The Ugly – Offense
1. Derek Carr’s forgettable night
Derek Carr’s high quality 2016 season and the team’s performance put Carr in the MVP conversation. However, Thursday night put a big dent in all that.
Carr easily had his worst game of the season. He connected on just 17 of 41 passes for a paltry 117 yards. The sub-3 yards per attempt is putrid.
After leading the Raiders to multiple wins this year, Carr gets a mulligan, to at least some degree. But the performance was not a winning one, and Carr deserves his large share of the blame. He was simply not himself. Was it the pinky? The elements? The Chiefs game plan? The drops? Probably some combination of the above.
The Raiders need Carr to be better in the home stretch and playoffs. Hopefully the 10 days of rest will help his throwing hand be at better health.
2. WRs ugly night
The Raiders’ pass catchers, led by Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, have been a team strength all year. On Thursday, they were a weakness.
Cooper actually led the team with just 5 catches for 29 yards. Coop whiffed on a potential game-changing deep ball that had some force act on the ball as it came down. It was a strange play and certainly game-changing, as Coop had the KC DBs beat for a likely TD. The ball fluttered to the ground untouched.
Seth Roberts was inexplicably targeted 9 times, including the final offensive play of the game on a 4th and 1 fade (huh?) — in those 9 targets he caught just 2 balls for 12 yards. Ugly. Roberts’ drops have been an issue.
Michael Crabtree had just 4 catches for 21 yards, had his own share of drops, and appears to also be dealing with an injured finger.
TEs Clive Walford and Mychal Rivera were generally better than the wide outs, with a combined 5 catches for 47 yards. But, overall, the pass catchers were bad on this night.
3. KO kidney stones
The Raiders’ OL is a huge strength, but on this night, they were missing emotional leader Kelechi Osemele. He missed the game with kidney stones. Ouch.
Without Osemele, perhaps Musgrave felt the Raiders would not be able to run the ball as well. The high pass-run ratio points that direction. However, the run game was much stronger than the pass game despite KO’s absence.
Overall, the line played well. Carr was sacked just one time and the Raiders ran for 135 yards. The OL was not the ugly part, despite missing their most talented player.
4. Murray the lone bright spot
Latavius Murray was the lone bright spot among the skill position players. He ran for 103 yards on 22 carries and popped in a highly contested TD.
The Raiders’ decision to throw fades to Andre Holmes and Roberts on 3rd and 4th and 1 with the game in the balance made no sense with how the game flow was progressing. It should have been Murray plowing for a first down and keeping the game alive.
Overall, despite Murray’s solid game and the fine play from the OL, the passing game was so ugly, the overall team completely stalled. Even when the Raiders secured two straight short fields off turnovers in the 3rd quarter, the offense could only muster 3 points. It was the offense that held down the ship on this day. It must get back to normal to clinch a playoff spot in San Diego Sunday.
Oakland Raiders Week 14 Conclusion
The 2016 Oakland Raiders have been a rollercoaster ride all year. This game was the part of the coaster that causes you to throw up.
The Raiders must now rebound and rally back to, first, guarantee a return to the playoffs and, second, hopefully retake the AFC West from KC. They will need wins and help from others to get that opportunity. The first step is heading to division-rival SD and taking down Rivers and the Bolts.
See you here next week for notes on what is hopefully a return to the win column for the current AFC Wildcard Oakland Raiders.
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