Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr lays the field after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer
DENVER — Another Sunday and another loss for the Silver and Black, but this loss hurts a bit more.
Oakland (2-2) loss to 16-10 to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in a game that the Raiders saw their franchise player, quarterback Derek Carr, leave the game in the third quarter with reported back spasms after getting kneed in the back after being sacked by Shelby Harris and Derek Wolfe.
Carr completed 10-of-18 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown before being replaced by backup quarterback EJ Manuel.
With Oakland trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, Carr hooked up with reserve wide receiver Johnny Holton for a 64-yard touchdown that capped a five-play, 99-yard drive for the Silver and Black that had cut Denver’s lead to 10-7. The 99-yard drive was Oakland’s first drive of 90-plus yards since Oct. 2, 2011 against New England according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Following Riley Dixon’s punt that sailed 37 yards before settling at the Oakland 42-yard line with 4:16 left in the fourth quarter, Manuel got Oakland to the Broncos’ own 42-yard line with 1:46 left following series of completions.
On the ensuing play, Manuel threw a high pass intended for wide receiver Amari Cooper that was intercepted by Denver safety Justin Simmons to stick the fork in Oakland. Oakland trailed by six with 5:23 left after kicker Girogio Tavecchio nailed a 38-yard field goal.
In relief of Carr, Manuel completed 11-of-17 passes for 106 yards.
For the second straight week, Cooper was a no-show for Oakland, finishing with just two catches for nine yards and his NFL-leading seventh dropped pass of the season. To Cooper’s credit, the Broncos double-teamed him for the most of the game since fellow wide receiver Michael Crabtree missed the game with a chest injury.
It was Crabtree’s first missed game since 2013 when he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
Denver’s top-ranked defense against the run was on full display Sunday, bottling up running back Marshawn Lynch and Oakland’s ground game to just 24 yards rushing.
Lynch finished with just nine carries for 12 yards. For the season, Lynch has just 45 carries for 151 yards and one touchdown through four games.
Oakland recorded 258 yards of total offense, but was 2-of-12 on third downs against the Broncos after going 0-for-11 on third downs in Washington last Sunday.
Simply put, the Broncos kept Oakland out of sync the entire game.
Defensively, Oakland held Denver to 298 yards of total offense, but were gashed on the ground by the Broncos for 143 yards rushing. Running back CJ Anderson gave Oakland’s defense fits, carrying the ball 20 times for 95 yards, including a 40-yard run down the heart of the Raiders defense in the third quarter.
Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack registered two of Oakland’s four sacks on the day. After recording 11 tackles (five assisted) in Washington last week to lead all Oakland defenders, linebacker Cory James led the team again with 10 tackles against the Broncos.
As stated earlier, this loss hurts for the Silver and Black.
Not only do you sit in third-place in the tough AFC West behind 3-0 Kansas City and the now 3-1 Broncos, but your franchise quarterback is getting sacked at an alarming rate.
After just allowing 18 sacks last season in 16 games last season, Oakland’s high-priced offensive line have allowed nine sacks through four games this season.
Carr is expected to be fine for Oakland’s next game, but if you’re a Raiders fan, you got to be concerned that your signal-caller is getting beat up early in the season.
Oakland after playing three of their first four games on the road, the Raiders are home for three straight weeks as they will host Baltimore, Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.