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CARR’S RETURN

 

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Carr’s return not enough to spark struggling Raiders offense
By JOSH DUBOW, AP Pro Football Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — On Derek Carr’s first throw of the game, Michael Crabtree stopped his pattern short and Carr’s pass was intercepted . The Oakland Raiders then squandered a scoring chance when Carr led Marshawn Lynch too far, leading to a tipped interception.
An offense that was so potent and efficient last year has struggled during a four-game losing streak. Even Carr’s return from injury couldn’t provide the spark the Raiders needed in a 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
“I’m really frustrated,” Carr said. “We work way too hard for that kind of stuff to happen. That’s an easy catch, that’s an easy play if I do the right thing, if our players do the right thing. That should be an easy play.”
Right now, nothing is coming easy for the Raiders (2-4) on offense despite having one of the game’s top young quarterbacks in Carr, a stout offensive line, a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Crabtree and Amari Cooper, and a power back in Lynch.
Despite all those options, along with newcomers Jared Cook and Cordarrelle Patterson, the Raiders have failed to top 17 points or 300 yards of offense during four straight losses for just the third time in the past 54 seasons.
“Just because you have weapons doesn’t mean anything,” Cook said. “We have to go out there and execute. It doesn’t matter who you have out there on the field. We have to go out and execute and that’s on us.”
The Raiders had been hoping Carr’s return would change their fortunes. He struggled at the start of this skid, losing to Washington and getting knocked out in the third quarter of a loss the following week in Denver. E.J. Manuel started last week’s loss to Baltimore .
But Carr didn’t look anything like the quarterback who led the Raiders to 12 wins a year ago before going down with a season-ending broken leg in the second-to-last game.
He completed 21 of 30 passes against the Chargers but almost everything was short, and he ended up with just 171 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions on miscommunications with receivers.
Carr has struggled to get the ball downfield all season in new coordinator Todd Downing’s offense, and his only completion of more than 15 yards this game came on a 23-yard TD pass to Crabtree in the first quarter.
“I’m responsible for everything,” Carr said. “I will always be that way. I want every bit of stress off the head coach, our coordinator, my teammates. … It doesn’t matter what people say — good or bad. I’m going to be the same. That’s why it is my fault. At the end of the day, we’re out there on the field. I feel like I can do something better.”
Even with Carr off his game, the Raiders still had their chances to win. A high snap by Jon Condo on an extra point led to a miss by Giorgio Tavecchio that cost Oakland a valuable point in the fourth quarter.
Then protecting a two-point lead, the Raiders took possession with 6:08 remaining. But that drive was hurt by an illegal formation on the first play that wiped out a 19-yard gain to Cooper. Carr threw an incomplete pass on second down and then came up 2 yards short on a third-down play.
Marquette King then pinned the Chargers back at the 8 with a 58-yard punt. But Oakland allowed two long completions to tight end Hunter Henry and was unable to stop Melvin Gordon on a third-down run that allowed Los Angeles to run down the clock before Nick Novak kicked the winning 32-yard field goal on the final play.
“They ran exactly the plays that we know they run. Including the tight end. Literally calling out the play on that,” Del Rio said. “Guys that are responsible for that have to make the play. It’s unfortunate that we let the back get out a little bit, that we let the tight end get out a little bit. In most cases, it was stuff we prepared for and repped.”
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