Derek Carr Raiders

Reviewing Raiders’ Passing Game Following Playoff Exit

In the Las Vegas Raiders’ first playoff game since 2016, they failed to deliver a win. As is usually the case, Derek Carr had the ball at the end with the chance to win. Take a look at the Raiders’ passing game as a whole below. 

Derek Carr Got His Chance

After missing the Raiders’ playoff game in 2016, Carr finally got his chance on Saturday. After a season of personal bests and come-from-behind wins, the Raiders trusted Carr to lead them to a win in this one. He finished the game with a stat line that reads 29 for 54 for 310 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The attempts were his second-most of the season, while the yards were his seventh-best.

Many moments in this game simply didn’t bounce Carr’s way. First, it was the drops. Simply, his receivers let him down at times in this one. Early in the second quarter, DeSean Jackson ran a whip route that likely would have scored, but he instead dropped it, and the Raiders had to settle for just three.

Renfrow also had an uncharacteristic drop on a crucial third down that would lead to a punt. Both of these were massive plays that would have shifted the momentum of the game. He connected with star tight end Darren Waller, but their connection did not appear to be as dynamic as usual either. Likely still rehabbing from his injury, Waller seemed to be knocking the rust off.

However, Carr did have some bright moments in this one. The first was the touchdown pass to Zay Jones before the half. Trailing 20-6, the Raiders were in dire need of a touchdown to make the game close as the Bengals would receive the football at the start of the second half.

The Raiders ran what appears to be a variation of “double post” and Carr made a rocket of a throw to Jones in the endzone. This made it 20-13 going into halftime and gave the Raiders some momentum. The next rocket came on the third-and-17 completion to Darren Waller. On the final drive of the game, as the Raiders were looking to tie it, he threw a strike over the middle of the field to convert and keep the Raiders alive. Given the context of the situation and the difficulty of the throw, it may have been the best of his career.

Couldn’t get it done

Fourth-quarter comebacks have long been the story of Carr’s career. As such, many Raiders fans likely felt confident that No. 4 would give them a chance at the end. But alas, while he did give them a chance, there simply weren’t enough bullets in the gun. Much of this was not Carr’s fault, as it often isn’t, but more so Greg Olson’s. In a “got to have it” scenario with the playoffs on the line, Olson dialed up a play where none of Vegas’s best targets even entered the endzone. So, while Carr did force a bad pass to Jones that led to an interception, he did not have many options.

All in all, the Raiders’ 2021 season ended in poetic fashion. Carr forces a pass on a terrible Olson play call as the Raiders fail to score in the red zone. While the 2021 Raiders’ passing offense was exciting at times in 2021, rarely was it truly good. Expect changes all over the offense this offseason. The Raiders will do this looking to bolster what should be a strength of the team.

*Top Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

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