weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Even before Derek Carr went down, Raiders offense was again offensive

Updated October 1, 2017 - 8:39 pm

DENVER — Long before the $125 million quarterback took off running and was blasted to the point his head twisted and a severe pain shot up his lower back, issues were obvious.

They didn’t just appear out of the thin mountain air at Sports Authority Field on Sunday.

Moving the ball right now is a Mile High problem for the Raiders.

The collected sigh you heard in and around the visitor’s locker room was a direct reflection of what occurred with Derek Carr last season, so even in a 16-10 loss to the Broncos, the Raiders discovered some semblance of positive news.

The back injury suffered by Carr with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter doesn’t appear serious, unlike the broken fibula that cost the team a shot at winning the AFC West and finding any success in a wild-card playoff game last year.

But even before Carr was injured and replaced by fifth-year pro EJ Manuel, the anemic offense that reared its ineffective self in a loss at Washington last week was again struggling like a novice hiker in these parts trying to make that 16-mile trek to Lost Falls.

For two weeks now, the Raiders haven’t run at all, haven’t blocked at all, keep dropping passes and can’t covert to continue drives.

They haven’t done those things a lot of folks are being paid a lot of money to do.

“If you hold people to 16 (points), you should be able to scratch off a win,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “I’m a little disappointed, but I understand this league. After one quarter of (the season), we’re three out of four on the road and 2-2. That’s what we have earned.

“I can’t sit here and tell you who or what the biggest culprit is, so I will take the responsibility. Just put it on me and say the coach says we are going to get it fixed.”

The record might not be surprising given life on the NFL road isn’t an easy task for anyone, but how it has been delivered is.

Any and every preseason storyline about the Raiders pretty much went along these lines: The team will go only as far as a questionable defense takes it, because the offense is as good as the league knows.

That explosive side rushed for 24 yards Sunday.


It’s now 2-for-23 on third down the last two weeks.

Carr combined to throw for just 20 yards in first quarters at Washington and Denver.

Amari Cooper, who had two catches for 9 yards Sunday, has an NFL-leading seven drops through four games.

Marshawn Lynch in two defeats: 15 carries, 30 yards.

O-line is struggling

“I’m pissed,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “We have to get things fixed. It just sucks, man. Losing two in a row. You’re going to ask me why, but I can’t sum it up for you right now. We have to figure out a way to get stuff going. We’re not doing our jobs. I’m concerned. The defense is playing their butts off. Hats off to them, but we’ve got to step up. Woulda-shoulda-coulda gets get you an ‘L.’ That’s what we got.”

It’s true Denver is one of the league’s best defenses and the Raiders were without wide receiver Michael Crabtree, out with a chest injury suffered against the Redskins. The Broncos are holding opposing No. 1 running backs to 1.9 yards per carry. Nobody has run against them.

But the hype about a Raiders offensive line that many believe ranks second to Dallas in the NFL has absolutely been tempered. Everyone can play better on offense, but the things that need fixing better begin with the biggest bodies.

A key moment Sunday: Trailing 10-0 from the Denver 31 with 9:05 remaining in the second quarter, the Raiders went on fourth-and-1 instead of attempting a Giorgio Tavecchio field goal.

Lynch ran straight behind that vaunted line.

No gain. No points.

There is also this: Carr has been sacked 10 times this season, six in the last two weeks.

He went down 16 times all last year.

If there is a recipe for improvement, it might be found in the fact the Raiders now return home, where they will play three games (against Baltimore, the Chargers and Kansas City) over an 11-day span.

It’s not yet panic time, but chasing in the NFL can get dicey when teams like the Chiefs and Broncos look as good as they have early on.

“We just need to keep going,” Carr said. “We aren’t going to stress out or anything like that. The little details are lacking for us right now. We are just little details away from making big, big plays. We’re really close, but we have a lot of work to do.”

It’s sort of how the exhausted hiker feels on mile 9 en route to Lost Falls.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas 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 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the latest Raiders news. Like our Vegas Nation page
Raiders Videos
How The Raiders Can Beat The Titans | Vegas Nation Red Zone
The Raiders will face off against the Tennessee Titans at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday. Sports Columnist Ed Graney and Vegas Nation Red Zone host Heidi Fang go over the matchup and how the Raiders need to keep quarterback Ryan Tannehill in check.
Roger Goodell tours Allegiant Stadium
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell toured $2 billion Allegiant Stadium and called Las Vegas a "Super Bowl city" on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019.
Josh Jacobs Questionable for Sunday Against Titans - VIDEO
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden announced on Friday that rookie running back Josh Jacobs would be listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.
Raiders Tackle Trent Brown Out Against Titans - VIDEO
Raiders offensive tackle Trent Brown will not play in Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans. Brandon Parker will be replacing him due to David Sharpe dealing with a calf injury.
Raiders Managing Jacobs' Shoulder Injury Throughout The Week - VIDEO
The Raiders are monitoring rookie running back Josh Jacobs' shoulder injury to make sure he is good-to-go for their game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. They'll also have to figure out how to stop the Titans high powered offense with Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry on the other side of the ball. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Deshone Kizer Moves Up Raiders Depth Chart - VIDEO
Raiders quarterback Deshone Kizer moved up the depth chart Thursday replacing Mike Glennon as Derek Carr's backup going forward. On defense the Raiders are preparing to take on the Titans' tank of a running back in Derrick Henry.
After Losing Two on the Road, Raiders Hope To Continue Home Win Streak - VIDEO
The Raiders are 4-1 at home this season and looking to add on to their three-game win streak at home after two blowout losses on the road in previous weeks.The Raiders are also hopeful to get rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow back for the last two games of the season. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders AFC Wildcard Ranking on the Line Against Titans - VIDEO
The Tennessee Titans are ranked above the Raiders in the AFC Wildcard standings and with a win this Sunday the team will put themselves in a better position for post season play.
Raiders Henderson Headquarters Tour Update - Video
The Raiders Henderson headquarters is set to open sometime in June, just a month before Allegiant Stadium's opening date. The Las Vegas Review-Journal was given a tour of the future Las Vegas Raiders' home and practice facilities.
Raiders Headquarters In Henderson Name Officially Revealed - Video
The Raiders practice facility and headquarters in Henderson had its name officially revealed. Intermountain Healthcare will have the naming rights for the facility. Cassie Soto and Mick Akers break down the new business deal with the Raiders.
Raiders Have to Correct Miscues For A Shot at Postseason Play - VIDEO
There is a lot the Raiders have to correct heading into the final stretch of the season if they want to have a shot at a wild card spot. They can begin to right the ship this Sunday when they take on the Tennessee Titans in one of their final games in Oakland. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders won't win AFC West, Playoff Hopes Still Alive - VIDEO
With their loss to the Chiefs, the Raiders wont win the AFC West, however a shot at a wildcard slot is still in the picture if they can regroup down the stretch. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Continue to Struggle, Lose to Chiefs 40-9 - VIDEO
With AFC West supremacy on the line the Raiders took a huge loss to Patrick Mahomes as the Kansas City Chiefs losing 40-9. Turnovers and Penalties were a big factor as quarterback Derek Carr was unable to shake his demons in the cold.
Raiders say they have to learn from their mistakes after Chiefs loss - VIDEO
The Raiders fell to the Chiefs, 40-9, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Following the loss, players said they have to learn from their mistakes, but are proud that the team kept fighting until the end. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation Raiders-Chiefs preview - Video
The Raiders finish their 2-game road trip facing their AFC West rival, the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. Vegas Nation's Myles Simmons and Vinny Bonsignore preview the game, explain what the Raiders need to do to win and what it means for the team's playoff hopes. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Have To Limit Explosive Plays With AFC West Supremacy On The Line - VIDEO
If the Raiders hope to take first place in the AFC West Standings this Sunday, they'll have to limit the big plays from a very explosive Chiefs offense led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LaMarcus Joyner Active, Trent Brown Questionable for Sunday - VIDEO
Raiders defensive back LaMarcus Joyner will be active on Sunday after missing a few games due to a groin injury however offensive tackle Trent Brown will be listed as questionable.
Raiders Hope Gafford and Jones Can Fill In For Renfrow - VIDEO
The Raiders promoted wide receiver Rico Gafford from the practice squad this week to help fill in the role vacated by the injured Hunter Renfrow. Defensively, they're hoping to limit big plays from an explosive Chiefs offense. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cold Weather Practice Aids In Preparation for Raiders - VIDEO
The Raiders have a huge test in Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium where it is sure to be a cold game. Quarterback Derek Carr went sleeveless at practice despite the cold temperature.
Raiders look to rebound against the Chiefs | Vegas Nation Red Zone
The Raiders saw a 3-game win streak snapped by the New York Jets and will go into face division rival Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney and Vegas Nation podcast host Heidi Fang break down what the Raiders can do to rebound into the win column.
Raiders Can Break a Streak and Earn Division Supremacy Sunday - VIDEO
The Raiders have not won at Arrowhead stadium since 2012. This Sunday they're looking to bring home a win and supremacy in the AFC West standings.
Raiders Prepare for Chiefs After Tough Jets Loss - VIDEO
After suffering a blowout loss against the Jets, the Raiders look towards a rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs who are coming off a bye week. Chiefs coach Andy Reid is 17-3 following a bye.
Raiders, UNLV in Dispute Over Football Schedule - Video
UNLV might have to send out invitations to its former football players for another Sam Boyd Stadium send-off again next season. The Rebels were expected to move into Allegiant Stadium full time next season, but a dispute with the Raiders might force UNLV’s games against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 5 and Arizona State on Sept. 12 to be played at Sam Boyd.
Allegiant Stadium Cable Netting Finish Date Pushed Back - Video
The completion date of the cable netting that will support Allegiant Stadium's roof has been pushed back for a second time. COO Don Webb says that the cable netting is not on the "critical path," so a hard-set completion date is not necessary.
Tailgating Won’t Be Problem at Allegiant Stadium - Video
Raiders fans will not need to worry about places to tailgate, as plans are in motion to provide as many places as possible for fans to enjoy pre-game festivities.
Allegiant Stadium Will Be Home to Largest 3D Printed Structure in the World - Video
Allegiant Stadium will not only be home to the future Las Vegas Raiders, but it will also be home to the largest 3D printed structure in the world. The 85-foot tall Al Davis Memorial Torch is currently being printed in Kansas and will be made out of carbon fiber and aluminum.
Hunter Renfrow Suffered Rib Injury In Loss To Jets - VIDEO
Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow suffered an injury to his ribs in the teams loss to the Jets. Keelan Doss and Derek Carrier are among the options to replace Renfrow as the team prepares for the Kansas City Chiefs. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Winning Streak Snapped After Losing to the Jets 34-3 - VIDEO
After winning three straight at home, the Raiders traveled to take on the New York Jets where they were humbled 34-3.
Raiders say they will bounce back from loss to Jets - Video
Raiders' players say they will bounce back from their loss to Jets when they head in to face division rival Kansas City Chiefs next week. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Disappointed After Blowout Loss To The Jets - VIDEO
The Raiders lost 34-3 to the New York Jets on Sunday snapping a 3 game winning streak and bringing their record to 6-5. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Fall Flat Against Jets, 34-3 - Video
The Raiders were unable to score a touchdown against the Jets on Sunday afternoon, falling 34-3 in New York. The Raiders are now 6-5 on the season.
Personal seat licenses for Raiders almost sold out - VIDEO
Personal seat license sales (PSL) for the $2 billion 65,000 fan-capacity domed Allegiant Stadium are about 96 percent sold, with the sales process expected to wrap up by Thanksgiving. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Spend $28 Million on new parking areas - VIDEO
The Raiders have spent $28 million on new parking locations on Valley View Boulevard between Reno and Tropicana avenues. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)