OAKLAND – Derek Carr’s return from a back injury was not triumphant. The Raiders lost. Again.
Carr had some good news to report after Sunday’s 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He said transverse process fractures didn’t hinder his ability to play quarterback against the Chargers. Every throw was available.
He didn’t connect on many downfield. His two long completions to Amari Cooper were negated by penalty. Michael Crabtree’s 23-yard touchdown reception, the passing game’s only explosive pass play, was a catch and run.
The Raiders weren’t able to work the ball downfield. Carr didn’t let loose much.
Short stuff wasn’t necessary to protect the passer.
“It had nothing to do with my back,” Carr said. “They play really soft zone coverage. That’s what (Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley) does. He tries to create pressure and hide some things. Usually, when they play soft, you have to take those.”
Carr’s pedestrian stat line didn’t wow. He completed 21-of 30 passes for 171 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions and a 67.5 passer rating. Carr averaged 5.3 yards per pass play, a low sum more common in his early years. Dink and dunk was the strategy Sunday. Carr threw just five passes 10 yards or more in the air, and completed three for 50 yards and an interception. The other 25 were short-range throws, with five behind the line of scrimmage. The passing game had just one big play all day, and couldn't sustain success often enough to generate enough points.
Carr said the full playbook was available to him against the Chargers.
“We go out there as an offense and we’re going to run what’s called to the best of our abilities,” Carr said. “There was no talk of trying to get the ball out of my hands or to not take hits or anything like that.”
Carr said the Raiders scheme under Todd Downing is “great.” The game plans are sound. Fans have grown frustrated with the coaching staff, coordinators especially, with the Raiders performing well below expectation.
The Raiders rank 30th in total offense and 16th in points per game even after scoring 70 in the season’s first two weeks.
Carr hasn’t put a team on his shoulders during a four-game losing streak where the Raiders are averaging 13.1 points per game.
He’ll naturally take all the blame in these moments. That’s what good leaders do.
He took responsibility for two key picks. The first came from miscommunication, while the second was tipped a bit and killed an 11-play drive already in the red zone.
The problems Carr, believes, are small.
“Details. That's a frustrating thing,” Carr said. “I'm not going to lie to you. I'm really frustrated. We work too hard for that kind of stuff to happen. That's an easy catch, that's an easy play, if I do the right thing, if our players do the right thing. What I'm trying to say, is that it should be an easy play. And it was a turnover. That should never happen. We gave them two gifts.
“It's myself and the whole offense included. We need to lock into every little detail, that's the problem. There's nothing else. Our guys work their tail off. When I get there, guys are there and they're working. We're working hard, but we have to lock in on the details."