Raiders

Derek Carr frustrated with officials, offense in Raiders' loss to Chiefs

Derek Carr frustrated with officials, offense in Raiders' loss to Chiefs

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. 

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.”

[RELATED: Should Raiders trade for Fitzpatrick after Abram's injury?]

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.

Raiders' entire 2019 NFL draft class making profound impact on season

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Raiders' entire 2019 NFL draft class making profound impact on season

OAKLAND – Jon Gruden gets asked about the Raiders' rookie class almost every week.

Those questions don’t get old, and they’re always relevant.

This isn’t just the Josh Jacobs show. At least a few are making positive contributions each Sunday. That was the case again Sunday when rookie contributions were vital to a 17-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Coliseum.

Fourth-round pick Maxx Crosby had four sacks, including a strip-sack where the Raiders recovered. Tight end Foster Moreau, also picked in that round, had a key touchdown catch. Second-round pick Trayvon Mullen had two pass breakups and his first NFL interception iced victory. Undrafted fullback Alec Ingold blocked well as always and converted a key fourth down set up to a field goal.

Oh, and Jacobs posted his fourth triple-digit rushing total in 10 tries.

All that comes two weeks after fifth-round pick Hunter Renfrow caught the game-winning touchdown late to beat Detroit. It also came one week after first-round pick Clelin Ferrell’s breakout performance, where he had 2.5 sacks and six(!) run stops against the Chargers.

We could bloat the internet with this season’s Raiders rookie contributions, but you get the point. This year’s class has been awesome, truly making an instant impact.

Jacobs tweeted, ‘best rookie class since…” after Sunday’s game. The ellipsis is appropriate because you have to stop and ponder that one. That's a tough ranking in league history but it does seem appropriate to say this year’s crop is arguably the greatest collective effort by a group of rookies in franchise history.

Gruden isn’t into bold proclamations like that, but he loves what the young players have provided his ascending team.

“The poise and the production and the professionalism that they play with and come to work with,” Gruden said, “is something everybody would be impressed with.”

The stats have been impressive, to say the least. Some numbers for support, via ESPN:

The Raiders have the most rookie sacks (10), touchdowns from scrimmage (14), scrimmage yards (1,676), rushing yards (937) and receptions (73). They have the second-most receiving yards (739).

Per the AP, the Raiders are the first team to have 10-plus sacks and 10-plus touchdowns over the first 10 games of the season since the sack became a stat in 1982.

Odds are more superlatives will come next week and the week after that, with the Raiders so reliant on rookies who have grown up fast.

"We just bought in,” Jacobs said. “Like I said when we came in, the rookie class came in together and we came to an agreement that we were going to do things the right way and build this program. We wanted to try and shape it back to the Raider culture and back to what we feel like dominating football is. Just to see how we are all coming in and trying to keep that promise and execute every week has been huge."

Jacobs is a frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year and was one of three Raiders first-round draft picks. Ferrell just now is coming on, and Johnathan Abram is missing from the equation after being lost to injury in the season opener. The Silver and Black are receiving key contributions from mid-round picks and undrafted guys alike, with most everyone asked to step up and play.

[RELATED: Raiders protect Coliseum, chart course for playoff push]

This group’s confidence is growing by the game, which will help push for a playoff spot this season and set the Raiders up for sustained success when they move to Las Vegas in 2020.

“It comes down to preparation,” Mullen said. “All of us young guys put the time in and pay attention to details during the week. That allows us to come in on Sunday and play free.”

Raiders protect Coliseum, set playoff course after sweeping homestand

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Raiders protect Coliseum, set playoff course after sweeping homestand

OAKLAND -- The Raiders returned home at the beginning of November tired, frustrated and beaten up, but still with a pulse.

A whirlwind five-game road trip saw the Silver and Black go just about everywhere -- from Minnesota to London to Houston with a few stops in between. They survived the season-defining road trip, coming home at 3-4 and with just enough of a heartbeat to make the next three games the most important of the 2019 season. 

Three games in a row at the Coliseum. All winnable. Since it's the NFL, all losable.

Jon Gruden's gritty club opened the homestand with a thrilling Week 9 win over Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions. Derek Carr engineered a game-winning drive, safety Karl Joseph broke up Stafford's last-second pass to tie the game and the Raiders were 4-4. 

The heartbeat grew stronger. The Coliseum grew louder.

Next, a Thursday night showdown against the rival Chargers, a team desperate to find a win. The final night game in Oakland saw the Coliseum roar and shake as it did during the glory years of the Silver and Black, with the crowd exploding when Joseph picked off Philip Rivers to seal another nail-biting victory

At 5-4, the heartbeat was steady and still growing stronger. The Raiders had one more game in front of them to win to complete a goal set when they disembarked the plane after a disappointing road loss to the Texans to cap their road trip. 

There the winless Bengals stood Sunday at the Coliseum, 0-9 but ready to scratch and claw for win No. 1. The Raiders left the door open, playing sloppy, uninspired ball at times. But the Bengals, without a threat at quarterback or a defense capable of making a timely stop, lacked the mobility to walk through it, and Trayvon Mullen's game-sealing interception of Ryan Finley gave the Raiders a 17-10 win and a 3-0 homestand. 

Giving the Coliseum crowd meaningful football to watch in the team's final season in Oakland has energized a home crowd frothing at the mouth for a playoff run. Their energy, in turn, has injected life into the Raiders as the team exited Sunday's win in a virtual tie for first place in the AFC West, with the Chiefs still to play Monday night.

Defending the Coliseum was of paramount importance to Carr and the Raiders. That came pouring out when the veteran signal-caller juked an oncoming defender Sunday and sprinted for the end zone, leaping across the goal line to give the Raiders a 14-7 lead over the Bengals.

Carr let out a primal scream toward the fans in the corner of the end zone, echoing Maximus Decimus Meridus' iconic scene from "Gladiator." Raiders Nation, going berserk as the Silver and Black crept toward a 3-0 homestand, was indeed entertained.

"When we were on that 11-month road trip across the globe," Carr said laughing, "we talked leading into the Lions at home, I said, 'We have set ourselves up to have a homestand at home with games that matter.' November is the games they remember, right? Every coach has said that I've ever been with. We asked our fans to be loud for us, they were loud for us. We demanded that we won every one of those games here at home. We protected this place because this is a special place. And we did that.

"Now we have to go on the road again. But when we get back home, hopefully, there's still some things that we need to be playing for. I hope that our fans are excited when we come back. But I hope they also make a couple trips with us and turn those stadiums into silver and black."

In the final season in Oakland, the Raiders now are 4-1 at home, with their only loss coming at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 2.

They've shown tremendous resolve, grit and toughness each week, doing what is necessary to force the Coliseum faithful to explode in celebration and send Gruden down to the Black Hole to be mobbed by those that have more silver and black than hemoglobin coursing through their bodies.

Protecting the Coliseum was necessary in order for Gruden and the Raiders to capitalize on surviving an unprecedented road trip against playoff-caliber teams.

"We came off one of the most incredible road trips ever in the history of the NFL," Gruden said after the win over the Bengals. "We played not only on the road, we played in foreign countries and across the world it seemed like every week. We came back and did what we had to do if we wanted to get in this thing."

[RELATED: Crosby-Mullen bond creates winning plays for Raiders]

With just December home games against the Titans and Jaguars remaining, Gruden is relishing each win he can celebrate with the Raiders fans that closely resemble their head coach.

"I can say I've been fortunate to be in some great places, great traditional places," Gruden said Sunday. "Notre Dame, I grew up in South Bend, Had the opportunity to coach the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, 49ers, they all have great fans. Something about these people. They are nuts. They are the closest thing to me that I've ever seen."

Road dates with the Jets and Chiefs await the Raiders over the next two weeks. Both games are losable, and both winnable, as has been the case with the 2019 Raiders.

Returning to the hallowed ground in Oakland with the playoffs in sight will have the Coliseum primed to ratchet it up to 11 as their final mosh in silver and black comes in December games to remember. A fitting parting gift to those who have made the Coliseum so special.

Gruden and the Raiders plan to give it to them.