Written by Jeff Weisinger
For the first time since the dawn of the new millennium, the Oakland Raiders looked like a team with an insanely bright future.
They finally have their first franchise quarterback, since Rich Gannon. And they have weapons in Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and a defense that can come through in clutch situations. However, everyone knows the mantra: “Any Given Sunday.”
In their 33-25 win over the Indianapolis Colts, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffered a broken fibula with just over 10 minutes left in the game as he was sacked on a second down by Colts DE Trent Cole.
“Nice to get win No. 12,” said Oakland’s head coach Jack Del Rio. “…Unfortunately, came with a setback with our quarterback.”
Carr and the Raiders led Indianapolis 33-14 when Oakland called a passing play that looked like it was intended to go deep and stretch out the Colts’ pass defense, one that Carr was having his way with.
Carr was sacked and immediately asked for help while motioning his hands to ‘come here’. He needed help getting up and to the sideline, where he was looked at by the training staff before being carted off of the field.
“As soon as I got out there he said, ‘I think it’s broke,’” Del Rio said.
The mood on the Raider sideline and the Coliseum went from electric to somber after Carr’s injury. Indianapolis took advantage of the momentum swing and clawed their way back into the game late in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Raiders 11-0.
“Yeah, it obviously is a blow,” said Del Rio. “We’ll rally around the next guy as best we can. That’s what you do.”
“It’ll be incumbent on the offensive line and the backs to do more. The defense to do more. The special team to do more as a team, pick it up and do more to fill in. Obviously, that’s a big setback.”
Oakland’s second-year wideout Amari Cooper also expressed his feelings about losing Derek Carr.
“It hurts, but that’s what this game is all about,” Cooper said, who had four catches for 72 yards. “You risk getting hurt every time you step on this field. You never know what to expect.”
Backup quarterback Matt McGloin is expected to start in next week’s season finale in Denver and, most likely, for the playoffs while Connor Cook will be activated and bumped up to the No. 2 quarterback slot.
McGloin’s third-down pass to Cooper just before the two-minute warning helped clinch the win for Oakland.
“It’s a difficult situation,” said McGloin in a somber Raiders locker room after the game. “Carr has been having such an incredible season and to see him go down like that was tough.”
The fourth-year quarterback has made two quick appearances this year – against Atlanta and Carolina – but hasn’t started a game nor taken a meaningful snap since 2013. He’s 1-5 in six career starts, throwing for 1,818 career yards with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
“I’m ready to go,” McGloin said. “I feel great and it has been great working with Derek Carr the past few years and working together and seeing what he has done on the field trying to learn from that. I’m ready to go.”
Oakland’s linebacker Bruce Irvin also echoed on losing Carr.
“It is hard,” said Irvin. “We lost our leader. We are very confident in Matt McGloin. We are very confident in his abilities. Just guys got to step up.”
Carr initially couldn’t find his rhythm in the passing game on the opening drives, however he began to find his groove in the second when he connected with Andre Holmes, Jalen Richard and Clive Walford for touchdown passes.
He finished the day going 20-for-30 passing for 228 yards and three touchdowns in the Raiders win.
The win pushed Oakland to 12-3, their first 12-win season since 2000, putting them in position to win the AFC West if they can beat Denver next week or with a Kansas Coty loss tomorrow against Denver.
DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard spark Raiders run game
The Raiders also received a huge boost from the running game, especially from rookies Richard and Washington.
Washington had a game-high 99 yards on 12 carries and scored his first two career touchdowns, both from 22-yards out in the second half.
“It felt good to finally break the seal and get in the end zone,” said Washington. “Hopefully it’s the first of many.”
Washington hasn’t seen much action this season, getting occasional snaps behind starter Latavius Murray and Richard.
Washington’s 99-yard day is his best of the season and highest since he ran for 57 yards against the Titans back on Sept. 25. Although he was a yard short of the century-mark on the day, he says that he’ll “take the win.”
Richard, who has pleasantly surprised everyone this season, had 66 yards on six carries and three catches for 13 yards and a touchdown reception to put Oakland up 19-7 just before the half.