Raiders' Passing Game Has Regressed Over Two Straight Losses

For a variety of reasons, Derek Carr threw mostly just short-range routes in consecutive losses to Jets and Chiefs

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Is it the lack of quality wide receivers? The offensive system? Blocking? Or is it Derek Carr? Whatever the cause, there’s obviously something wrong with the Raiders passing game.

Over the past two weeks, in consecutive losses against the Jets and Chiefs, Carr – who has had a solid season – has taken a step back.

In a 34-3 loss to the Jets, Carr was just 15-of-27 for 127 yards, no touchdowns and an interception with a passer rating of 52.5. Against the Chiefs, he was 20-of-30 for 222 yards, one TD and two interceptions, with a rating of 71.8.

Considering his overall passer rating is a career-best 98.6 this season, the past two games have been significantly bad, and rank as his worst and third-worst games of the season.

What’s more, Carr’s passes aren’t biting off big chunks of yards even when completed. He’s averaging 7.7 yards per attempt in 2019, but averaged just 6.1 yards in those two losses.

As Steve Palazzolo wrote this week, the Raiders’ passing game has regressed just at a time when the team needed to make a push for the playoffs. Instead, Oakland has dropped from 6-4 to 6-6 and has a must-win game Sunday at home against a very hot 7-5 Titans team that has won three in a row and five of its past six.

Palazzolo suggested injuries to the wide receiver group may have limited Carr’s options.

“Carr has not pushed the ball downfield nearly enough, especially during the blowout losses over the last two weeks, where his average depth of target is only 6.4 (yards), third-lowest in the league during that time," he wrote. 

“Carr has all of the necessary big-time throws in his arsenal, but either his conservatism or perhaps a lack of downfield playmakers has hindered Oakland’s ability to create big plays in the passing game.”

Head coach Jon Gruden said Carr’s troubles aren’t isolated. When the entire team doesn’t play well, Carr can’t be as effective, he said. He also accepted some blame. 

“I have to do a better job of helping him,” Gruden told reprorters after the Chiefs game. “I think it starts with me and ends there. He is a good quarterback. I think he has a chance to be great. It just wasn’t his day and it wasn’t our day.”

Sunday’s game against the Titans is set to kick off at 1:25 p.m.

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