Carr Returns, But Oakland Raiders’ Losing Skid Continues

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) scores on a 23-yard reception in the first quarter of the team’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 15, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Jameel Pugh)

OAKLAND, Calif. — Despite suffering a transverse fracture in his back two weeks ago, quarterback Derek Carr returned to action for the Oakland Raiders against the Los Angeles Chargers. But his presence on the field wasn’t enough to halt a losing streak.

The Raiders dropped their fourth-straight loss after Nick Novak kicked a 32-yard field goal with three seconds left to play to give the Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) a 17-16 win.

Trailing by two points, the Chargers worked the clock for the last four minutes and nine seconds to seal the victory. Now the Raiders (2-4) will have to face the Kansas City Chiefs this Thursday, Oct. 19, in Oakland.

“It’s tough right now. I’m not gonna lie. I’m pretty pissed off right now and I know all the guys are (too),” said Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn after the game. “But the good thing is, man, we get to play on Thursday. So, I don’t have to soak in it too long. It’s probably the only positive I can take out of it. We gotta hurry up and get this stuff fixed.”

Carr completed 21 of 30 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown for the Raiders. He also had one fumble. Carr returned from a one-game absence, which left backup quarterback E.J. Manuel at the helm. Michael Crabtree was the recipient of Carr’s only TD toss in the first quarter.

The Raiders had five costly penalties, including an illegal formation miscue at the 6:08 mark of the fourth quarter. For that mistake, a 19-yard catch by Amari Cooper was called back and effectively put the brakes on the team’s momentum.

Oakland couldn’t get anything going and ended up punting the ball away. The Raiders never saw the football again as the Chargers took over, forced Oakland to use all of its timeouts, and the kicked the deciding field goal to close out the game.

“The offense put us in position. So that’s all on them,” Novak said of the Chargers’ ability to melt the clock and put him in place, at the right time, to kick the winning field goal. “It’s an incredible win anytime you get the opportunity to play the Raiders and get a win. We made all the right plays.”

One thing is for sure, the Raiders will refer back to videotape to evaluate their mistakes on the field. Every time the Raiders made a big play, the officials’ whistle blew to reveal the team’s misjudgments.

Carr’s first pass of the game was an interception to Chargers’ cornerback Trevor Wilson in the first quarter. But he came back during the next offensive series to throw a 23-yard TD to Crabtree to put the Raiders up 7-0.

Carr, who also fumbled the football in the second quarter, was 9-of-14 for 82 yards and one touchdown in the first half. The Raiders led 10-7 at the break.

Carr’s second interception came when the football was reflected off of running back Marshawn Lynch’s grips into the hands of linebacker Hayes Pullard while the Raiders were deep in Chargers territory to open the third quarter.

“I’m not going to lie to you. I’m really frustrated now,” Carr said of the interceptions. “We’ve worked way too hard for that stuff to happen. That’s an easy catch. That’s an easy play if I do the right thing and our players do the right thing. It’s a turnover. That should never happen. We need to lock into every little detail.”

The Chargers took the lead 14-10 when Rivers found Melvin Gordon for a 6-yard TD strike with 10:19 left in the fourth quarter. Cordarrelle Patterson gave the lead back to the Raiders on a 47-yard run with 8:01 left to play. But Giorgio Tavecchio missed the extra point, which served as another failed opportunity for the Raiders.

“We had our chances,” said Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio. “You get your chances and you have to live with the results. They (the Chargers) milked it and they won the game.”

Rivers completed 25 of 36 passes for 268 yards and one TD for the Chargers, who have won two straight games after losing their first four games of the season. Gordon ran for 83 yards on 25 attempts and scored from the one-yard line in the second quarter. He also had nine catches for 67 yards and a TD.

Marshawn Lynch carried the football 13 times for 63 yards and Crabtree caught six passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Patterson had three attempts running for 55 yards, including the 47-yard sprint for a score in the second half.

The Raiders will take on a Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) team that lost its first game of the season on Sunday, falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 19-13. Del Rio said it plain and simple when asked if the Raiders were good as or better than their current record.

“I believe you get what you earn,” Del Rio said. “That’s what we’ve earned so far.”

RAIDERS DONATE $1 MILLION FOR NORTH BAY FIRE AND RECOVERY

The Raiders pledged $1 million to the relief and recovery efforts for those affected by destructive wildfires in the North Bay. The funding will be facilitated by American Red Cross.

Firefighters from across California and neighboring states are working feverishly to contain the fires that have resulted in multiple casualties and destroyed thousands of structures.

The North Bay fires, which started Sunday, Oct. 8, are some of the most devastating wildfires in California history. The Raiders asked fans to make donations at www.redcross.org/raiders-pub.
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By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer