KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Derek Carr had been pounded enough by the Kansas City Chiefs' dominant defensive front that nobody could blame him for unloading a pass to Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch a bit early Sunday. Well, except for Lynch.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Derek Carr had been pounded enough by the Kansas City Chiefs' dominant defensive front that nobody could blame him for unloading a pass to Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch a bit early Sunday.
Well, except for Lynch.
The pass into the right flat set up Lynch like a golf ball on a tee, and Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson ran right through him with a bone-jarring tackle that perfectly summed up Oakland's day.
"Whenever you get a chance to hit 'Beast Mode' when he's not looking, you better take the shot," Johnson said with a smile. "Carr served him up right there. I'm sure he'll have a talk with Carr after that one, but I had to take my shot."
It's not like Carr didn't take enough shots of his own.
The quarterback with the uncanny ability to unload the ball quickly was dropped three times in the Raiders' 26-15 loss. Things didn't go that well when he managed to get the ball off, either — he was 24 of 41 for 211 yards with a late touchdown pass and two interceptions.
"Just frustrated. With myself," he said. "There's obviously going to be plays you're going to want back, but that's every game. I saw the coverage fine. I was going to certain places with the ball that I thought were right. It was one of those things. At the end of the day it wasn't good enough."
Asked to rate his young franchise quarterback's performance, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was blunt: "He's the triggerman of our offense. The offense didn't get done what we needed to get done."
Carr's performance was even more surprising given the situation.
The Chiefs had been gutted by the lowly New York Jets last week, allowing 331 yards passing to Josh McCown in a 38-31 loss. They had also suspended their top cornerback, Marcus Peters, after a series of embarrassing incidents, including his flag-toss episode in the Meadowlands.
Then there's the fact Carr, who got Michael Crabtree back from suspension, had torched the Chiefs when they met in October. He threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns that afternoon, including the winning score to Crabtree on the final play.
"We had to come in and set the tone," Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said. "The defensive line, the fourth play of the game we got a sack. It was all about affecting the quarterback, because we know he likes to get the ball out fast. And we affected him."
Carr seems to get affected by the Chiefs a lot.
Yes, he dominated their matchup in Oakland this season, but that game has proven to be an exception to the rule. Three of his 12 worst games in terms of QB rating have come against the Chiefs, including a career-worst performance last season, when he was 17 of 41 for 117 yards in a 21-13 defeat.
There was also the game two years ago, when he tossed three second-half picks in a 34-20 loss.
The plucky Carr was still slinging it at the end Sunday, refusing to give up. He threw a late touchdown pass to Jared Cook and converted the 2-point conversion to make it a two-possession game in the closing minutes But his second pick at the goal line ended any comeback effort.
It also may have crippled their season-long comeback effort.
The Raiders had won two straight and three of four to climb back into the AFC West race, but any chance to control their chances went by the wayside at Arrowhead Stadium.
"We've been knowing (this was an elimination game) for a while," Del Rio said. "We've talked plenty about that and we've been asked a lot, because of where we put ourselves. A situation where we've got to win the next one and string together wins and hope it's enough."