OAKLAND–Derek Carr didn’t even have to play on Sunday.
The Raiders’ quarterback could have sat on the sidelines, nursed an ailing back injury that was expected to keep him out another month, and heal up for the stretch run.
But with Oakland in crisis mode, Carr suited up and started for a Raiders’ offense that managed just 16 points in a devastating loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Carr finished 21-of-30 for 171 yards, but he threw two costly interceptions that stalled Oakland drives.
While his turnovers didn’t lead directly to Chargers’ points, Carr’s ineffectiveness was a troubling sign for a Raiders’ offense that’s looked out of sorts over the last several weeks. After Sunday’s performance, Carr described Oakland’s struggles, and said that he’ll take every last bit of blame to go around for a Raiders’ team that expected to compete for an AFC title and is now sitting in last place in the AFC West.
“At the end of the day, this is my fault,” Carr said. “It’s not my players’ fault, it’s not my teammates’ fault, this is all on me. So I have to get it right. I am the one that has to somehow make it click better. Maybe I can talk to them better. Maybe I can explain things better what we expect. Whatever it is. But they are going to go as I go, so it’s all my fault. I’ve got to figure out a way to help communicate what we need.”
A season after finishing 12-4 and sharing the AFC West title, Oakland is in free fall and will carry a four-game losing streak into Thursday evening’s showdown with the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs.
After another lackluster offensive performance, there’s speculation that first-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing could be on the hot seat, especially considering the Raiders have now scored fewer than 20 points in four consecutive games. However, when Carr stood at the podium early Sunday evening, he expressed confidence in Downing’s play-calling abilities, and said that he’ll take any blame that’s being placed on his coach.
“Anytime it has to do with a coach, they’re always going to take all of the blame,” Carr said. “But the players are mine. They are. Those are my guys. I’m responsible for everything. I will always be that way. I want every bit of stress off the head coach, off our coordinator, off my teammates. You guys know me well enough, it doesn’t matter what happens or 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.”