As the Oakland defense struggled through the first five weeks of the season, Derek Carr and the offense managed to repeatedly pick the team up and help the Raiders get off to their best start in 14 years.
When Carr and the offense struggled to move the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders had no chance.
Carr committed two turnovers and led the Raiders to just one score after the opening drive and the Chiefs picked apart Oakland’s defense for a 26-10 victory Sunday.
“It hurts man,” Carr said. “We didn’t do good enough at all. That was bad. That was a bad performance by us.”
The Raiders (4-2) entered the game on pace to allow the most yards per play by a team since the 1970 merger, but still managed to be in first place thanks to an offense that always kept them in games.
Carr led second-half comebacks against New Orleans, Baltimore and San Diego, but couldn’t do much of anything against the Chiefs (3-2) after throwing a 3-yard touchdown pass to Andre Holmes on the opening drive of the game.
“I thought we got outcoached and outplayed,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “Take your pick.”
The Raiders managed to score just once on their final nine drives. Carr missed an open Michael Crabtree on a deep pass on the second drive that turned into an interception by Marcus Peters.
Sebastian Janikowski missed a 52-yard field goal the next drive and Oakland was stopped on fourth down when Carr threw incomplete to Seth Roberts the following drive when Del Rio opted against another long field goal.
A 25-second drive for a field goal to end the first half seemed to give the Raiders a lift, but Oakland managed just three punts, one lost fumble and a turnover on downs in a scoreless second half.
Carr finished 22 for 34 for 225 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was hurt by a pair of third-down drops by Seth Roberts and Jalen Richard but wasn’t sharp at all.
After Carr connected nine times with Amari Cooper in the first half, the Chiefs adjusted their defense and limited Cooper to one catch in the second half.
The running game managed just 65 yards on 17 carries with rookies DeAndre Washington and Richard unable to carry the load with Latavius Murray sidelined by a toe injury.
That wasn’t nearly enough to overcome a defense that allowed 183 yards rushing, gave up more than 390 yards of offense (406) for the sixth straight week, and forced just three punts and no turnovers.
“We go over this every week,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said. “It’s the same. I don’t know what else to tell you. Kansas City had a great game plan, hats off to them. They did a lot of window dressing. They did a lot of stuff, disguising stuff to make us believe one thing and they actually did another thing.”
The defensive performance has put heavy pressure on Carr and the offense all season.
Carr downplayed that factor, saying his focus is on each individual drive and play and not on how the defense is playing overall.
“I really don’t have time to think of those kinds of things,” Carr said. “My mindset is so focused on my job. I’m just focused on that so I really don’t think about that.”
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