After blowing yet another fourth-quarter lead, the 6-9 Las Vegas Raiders’ postseason chances are all but over. The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to come back and win this one to keep their playoff dreams alive, even though it appeared as though the Raiders had the game in hand. Since they only allowed the Steelers to score 13 points, the defense is in no way to blame for this one. The Raiders’ offense, which only managed to score 10 points overall, is solely responsible for this game’s outcome. Let’s name the Raiders’ three biggest duds against the Steelers.
Dud No. 1 For The Raiders: QB Derek Carr
You’d think that Davante Adams’ best friend Derek Carr would get him a victory since it was his birthday on Christmas Eve. The Raiders were unable to win this game because Carr performed poorly, simply put. Carr finished the game with 174 yards on a 53 percent completion rate, a 20.2 QBR, one touchdown, and three interceptions, according to ESPN.
Carr made some great throws in the first half, but he wasn’t consistent. He consistently missed his receivers and did not step up into the pocket to extend plays. Carr’s decline started in the second half, as he ended up throwing three interceptions. The first one wasn’t his fault because it struck his target’s hands, which caused the interception. The next two, though, are unquestionably his. More significantly, the Raiders lost a chance to maybe tie or win the game with the last one. Instead of hitting Hunter Renfrow square on as he raced down the middle of the field, Carr overthrew him, and the Steelers intercepted it. According to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press, Carr had the worst passer rating in the NFL in December with 66.8. Carr is unable to win in the later stages of the season. More importantly, he is what he is in the cold weather, and nothing’s going to change that moving forward.
Dud No. 2 For The Raiders: TE Foster Moreau
Many people, myself included, believed that Foster Moreau was effectively filling in for Darren Waller, but we were mistaken. Since Waller has returned, it’s been clear that he’s the Raiders’ best tight end. Moreau just isn’t a starting-caliber player, as evidenced by his performance on Saturday.
The first interception by Carr was Moreau’s fault. Carr attempted to pass to Moreau, but he was unable to catch it. The ball then left Moreau’s hands and landed in a Steelers defender’s possession. One of Moreau’s strengths was blocking, but against the Steelers’ defense, it didn’t hold up. He couldn’t hold his own and was frequently tormented by the Steelers’ defensive linemen. Then, just as Josh Jacobs appeared to have given the Raiders offense a spark by breaking loose for a 36-yard run, the play was called back. The Raiders lost the momentum they were acquiring as Moreau grabbed the facemask of a Steeler defensive lineman.
Dud No. 3 For The Raiders: HC Josh McDaniels
Oh Josh McDaniels, you have once again let down the Raiders. Although the weather was poor and your quarterback didn’t perform well, the awful Steelers offense outgained you. The Raiders offense amassed a total of 28 yards as a result of McDaniels’ awful second-half play-calling. Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams, his two superstar players, combined for just 59 yards on the night as McDaniels’ offense continued to struggle. What the heck are you doing, man? These players are the backbone of your offense, but you can’t seem to get the most out of them. McDaniels’ offense scoring zero points in the second half should be a fireable offense, but Mark Davis won’t do it this early. Something has to change.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Don Wright