Instant Replay: Raiders cough up AFC West, head to Houston as No. 5 seed

Instant Replay: Raiders cough up AFC West, head to Houston as No. 5 seed


DENVER – The Raiders miss Derek Carr. Really, really bad.

Their first game without their starting quarterback was a complete disaster that goes down as a 24-6 loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field.

The Raiders came unglued early and never came back together, clearly still reeling from Carr’s broken fibula in last week’s win over Indianapolis.

He’s likely done for the season, leaving little hope the Raiders can recover and win a playoff game.

That will have to come on the road. The Raiders blew an opportunity to win the AFC West, secure the AFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. A win in Denver would’ve sealed the deal. A Kansas City loss would’ve done the same, but the Chiefs stayed in the race by beating San Diego.

Now they’re a No. 5 seed, headed to Houston for a playoff showdown with the Texans.

The Raiders will have to remedy their quarterback situation if there’s any hope of winning in the postseason.

Matt McGloin was in charge filling in for Carr, but his first start of the season didn’t last long. He suffered a shoulder injury late in the second quarter and did not return.

It became clear why Carr was an MVP candidate in the first half, when the Raiders offense struggled mightily with McGloin calling signals. He was inaccurate most of the day, and was worse after getting hit in the shoulder and neck area by Broncos defensive end Jared Crick.

Connor Cook took over late in the second quarter, and finished by completing 12-of-21 passes for 150 yards. He lost a fumble in the third quarter that led to more Denver points.

Cook was solid in spurts, especially on a three-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 32-yard touchdown strike to Amari Cooper. It was Cook’s first professional touchdown, which came in his first NFL game on the active roster.

Cook made some rookie mistakes including his fumble and a poorly thrown interception midway through the fourth quarter.

The rookie showed some arm talent but wasn’t able to get the Raiders going consistently, though a fumble lost by Johnny Holton hindered positive momentum after the Cooper touchdown.

It wasn’t just offense still unsettled after Carr’s injury. The defense seemed rattled as well. They didn’t tackle well, and got lethargic as the offense struggled. They were penalized heavily in their worst showing of the year.

The Raiders were never in this important game, and limp into the playoffs following an embarrassing display to end the regular season.

Crabtree over 1,000: Michael Crabtree went over 1,000 yards in the fourth quarter, making him and Amari Cooper the first Raiders receiving tandem to exceed 1,000 yards since 2001. Jerry Rice and Tim Brown accomplished the feat then.

Raiders weak at strong safety: Veteran safety Nate Allen suffered a concussion in the first half, which left the Raiders without quality options at strong safety.

Karl Joseph was inactive with a toe injury and Keith McGill was terrible stepping in for Allen. The Raiders turned to Brynden Trawick, primarily a special teams player, after that.

What’s next: The Raiders head on the road to play the Houston Texans in the wild card round of the AFC playoffs.

Why Drew Rosenhaus hopes Antonio Brown-Raiders trade sets precedent

Why Drew Rosenhaus hopes Antonio Brown-Raiders trade sets precedent

Antonio Brown's agent hopes his client is a trendsetter. 

Despite Brown having three years left on his contract deal and the trade necessitating a massive amount of dead money on their books, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Brown to the Raiders for just a third- and fifth-round pick. Drew Rosenhaus thinks the deal could set a precedent for players under contract who are unhappy in their current situation. 

“What I hope it does is maybe bring some more balance," Rosenhaus told NBC Sports' Peter King in his Football Morning in America column. "There aren’t many players like Antonio Brown but perhaps—and I’m not suggesting that everybody go out and try to renegotiate their deal or ask for a trade—but I hope it gives players more leverage throughout the league.

"I hope it gives agents more confidence that they can affect something in a way that can make a positive change for their clients. Maybe this is a deal that’s bigger than just one particular contract.”

As Rosenhaus himself notes, Brown is a unique case. He is one of the very best players at his position, catching at least 100 passes for at least 1,200 yards and at least eight touchdowns in each of the past six seasons. Brown made the Pro Bowl in each of those years, and was first-team All-Pro every season from 2014 to 2017. 

Furthermore, his relationship with the Steelers was especially strained. Beginning with his Facebook Live stream from inside the Pittsburgh locker room in 2017 and culminating with his benching in Week 17 last season, it became clear that Brown's relationship with the Steelers was no longer tenable. A player without Brown's pedigree likely wouldn't have had the same leash before the Steelers ultimately decided to part ways. 

[RELATED: Brown takes jab at Bills for false rumors]

Still, Brown's trade definitely represents a departure from business as usual in the NFL. This is an owner-driven and owner-dominated league, where player contracts are not guaranteed and the average career lasts about three years. The Brown saga, frankly, was far more NBA-like. 

If football players begin to have more power like their basketball peers, Brown's trade to the Raiders would mark a clear turning point. 

Rashaan Melvin says he cheated Raiders fans during season with the team


Rashaan Melvin says he cheated Raiders fans during season with the team

Rashaan Melvin said his goodbyes to the Raiders after the Lions announced a deal that would bring the cornerback to the team.

But Melvin's farewell to the Silver and Black was a bit of a sad one. Melvin said he felt as though he cheated the fans:

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Im thankful for every opportunity God has placed in my life. We all must go through some things to get to what is actually meant for us. I greatly appreciate the Oakland organization for giving me the opportunity to further my career this past season. I respect the raiders organization, I respect the tradition, and I respect the die hard fans that has and will forever believe in raider nation. I feel like I cheated the fans, and organization, and a long list of players that came before me that made the organization what it is. It was always a life time dream of mine to wear the silver and black. It really hurt me that I wasn’t able to be myself, and play the style of play that I know I was capable of playing. To all my guys in that locker room I appreciate you guys for making the year special through everything. I cherish the relationships that were created on and off the field. I respect you guys, and I wish you boy’s the best!! Y’all ball out for the City of Oakland 1 more time or for however long y’all there! Respect!! #22 #raidernation ✊🏾✊🏾

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This, of course, appeared to be more of him not feeling as though he played to his potential. Playing for the Raiders had been a dream of his.

Melvin only started in seven games last season which could be partly why he's feeling the way he's feeling. 

"To all my guys in the locker room, I appreciate you guys for making the year special through everything."