LAS VEGAS (AP) — A few weeks ago, Derek Carr stood up at the podium after a lopsided loss and proclaimed that this year's version of the Raiders would be different and could avoid another collapse in the second half of the season.
After the Raiders fell to Washington 17-15 on Sunday for their fourth loss in five games to deal a big blow to their dwindling playoff hopes, Carr was far less optimistic.
Another game plagued by slow starts on offense and an inability to finish drives with touchdowns have taken a big toll on the Raiders (6-6).
“That’s frustrating. You know because you try to emphasize, you try to fix it, and you go and it doesn’t happen,” Carr said. “It happens one time, and it doesn’t happen every time. Each play tells its own story. It’s frustrating, I wish I could stand up here and break down the whole thing. ... To answer your question, it is frustrating that you emphasize something, it looks good one week, then the other week, and then it’s not. We just got to keep working.”
After a promising start to the season with a 5-2 record, the Raiders have fallen apart since the bye week as the resignation of coach Jon Gruden following the publication of his offensive emails and the release of receiver Henry Ruggs III following a fatal DUI crash have taken a toll.
Las Vegas has scored 16 points of fewer six times in the past nine games, losing all of them as the offense has struggled. The Raiders settled for field goals twice after getting to the Washington 20 or closer, giving them a league-high 43 field goals from inside 40 yards the past two seasons.
“I think it’s a mindset," running back Josh Jacobs said. "I think we kind of just coast a little too much. It’s definitely frustrating.”
It's a similar pattern to the past two seasons when the Raiders lost five of the final six games in 2019 following a 6-4 start and five of the final seven games last season after a 6-3 start to the season.
“You want to talk about highs and lows of the season, the highs have been pretty good and the lows have been really low,” interim coach Rich Bisaccia said. “Humanistically the lows have been really low and then professionally on the grass the lows have been low. But again, if you’re results oriented all the time then you’re just looking at the scoreboard spending your life up there. There’s a process to what we try and do and there’s a process to improving every day.”
Passes to Hunter Renfrow. The one bright spot offensively for the Raiders most of the season has been the play of Renfrow in the passing game. He had a career-high nine passes on 10 targets for 102 yards, giving him back-to-back games with at least 100 yards receiving for the second straight week. Carr has a 111.1 rating when targeting Renfrow this season.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Starts to game. The Raiders were held scoreless in the first quarter for the fifth time this season and didn't get their first points until a field goal in the closing seconds of the first half. Las Vegas has been outscored by 30 points in the first quarter, fifth worst in the NFL.
Nate Hobbs. The rookie cornerback made the biggest defensive play when he intercepted Taylor Heinicke in the fourth quarter to help set up a go-ahead field goal. Hobbs had nine tackles for the game, including one for a loss.
Tre'von Moehrig. Las Vegas' other rookie starter in the secondary had a chance to seal the game on the final drive when he was in position for an interception. But he dropped the ball and Washington took advantage by moving the ball 9 yards on the next two plays to set up Brian Johnson's game-winning 48-yard field goal.
RB Kenyan Drake will travel to Alabama for season-ending ankle surgery after getting hurt Sunday. ... LB Denzel Perryman (ankle), LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle) and LB Cory Littleton (stinger) are all day to day. ... TE Darren Waller, LB Patrick Onwuasor and CB Trayvon Mullen could all return this week.
4.3. Carr's average completion traveled only 4.3 yards downfield as he settled for check downs several times, especially early in the game. The Raiders have had much more success this season when Carr has pushed the ball down the field, with the average completion going 7.7 yards downfield in wins and just 4.9 in losses.
The Raiders visit Kansas City on Sunday.
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