3 and out: Carr breaks down as Raiders outmuscled in Denver

The Oakland Raiders lost ground in the race for the AFC West as they were edged out in a real arm wrestle of a game by divisional foes the Denver Broncos. More concerning than the loss though, was an injury to star QB Derek Carr…

Carr injury woes

In a defeat for the Raiders that had plenty of positives to take from it, the one big worry is that the back injury suffered by Derek Carr is a fatal blow to their season after only four games. Head coach Jack Del Rio said after the game in Denver that after an x-ray it was only back spasms and that Carr hoped he would play next week against the New York Jets.

When Carr broke his leg on Christmas eve, the Raiders went from being certain of a play off spot to losing the the wildcard round game to the Houston Texans. Ironically, the offence approved against the Broncos when Carr was replaced by EJ Manuel. The former Buffalo Bill completed his first 8 passes and was on course for a game winning drive before being intercepted with two minutes to go.

It is very doubtful that he would be a long term solution so it’s in the interest of Oakland that Carr gets back fit soon.

Return of the Mack

Khalil Mack’s ascension to a top Raiders performer came in a win away at the Broncos two years ago when he sacked Brock Osweiler five times. The Raiders defence garnered a lot of criticism last year as they battled in close games that should have been won long before they were. However, it was the defence that kept them in this contest when Denver should have been over the hill and far away.

Key to that was Mack as he sacked Trevor Siemian twice and had a sack fumble overturned on review. The quarterbacks knee had hit the ground just before he ripped the ball out. The Broncos scored a field goal instead of Oakland getting the turnover.

If the original call had stood, Oakland would have been chasing a field goal on the final drive needing three points to win the game instead of 7. This shows how important Mack is to an ever improving defence.

Run game doesn’t get off the ground

It was a struggle the whole game for Oakland to get anything going on the ground. This was predictable due to the Broncos having the best run defence in the league. The running backs, specifically Marshawn Lynch couldn’t get into the game.

It was the main failing of the offence and it put more pressure on the quarter back to find Amari Cooper. This wasn’t helped with Michael Crabtree being ruled inactive before the game.

When there is a lack of quality out wide, more emphasis is placed on the running game which has now failed two weeks running. This needs instant improvement going forward.

A gameball for…

Khalil Mack – The defensive end kept his offence in with a chance of snatching the game late on with a brilliant performance.

Robert O’Reardon

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