn’t mad at anyone else. He was upset with himself, and made it clear the angry mob should stay at his door.

“It sucked,” Carr said after losing a virtual must-win game. “It was not good enough and you can put it all on me. Don’t you blame one coach, one player. It is all my fault.”

Look, Carr wasn’t good. This might’ve been one of his worst games as a pro, since his rookie year at least.

He had a 36.3 passer rating through three quarters, with 69 yards to his credit. The Raiders had three plays or less in six of their first eight drives. He finished with 211 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, totals padded during a too-little, too-late fourth quarter comeback try.

Despite Carr’s desire to take all the blame, there’s plenty to go around. The game plan wasn’t great. The pass protection wasn’t superb. Michael Crabtree dropped two passes. Johnny Holton lost a fumble and had a pass clang off his hands and get intercepted.

Carr still points back at himself as the root of the Raiders’ offensive woes. He’s the triggerman. The buck apparently stops there.

“I get patted on the back when I throw for 300 yards, but I could tell you 15 plays that I screwed up,” Carr said. “I can play better all of the time. That is the life of this business, especially when you lose.”

Carr has taken his fair share of criticism this season, maybe more than at any point in his career. That comes with a high profile and a massive $125 million contract, with a fifth of that coming this year.

Carr is his harshest critic, and doesn’t point fingers. That’s not his style. He will use this experience and frustration to improve as a quarterback, and sure sport a smile next time he meets the press.

Not Sunday. Not after a disappointing day at Arrowhead Stadium. He’s 0-4 with dismal numbers in Kansas City, and wasn’t able to buck that trend in this one. That will stick with him when he looks back on a disappointing season.

“I am just frustrated with myself,” Carr said. “There are going to be plays that you want back, but that is every game. For a whole, I saw the coverage fine. I was going to certain places with the ball that I thought were right and all of those things.

“…we had some opportunities that we just did not connect on. Just can’t happen. There is no easy way to go through this one. This one sucked.”