OAKLAND, Calif. — Win or lose, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was going to make his way over to the Black Hole section of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum to say a final goodbye to friends and fans he’s played in front of for the last six years.
With the Raiders playing their last game in Oakland on Sunday, it was the least, Carr said, he could do.
Then everything got awkward.
Not long after the Raiders blew a 10-point lead over the last six minutes to lose a gut-wrenching game to the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-16, Carr made good on his pledge to venture over to one of the most renowned stadium sections in all of sports. Throughout the game he saw some familiar faces, including a youngster he’s seen at a number of games over the years. He wasn’t going to let losing a football game get in the way of doing right by them.
So off Carr went, taking one last run toward the Black Hole.
The boos he was greeted with echoed throughout the stadium. And they were directed right at him.
Carr wasn’t totally to blame for Sunday’s shocking loss. After all, he threw for a respectable 267 yards on 22-of-36 passing with a touchdown and a 93.2 passer rating.
But with the Raiders’ offense pulling another second-half disappearing act in their fourth straight loss, Oakland’s veteran quarterback has become the face of a late-season swoon that has all but removed the Raiders from playoff contention and ruined any chance of a somewhat graceful Bay Area exit on their way to their new home in Las Vegas.
The fans let him have it. And Carr heard every boo. But he wouldn’t let it deter him from saying a proper goodbye. Or at least trying to.
“Oh gosh,” Carr said. “What’s new with our crowd? Trust me, it’s not under my skin, it’s nothing new.”
He tried to shake it off afterward, but it was tough. As badly as he wanted to send the Oakland fans home with one more win, the Raiders didn’t get it done. The responsibility, he said, was on his shoulders.
“I’m still a little emotional about it, like angry about it,” Carr said. “There were a few plays out there we left. But there’s nothing I can say right now that’s going to make anyone feel better.”
Carr’s last two games in Oakland have produced two straight losses and plenty of boos. As an NFL quarterback, he understands the target he wears on his back and the praise or blame that typically comes with it.
“Whenever I’m done playing football, they can get mad at somebody else that’s the quarterback, you know what I mean?” he said, only half-jokingly.
The focus now, he said, is on trying to at least win the Raiders’ last two games to give the fans more positive memories.
“Literally the only thing you can do is watch the film, correct it, work out tomorrow and get ready for the next game,” Carr said. “It’s a sucky thing sometimes, but that’s literally the only thing you can do. So you can sulk or be sad and sit there and complain and point fingers and things like that. But you can point all of the fingers at me, that’s OK.”
Oakland fans did exactly that Sunday. It might not have been completely fair. But that’s how it goes for an NFL quarterback.