The Oakland Raiders lost more than the game this week in Denver, they may have lost their quarterback for an unknown time frame. Late in the third quarter, in a game that looked to be grossly one-sided, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffered what appeared to be a back injury. While stepping up in the pocket to avoid the Denver Broncos pass rush, Carr was twisted whilst being tackled, instantaneously reaching for his back. It was the last thing Raider fans wanted to see in an important divisional game that was still within reach. With Carr down and their backs against the wall, The Oakland Raiders rallied to within six, only to fall short in the end. In the loss, the Raiders showed that they have the tools they need to win in the division, but seem to have a problem with execution. Here a three of the most glaring takeaways from the Raiders week four loss to Denver.
Week Four Oakland Raiders Takeaways
E.J. Manuel Understands How To Win
With Carr out with a back injury and Connor Cook a healthy scratch, the Raiders placed their success in the hands of newly acquired quarterback, E.J. Manuel.
The former first round pick got off to a shaky start and looked uncomfortable during his first series. That all changed on the following drives, however, as Manuel took the Oakland offense on his back and showed heart in a difficult situation.
Showing plenty of confidence in the huddle, and making key plays when his team needed him to, Manuel is going to fill in for Carr nicely.
Raider Nation can only hope that the injury to their franchise quarterback isn’t serious, but they can take a little comfort in knowing that their back-up signal caller can carry the load.
The Raiders Running Game Is a Disaster
The Oakland Raider running game is a mess, and Marshawn Lynch is not the answer. Some of the unit’s woes can be chalked up to the great Denver front seven, the rest can be attributed to mismanagement of talent.
Lynch was brought out of retirement to be the hammer of this Raiders offense. He was supposed to be a short yardage specialist while Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington shared the carries between the twenties. It was an arrangement that masked Lynches age and highlighted the strengths he still possessed. Up until this point in the season, it hasn’t worked out that way.
The Raiders insist on using Lynch like the Beast Mode of legend, and that approach isn’t working out for anyone. Richard is the future of the Raiders backfield, and the sooner the Raiders recognize this, the better.
Richard will never be the featured runner in Oakland’s backfield. He will serve as a change of pace option, and could be one of the most consistent weapons Jack Del Rio will have on his roster.
It is clear that the Raiders need to shift their philosophy in regards to the run game sooner than later; especially if Carr misses an extended amount time.
Without Crabtree This Offense is Pedestrian At Best
With Michael Crabtree out with a chest injury, the Raider Offense looked stale and dated. They lacked a certain swagger, and it showed.
Crabtree is a lynch pin to what the Raiders want to do, and without him in the lineup, the team looked to Amari Cooper and Jared Cook to pick up the slack. Cooper, who has been dealing with a case of the drops lately, continued to do just that, drop passes.
When the team needed him most, he was out leaped by Denver defensive back, Justin Simmons, for the game ending interception. The pick ended a promising drive that if caught, would have put the Raiders in position to win the game.
The pick was the result of a lack of fight in Cooper, more so than determination in Simmons. It was the type of play and situation that Crabtree loves. Had it been a jump ball for Crabtree, one has to wonder if the game would have ended differently.