Raiders

Tyrann Mathieu explains how Chiefs decoded Derek Carr, Raiders offense

Tyrann Mathieu explains how Chiefs decoded Derek Carr, Raiders offense

Derek Carr and the Raiders came into Sunday's game against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium needing a win to jump into a first-place tie atop the AFC West.

The formula for a win was for the Raiders to control the clock with running back Josh Jacobs and the ground game and have Carr make efficient throws to move the sticks and then take deep shots when available.

Carr had been going downfield with success this season, but the Chiefs had his number Sunday. 

On the Raiders' first possession of the game, Carr dropped back and looked to hit tight end Darren Waller for a big gain down the sideline. But Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu jumped the route, picking off Carr and putting the Chiefs on their way to a 40-9 rout

Carr and the Raiders' passing game was limited all day because the Chiefs knew exactly when they planned to take their shots.

"The biggest thing is we knew that when (Carr) did take shots downfield, we understood it pre-snap by the formation, and it put us in position to make a play," Mathieu said after the win. "Tight ends, running backs, check-downs, that’s his game. We were able to capitalize when he did try to throw it downfield."

Carr was bad by any measure Sunday. The veteran signal-caller went 20-for-30 for 222 yards with one garbage-time touchdown and two interceptions, including a pick-six that sealed the Raiders' fate near the end of the first half. 

[RELATED: Jacobs vows to get Raiders 'right' after Chiefs loss]

With a lack of playmakers on the outside, the Raiders' passing attack is somewhat limited, but it appears it's also easy to diagnose, which is something coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders must fix if they plan to make a December run at a wild-card spot.

Now, it's time to go back to the drawing board.

Raiders report card: Grades for offense, defense in 42-21 loss to Titans

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USATSI

Raiders report card: Grades for offense, defense in 42-21 loss to Titans

OAKLAND – The Raiders’ season has taken a major downturn. A team once riding high at 6-4 with a realistic shot to make the postseason had their playoff hopes dashed by Sunday’s 42-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Oakland Coliseum.

Their season will be over soon enough, a fact cemented by the Silver and Black’s third straight blowout loss. Oakland kept it close before falling apart after halftime, much like the Raiders’ entire season. The game had some good moments but ultimately fell flat on its face.

The gas tank’s on empty at this stage, with the Raiders laboring to reach the finish the line. They couldn’t do that in this game, unable to match up with a suddenly high-octane Titans attack.

The Raiders are struggling mightily on offense and defense, without the talent or magic required to make good things happen. Positivity’s hard to find from another blowout loss, a fact reflected in this week’s Raiders report card:

Rushing offense

The Raiders ground game operated without Josh Jacobs for the first time all season despite the rookie dealing with a fractured shoulder since Week 7. He wasn’t able to go on Sunday and the Raiders offense suffered as a result. DeAndre Washington had 53 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in a featured role, with Jalen Richard chipping in 28 yards on seven rushes.

Washington’s 14-yard touchdown run was his best, knocking a defender over on his way to the end zone. The Raiders were down to 4.0 yards per carry, with the run game removed from the offensive equation once the Titans went up big.

Grade: C

Passing offense

Derek Carr’s stat line looks nice, but completing 25-of-34 passes for 263 yards, two touchdowns and no picks doesn’t reflect issues with this passing game. Receivers aren’t threatening, with Tyrell Williams and Zay Jones lacking chemistry with Carr. It’s uncertain who Carr truly trusts outside tight ends Darren Waller, Foster Moreau and his running backs.

There isn’t enough separation. The ball’s too often thrown short of the sticks. The air attack isn’t going well and hasn’t been in some time. Take away Rico Gafford’s 49-yard touchdown catch and there wasn’t much there.

Carr said life got harder in the second half after Tennessee started playing deeper, refusing to get beat by big plays. The Raiders couldn’t move the chains consistently enough to sustain drives or productivity required to beat the steadily churning Titans attack.

Grade: C-minus

Rushing defense

The Raiders got a heavy dose of Derrick Henry on Sunday afternoon, just as they expected. The imposing back churned out 103 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, rushing totals that could’ve been sky high had his attempts soared. That wasn’t necessary considering how well the passing game was going, and that quarterback Ryan Tannehill was able to scramble for yards as well.

The Raiders normally sport a strong run defense, but this tired front struggled against a big back who never seems to wear down.

Grade: D

Passing defense

Tannehill carved up the Raiders pass defense, taking whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. Daryl Worley couldn’t cover A.J. Brown, with the receiver torching the Raiders to the tune of five catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns. The pass rush impacting the team’s three-game winning streak has gone quiet, unable to generate much heat and help the secondary out.

Tannehill was near perfect, completing 21-of-27 passes for 391 yards – that’s 14.5 yards per attempt!! – three touchdowns and a 140.4 passer rating.

Grade: F

Special teams

Richard took over returning kickoffs and punts after Trevor Davis got cut earlier this week and the Raiders did just fine. A.J. Cole put four of his five punts inside the 20-yard line. The Raiders generally won the battle for field position, though their offense didn’t always do something with it.

Grade: B

[RELATED: Gruden wasn't mad about Carr's late throwaway]

Overall

The Raiders were shocked to turn in such a terrible second-half performance with so much on the line. They understood this game’s playoff implications. They understand this was a must-win and couldn’t do anything to stop a superior opponent. They kept up for a while but were eventually overwhelmed by Tennessee’s relentless attack. The Raiders are playing some bad football right now. It’s too bad the home crowd had to see it.

Grade: F

Derek Carr, Raiders' offense hear boo birds as downward slide continues

Derek Carr, Raiders' offense hear boo birds as downward slide continues

OAKLAND – The Raiders' offense was humming to start Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans. They found end zones on three of four first-half drives, and entered the halftime break with the score tied at 21.

Then, the wheels came off. The offense never scored during a disastrous second half that featured four punts, a lost fumble and a turnover on downs following a fourth-and-goal throwaway. Things never got better in another terrible result, ending with a 42-21 loss to the Titans at Oakland Coliseum.

The tide turned in the third quarter, after consecutive, fruitless three-and-outs. After the second one, boo birds came out. They were chirping a bit before that, but the Oakland crowd voiced displeasure in unison. Fans were frustrated with the offense and seemed bothered most by quarterback Derek Carr’s play at that point.

They didn’t like the optics of the Raidres QB tossing a pass out of bounds on fourth down, even with time winding down and the game out of reach.

Home fans have booed Carr before. They can be short-tempered, especially when things aren’t going right.

But Carr put the boos in perspective and didn’t take them personally after a third-straight blowout loss.

“It’s happened before. You play here long enough and that will occur,” Carr said after the game. “We have a rowdy group and that’s why we love them. They’re passionate, and they just want to win. It’s just like family. Even when they’re mad at you, they still want to hug you. They still want you to do well. I understand that frustration. I think I showed some emotion, too. I don’t think anything of it. It has happened for six years.”

Carr’s final line looks pretty nice. He completed 25-of-34 passes for 263 yards, two touchdowns and no picks, good for a 115.2 passer rating. The outcome and second-half fade didn’t feel quite as good, but the Raiders were proud of their quarterback’s effort in a third consecutive blowout loss.

“I think he played really well today, Carr did, given what’s going on around him,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “I think there’s a big story there. At least we recognize it. We’re really proud of the way he’s competing and performing with all the moving pieces.”

Gruden is referring to the offensive injuries piling up over the last few weeks, with a list of key players sidelined for Sunday’s game. Running back Josh Jacobs finally succumbed to a shoulder injury after playing through it since Week 7. Right tackle Trent Brown is down with a pectoral injury. Receiver Hunter Renfrow is down another game, at least, with rib injuries and a punctured lung. Foster Moreau suffered a knee injury Sunday and might be done for the year. That’s another huge blow to the offense, and it’s surely impacting execution and an ability to sustain drives.

Carr didn’t want to hear that and didn’t want injury setbacks to excuse poor play.

“This game is next man up,” Carr said. “Nobody cares about our situation. Nobody cares who is playing. Nobody cares who has been here, who has not been here. The people who have played this position, played that. I have learned that in my six years. Nobody cares. We didn’t win the football game and it is what it is.”

[RELATED: Raiders unlikely to find any answers after another ugly home loss]

The Raiders haven’t won since Nov. 17, when they beat the Bengals at home. They have been outscored 116-33 since. It sure seems like the Raiders have run out of gas down the stretch, unable to perform to earlier levels due to attrition and lack of execution. They can look good in spurts – take the first half against Tennessee for example – but can’t sustain it.

The Raiders have struggled on both sides of the ball and have hit a rough patch that they might not leave before the season is out.

“We’re a tight football team that is competing hard,” Gruden said. “We’re missing some of the players that helped us win those three straight games. The Golden State Warriors are going through a similar process. It’s not as easy to win when you’re not playing with your frontline guys. It works out for the development of some young players, but it’s on me. It’s my responsibility to fix it and it certainly doesn’t look good the last few weeks.”