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Blowout loss again shows Raiders just aren’t good enough


It’s true that he extended the play with his feet, that when Derek Carr saw nothing from the pocket, he scrambled right to afford himself more time.

One play in a 42-21 Raiders loss when just 3:41 remained in Sunday’s game certainly can’t be described as a turning point or, really, much of anything.

But it sure can put into perspective what a season has become.

Which is to say lost.

Carr chose to throw the ball away on fourth-and-goal from the Tennessee 1 in that instant —the Raiders quarterback not even trying to force an attempt into coverage and hope (pray?) for at least a defensive penalty — and aptly defined what was the team’s third consecutive defeat.

The Raiders fell this time to a streaking Titans team before an unhappy crowd of 52,760 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, where boos rained down from the rickety old mausoleum that will host the franchise for the final time against Jacksonville next Sunday.

How the fans react during the final home game before the Raiders officially relocate to Las Vegas is anyone’s guess, but there was no question as to the level of their distaste in this latest debacle.

Deservedly so.

A newborn’s blanket isn’t softer than the Raiders were defensively.

“Nobody gives a (bleep) about excuses,” said linebacker Tahir Whitehead. “We’re expected to execute and didn’t.”

It took about two months for most to surmise the Raiders could actually make a playoff push this season, likely not in the image of the AFC West champion but as a wild-card entry.

It took three weeks to prove that notion altogether senseless and absurd.

They have been outscored 116-33 during this forgettable three-game stretch and have fallen far enough out of the playoff picture to where I’m not sure they could see it with even the most powerful of telescopes.

“I’m shocked,” said offensive lineman Richie Incognito. “We got home after the long (five-game) road trip and won three in a row, where we weren’t playing our best but still winning. But then we go to New York and get exposed by the Jets, and then Kansas City jumps on us last week and now this. I’m shocked we’re in this position.”

There are two options available now for how to evaluate the Raiders in 2019, one clearly displayed in the blowout loss Sunday and another more long-term view.

The short of it is, they haven’t been very good for a while, and that’s reaching back to wins against the likes of Detroit and Cincinnati. They also beat the Chargers, but that was more about Philip Rivers playing like he was 65.

But the Raiders also have been hit with a string of injuries on both sides of the ball that should be considered severe even for the violent nature that is the NFL.

Every team is hurt in some manner at this point.

The Raiders are an emergency room on New Year’s Eve.

“Nobody cares,” Carr said. “This is a game of next man up. Nobody cares about the situation. Nobody cares who is playing. Nobody cares who has been there or not been there. Nobody cares. We didn’t win the football game, and it is what it is. Nobody cares.”

Gruden cares

Coach Jon Gruden is correct when he says the Raiders are building, and there has been enough promise from rookies at key spots to believe the initial Las Vegas team should be a better version from the present one.

The Raiders won four games last season and have six this year with three remaining. That’s progress overall.

It’s just difficult to imagine much of anything good in the moment, not with how the past three weeks transpired.

Carr said he ran through all his options on that fourth-and-goal play before ditching the ball out of bounds with 3:41 left, that he had seven defensive backs looking for him to throw their way.

Gruden said his quarterback exhausted the play and it wasn’t like he “aborted the ball.”

Sure it was.

Why not force it there?

What is there to lose?

It wasn’t a turning point and certainly wouldn’t have made any difference in the outcome, but the mere appearance of it was an unfavorable impression of Carr as a team leader.

More than anything else, it put into perspective what the season has become.

Improving the overall brand.

And yet not near good enough.

More Raiders: Follow at vegasnation.com and @VegasNation on Twitter.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

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