HOUSTON – Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin spent his Saturday alternating head gear, between a hat and a helmet.
He threw on a cap when the Raiders were on defense, and a helmet when they had possession in case rookie starter Connor Cook got hurt. He never warmed up on the sideline. Not once.
The Raiders stuck with Cook all game despite the fact their offense rarely moved the football.
McGloin was available after injuring his shoulder and neck in the regular-season finale at Denver, when he struggled mightily before the injury.
McGloin was waiting for a call that never came. They stuck with Cook in a 27-145 loss to the Houston Texans and NRG Stadium that officially ended their season.
The fourth-year veteran and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent didn’t lobby for a chance to play, though he certainly wanted to get into the action.
“It’s not my decision,” McGloin said. “It doesn’t really matter what I do, what I think. I had tremendous help from the training staff and the strength coaches throughout the course of the week to be as healthy as I could be to be available if they needed me to go in.”
McGloin’s playing status was initially uncertain, but he was able to rehab enough to be active. The Raiders coaches never pulled him off the bench.
“I asked at halftime,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “The coaches really felt that there were other things that were kind of contributing and that there wasn’t going to be a big change based on changing the quarterback, so we stayed the course with it. I know (Cook) got a lot of experience in the game and the last game and a half. (Cook) did some good things, and he did some things he’ll certainly learn from.”
Defense laments missed opportunities: The Raiders defense allowed just 291 yards to the Texans, and gave up points on short fields, but it didn’t come through for a struggling offense.
The Raiders didn’t have a takeaway or a single sack, without the game-changing plays necessary to make a significant impact. That will stick with Raiders defenders after missing opportunities to change the game.
“That really bothers me, that we weren’t able to create a turnover and make some big plays,” cornerback TJ Carrie said. “We needed to step up as a defense and play our best game. That didn’t happen today.”
Cook can’t connect with top WRs: Receiver Michael Crabtree suffered a concussion in the second half and did not return to the game, but he and Cook struggled to connect when he was on the field. They had just two completions for 33 yards on seven targets.
Amari Cooper didn’t fare much better. He was doubled covered most of the night, and only had two catches for 10 yards on a whopping 10 targets. Cooper struggled down the stretch, with only more than 60 yards once in the last nine games.
Injury update: Center Rodney Hudson suffered an ankle injury and returned to the game, though he was seen after the loss in a walking boot.
Inside linebacker Malcolm Smith didn’t finish the game due to a hamstring injury. Cory James played in his absence.
Left tackle Donald Penn’s knee injury is relatively minor and shouldn’t require much time to heal.
This ‘n that: Punter Marquette King broke a franchise-record with 10 punts in a postseason game, and some of them didn’t go well. He dropped just two inside the 20-yard line, and had a few short ones that gave the Texans good field position. …The Raiders running game struggled to generate offense, with 64 yards on 21 carries. …Return man Jalen Richard had a good day, with a 13.6 yard average on five punt returns. He had a 37-yard return that set up the Raiders first touchdown.