ALAMEDA (AP) — Derek Carr hasn’t had to bounce back from a rough performance too often the past couple of years.
This week he will want to put the dud he had against Washington last week in the past and perform at a much higher level when the Oakland Raiders (2-1) visit the Denver Broncos (2-1) on Sunday in an AFC West showdown.
“You guys know how prideful of a worker he is. He’s worked really hard this week to clean up some things and do his part,” offensive coordinator Todd Downing said.
“That’s permeated our whole offense. Nobody has looked at that game as I said, and thought, ‘Man, I’m really pleased with what I put on tape.’ Everybody from Derek all the way down to quality control coaches has looked for ways to improve. That’s going to be what propels us going forward.”
Little went right offensively for the Raiders in the 27-10 loss at Washington last Sunday night when Carr threw an interception on his first pass and finished the day 19 for 31 for 118 yards and two interceptions.
It was the second-fewest yards for Carr in a game he didn’t get hurt in and the 52.9 passer rating was the third worst in 50 starts.
“It was like, how did my brother say it? An anomaly,” Carr said. “You’re like, ‘What the heck?’ You go out there. You see the coverages they’re playing. They’re not disguising anything. The game slowed down. You see where you’re going. You’re putting it where you want to and it’s like, ‘Why isn’t it going our way?’”
Carr had plenty of company in having an off night. The usually reliable offensive line allowed four sacks in a game for the first time since 2015. The running game generated just 32 yards on 13 carries and the Raiders failed to convert a single one of their 11 third down chances in a performance that was a far cry from the first two weeks when the team scored 71 points and didn’t commit a single turnover.
Downing said the issues, including just seven touches for Marshawn Lynch, were getting stuck in bad yardage situations more than anything Washington did or tipping off plays.
“It’s a little difficult to stay in your normal game plan when you go 0-for-11 on third downs,” Downing said.
“When you’re behind the sticks on second down and all of that. It kind of threw us out of rhythm, out of plan a little bit, but Marshawn knows he’s a big part of what we want to do offensively. We look forward to using him.”
The Raiders will need a much better performance this week out of Carr, Lynch, the offensive line and receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, who each had key drops early.
Oakland faces one of its toughest tests of the season playing on the road in Denver against a fearsome Broncos defense led by Von Miller and perhaps the game’s best secondary.
Carr has just a 73.5 passer rating in five starts against the Broncos, getting his only wins thanks to a five-sack performance by Khalil Mack in Denver in 2015 and a 218-yard rushing performance at home last year.
“I would just say don’t press. I don’t need to make every play,” Carr said. “I always put it on my shoulders. I’m harder on myself than anybody is. Whenever we put a performance out there like that, I told you after the game, everybody played great except me. I just have to know I have to rely on my teammates. I don’t have to do it all.”