OAKLAND -- The first 12 minutes of Sunday's Raiders-Chiefs game looked a lot like Oakland's Week 1 win over the Denver Broncos.
Quarterback Derek Carr and the offense possessed the ball for 8 minutes and 13 seconds, with Carr going 6-for-12 for 71 yards and a touchdown to give the Raiders a 10-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
It was clinical, precise and had everyone believing -- if only for a minute -- these Raiders were different.
But the Raiders' offense stalled in the second frame, picking up just four first downs while Patrick Mahomes tossed four touchdowns as the Chiefs held a 28-10 lead at halftime. Carr was 9-for-11 for 70 yards in the second quarter, but penalties kept the Raiders from keeping the chains moving, allowing the Chiefs' offensive avalanche to get going, something the Raiders couldn't recover from in the 28-10 loss.
"Early on, we were able to hit on some things, we were able to protect it up, hit some shots down the field," Carr said after the loss. "Obviously, that was an emphasis, taking some shots, doing that kind of thing. But the next three to four drives, they'd get us on something or we'd be just short of the first down, things like that. That's football stuff. It's not like we were stressed out or anything like that. But while we did that on offense, they were able to get going and get out to a big lead.
"And it gets annoying after that because then the game changes," Carr continued. "The game plan is a little bit different, you know, the whole setting things up really doesn't matter because they are dictating in a different way. That's just the flow of the game, during that time where we couldn't get a first down, they jumped up on us and that changes a whole bunch of stuff."
During that second quarter, the Raiders had a third-and-11 from their own 36, looking to keep their drive going an extend their 10-7 lead. Carr was flushed from the pocket and took off down the left sideline. Seeing the marker, Carr went airborne to make the line to gain, but the refs ruled him a yard short even though it appeared he stuck the ball out over the line before the ball crossed out of the field of play.
Oh my!— NFL UK (@NFLUK) September 15, 2019
Derek Carr FLEW 🛫 pic.twitter.com/GB4c9M9a1r
The Raiders were forced to punt, and the Chiefs preceded to go 95 yards in 14 plays to take a 14-10 lead on a 42-yard pass from Mahomes to Mecole Harman.
Being marked a yard shy of what appeared to be a clear first down helped change the momentum of the game, swinging it in Kansas City's favor, and frustrating Carr, who was adamant he made the line.
“I’m just trying to win, to be honest with you," Carr said. "I don’t like losing. I believe we have a good football team. And in that moment, obviously it was in that moment we talked about, we need a first down. And then we get a penalty. The penalties were a big deal to us. Pre-snap penalties. But we get a penalty. At the moment, I see the sticks and I’m like, “Oh there’s no chance I’m sliding, no chance I’m going out of bounds.’ I’m just trying to get a first down, and I had the first down, but forever in this league when I put the ball out past the first-down marker but my body goes the other way, they never give it to me."
Trailing by 18 at halftime, the Raiders forced a punt to open the third quarter and then Carr drove the offense 77 yards down to the Chiefs' 4-yard line. On first-and-goal, Carr audibled at the line and threw a jump ball intended for Tyrell Williams, but it was picked off by Bashaud Breeland.
Carr chalked his first interception of the season up to a miscommunication, noting that Williams didn't get the hand signal when he audibled at the line.
The Raiders' first turnover was on both Carr and Williams. Their second shouldn't have counted.
After the defense forced another punt, Carr threw a pass over the middle intended for Ryan Grant, but the receiver was hit before the ball arrived and the pass was picked off. Confoundingly, the officials flagged Grant for offensive pass interference, claiming the veteran receiver was setting a pick for tight end Foster Moreau who was running an out route despite the fact Carr clearly was throwing to Grant.
The interception effectively ended any real chance the Raiders had of making a comeback, and Carr still was stunned about the call after the game.
"The second interception will blow my mind forever," Carr said. "It was offensive pass interference, they said he was blocking. So I asked the man, ‘Sir, why would I throw him the ball if he was blocking?' And he didn’t have an answer for me and he walked away. So, I just, I don’t know what to do in that instance. We got the coverage we want, we got the exact look we want, I’m throwing it to where I’m supposed to throw it and they tackle our receiver, yet it’s a penalty on us.
"This is changing the outcomes of a football game. That shouldn’t happen. That blows my mind. When things like that happen, I get upset.”
On the day, Carr finished 23-for-38 for 198 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The offense was clicking early, and when it stalled, the Raiders were without running back Josh Jacobs (cramps) and Williams (hip) for a spell, leaving Carr without two of his top weapons when the Raiders needed to maintain possession and stem the tide.
Carr made no excuses, but let his frustration out when discussing playing shorthanded for a portion of the game.
“Obviously, there is different things called, right?" Carr said. "It’s a different game plan when two starters aren’t in there. You have to do different things. Anytime anybody is out, it’s next man up, that’s football. No one cares why -- it’s next man up. But at the same time, let’s be real about it, it’s going to change some things.”
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Carr and the 1-1 Raiders leave Oakland to embark on a five-game "road trip," which includes a home game in London. Through the first five quarters of the season, Carr was locked in and had the offense humming on an impressive level. Then came the penalties, the injuries, the bad calls and the turnovers, leading to an 18-point loss to a division rival and question marks about the offense's overall potency.
Things will have to get cleaned up before the Raiders' Week 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings. Jacobs needs to touch the ball more, and the Raiders must be more disciplined and not put Carr in a bad spot against a defense that is much better than the Chiefs' unit.
Carr used the word annoying to describe the offensive stagnation and the interception in the end zone. That comes from believing the Raiders have the offensive talent to be a team no one wants to deal with. A team that can go toe-to-toe with Mahomes and the Chiefs and come out on top.
They just couldn't get out of their own way Sunday.