Over the first two games of this season, Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree was a dynamo, pulling in 13 catches on 14 passes thrown his way.
Crabtree had 163 receiving yards and three touchdowns in those games and was quarterback Derek Carr’s go-to target.
But in Week 3, Crabtree hit a wall. Or, more accurately, safety Montae Nicholson of Washington hit him. Hard.
In Oakland’s 27-10 loss at Washington Sunday night, Crabtree had just one catch for seven yards on only three passes aimed in his direction by Carr. Then, early in the fourth quarter, Crabtree took a hellacious hit by Nicholson as he tried to catch a Carr pass. That knocked him out of the game with what was described as a chest injury.
On Monday, Crabtree flew home with the team. The extent of his injury hasn’t been announced, but Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is hopeful his wideout will be able to play this Sunday in the AFC West matchup against the Broncos in Denver.
“Obviously, we’ll take a close look at him and make sure there’s nothing significant going on,” Del Rio told reporters Monday. “I know the doctors cleared him to travel with us coming back, which is good. He took a good shot. It was a clean hit. Good shot. Crab’s a tough guy. I’m sure he’ll bounce back.”
It was a rough night for Raiders receivers as a whole against Washington. Amari Cooper also was held to one catch for just six yards on five targets.
In fact, Washington cornerback Josh Norman, considered one of the NFL’s best at his position – and one of the most talkative – took shots at both Crabtree and Cooper after Sunday’s game. Norman said Raiders receivers were telling them they were going to have big nights. Norman claimed the Oakland wideouts said they’d get 200 yards receiving.
“Two hundred yards? (Crabtree) didn’t catch two balls,” Norman told John Keim of ESPN.com. “He only caught one, huh? So please, whatever you do, do not run your mouth if you’re a wide receiver and expect to show up on Sundays, because I’m telling you, we are here and we are waiting. Don’t come out here and tell me what you’re going to do. Show me. You’re going to have to run through me to get to that.”
The entire Raiders offense was out of sync. Carr said the loss was like a “punch in the mouth.”
“We just got our butt kicked,” said Carr, who passed for just 118 yards.
The Raiders-Broncos game Sunday is set to kick off at 1:25 p.m.