Derek Carr has flashbacks after fumble through end zone in Raiders' loss


Derek Carr has flashbacks after fumble through end zone in Raiders' loss

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Derek Carr surveyed the Packers defensive backfield for a beat but couldn’t find anyone open. The Raiders quarterback rolled to his right and saw a path to the end zone. He took off running, with a defender angling hard to cut him off. Contact was coming soon, so Carr dove with an arm outstretched, reaching for the pylon.

The ball slipped from his grasp just before Carr’s knee hit the ground, thrust threw the corner of the end zone and out of bounds.

Raiders fans know all too well what happens next.

Touchback. Disaster. The clear pivot point in a damaging Raiders loss.

This one ended up a 42-24 loss to the Packers. If that sequence sounds hauntingly familiar, it should. That’s also how the Raiders lost to Dallas back in 2017, with Carr losing possession in identical fashion, again reaching out to the right pylon.

Carr said after the Cowboys loss that he would make the same play again in the future. Sunday might’ve been the last time he executes it like that.

"Everyone was patting me on the side of the head like, ‘you’re just trying to make a play,’ and I understand that,” Carr said. “Because of the result as a fumble, it’s the Packers’ ball and that sucks. In that moment, it’s so hard because you’re right there and you’re playing a tough team where you need all the points you can get. It’s so hard not to try. That’s everything I’ve even been about my entire life, is to try."

Carr knows the technique must be different next time.

“I’ve got to go with two hands, right?” Carr said. “Trying to extend to with one hand isn’t smart. That’s stupid. But, at the end of the day, it’s really hard to, in that situation, while you’re running, I’m not thinking about anything else but getting in the end zone. But it sucks, man. It’s my fault. I let my team down on that.”

The Raiders allowed that mistake to snowball and eventually avalanche. The defense took responsibility for what happened next. They let Aaron Rodgers go 80 yards and score before the end of the half and run another one win to start the third quarter.

The Raiders were 2 yards from a lead when Carr fumbled and were down 18 points before his next meaningful snap.

Again, disaster.

“That was a huge sequence in the game, but that’s not all on Derek,” safety Erik Harris said. “We play complementary football, and we as a defense needed to pick the team up at the end of the second half. We didn’t do that. We have to do better in those situations.”

Carr’s fumble will be the focal point of that terrible, no-good, very bad series of unfortunate events. He instantly had flashbacks to the Dallas game two years ago and recalled it after this loss.

“It’s so tough as a competitor to just run out at the 2-yard line and not try to go for the end zone,” Carr said. “If you score, everyone’s high-fiving you. If you fumble, everyone tells you to do it better. I understand that I dropped the ball and I messed up. I have to get better at using two hands. I have to practice that. That’s completely my fault.”

[RELATED: What we learned in Raiders' blowout loss vs. Packers]

Head coach Jon Gruden obviously didn’t like the result, but he didn’t mind the hustle.

“He’s trying to give great effort and lay out to score,” Gruden said. “The ball slipped out of his hands. If he had scored, we’d all feel pretty good. Unfortunately, it was 28-10 the next time we got the ball. That was a big play in the game and, defensively, we gave up a big play at the end of the first half and a big play to start the third quarter. We can’t play like that. We just can’t do it. Credit to them.”

Raiders stuck in present, even with huge Chiefs game on the horizon

Raiders stuck in present, even with huge Chiefs game on the horizon

The AFC West showdown of the season is coming up fast.

The Raiders travel to Kansas City for a Dec. 1 battle for pole position in the division race, as important a division game as the Silver and Black have played since 2016.

The NFL recognized that and dropped this game from a cluttered morning window to the late afternoon. The league knows that it should be a featured game.

The longtime rivals could be tied atop the division at kickoff, setting high stakes for that one. The Chiefs will enter that game at 7-4 fresh off a bye following Monday night’s victory over the L.A. Chargers.

The Raiders have to work for that record. A victory Sunday over the host New York Jets is required. The Raiders are road favorites for the first time this season but understand their next contest will be a tough one.

The Raiders can’t and won’t overlook anyone, especially after their previous game, against the winless Bengals, was too close for comfort.

“We are going to fight, scratch to win every single game that we can possibly win,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “I know the Bengals were 0-9 and it’s an easy story to write, but you don’t look ahead in this league. You just don’t do it. There’s a lot of upsets every week.”

Take another look at Gruden’s first sentence. That’s an accurate description of the team’s approach to this season. The battle and fight like crazy, which is why their 6-1 in games decided by one score or less. They also know they don’t have enough talent or clout to win while on cruise control. A maximum effort is required against most everybody. That includes a three-win team with two victories in a row.

“I can't speak for the team, but I know personally, I don't look ahead,” running back Josh Jacobs said. “Even coming into this week, I didn't even know Cincinnati's record. I didn't know any of the stats. I just looked at film and take it day-by-day and opponent-by-opponent."

The Chiefs can look forward to the Raiders during a bye. Andy Reid will certainly be in the lab concocting new and innovative ways to best old friend in Gruden, who could bring the Raiders to Kansas City on a four-game winning streak with control of the AFC West on the line.

A loss in the Meadowlands would ruin that scenario, but it doesn’t take the Raiders out of contention for the division or a wild card spot. The Silver and Black are in the thick of this thing, currently the AFC’s No. 7 seed -- that could change after a Thursday night clash between the Texans and Colts, both 6-4, and a half-game back in the division.

Gruden has done a good job preventing his team from dreaming too far ahead. They were focused on the Bengals and expect to get the best of Sam Darnold and a stout Jets defensive front in Week 12.

[RELATED: Raiders draft class making impact on season]

The Silver and Black have impressed thus far this season despite a tough schedule but know they haven’t earned anything yet.

“It just says that we’re getting better. We’re able to find ways to win,” Gruden said. “There’s an old saying around here, ‘Just win baby.’ We’ve fought our hearts out to put ourselves in a 6-4 position. That doesn’t mean anything. We’ve got a lot of respect for the Jets and a lot of work to do.”

NFL Playoff Picture: Where Raiders stand after Chiefs win Week 11 game

NFL Playoff Picture: Where Raiders stand after Chiefs win Week 11 game

The Raiders had a chance to move into first place in AFC West on Monday night, but they needed a little help.

They did not get that help as the Chargers failed to beat the Chiefs in Mexico City on "Monday Night Football." Kansas City held on for a 24-17 victory and moved to 7-4 on the season.

The Raiders, coming off a 17-10 win over the Bengals,  sit and 6-4 and remain in second place in the AFC West and in seventh place in the AFC playoff picture.

Had the Chargers won, the Raiders would have moved into third place in the AFC by virtue of the tiebreaker with the Indianapolis Colts.

Alas, the Raiders still are on the outside looking in.

Here's how the AFC playoff picture looks through 11 weeks of the NFL season.

1. New England Patriots (9-1)
2. Baltimore Ravens (8-2)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
5. Buffalo Bills (7-3)
6. Houston Texans (6-4)
7. Oakland Raiders (6-4)

The good news for the Raiders is that their schedule the rest of the way is slightly easier than that of Kansas City's.

Oakland has six games remaining and only their Week 13 matchup against the Chiefs comes against a team with a winning record. The Raiders also have games remaining against the Jets (3-7), Titans (5-5), Jaguars (4-6), Chargers (4-7) and Broncos (3-7).

[RELATED: Raiders-Chiefs Week 13 clash flexed to afternoon slot]

After a bye next weekend, the Chiefs host the Raiders, then travel to New England to take on the AFC-leading Patriots. They close the season against the Broncos, Bears (4-6) and Chargers.

Buckle up because the last six weeks of the season are going to have many more twists and turns.