KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Derek Carr walked into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday with a chance not only to silence his ever-growing chorus of critics but also give the Oakland Raiders a piece of the AFC West lead.
He walked out having failed on all accounts.
The Kansas City Chiefs harassed Carr all game long, holding him to 222 yards passing with two interceptions and a meaningless fourth-quarter touchdown. One of the picks was returned 46 yards for a touchdown, helping to pace the Chiefs to a 40-9 rout and a two-game lead in the division.
“They were running their stuff but in different ways, different scenarios,” said Carr, who is 2-10 overall against the Chiefs. “Nothing that confused us or anything like that. They did a good job, especially the two turnovers, of just making plays. Hats off to them.”
The dismal showing by Carr on a cold, blustery day dropped the 28-year-old quarterback to 0-6 in his career in Kansas City. His quarterback rating in the notoriously difficult road venue is the worst of any stadium in which he’s played multiple games, and the rest of his numbers are just as ugly: He’s completing just 57 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“I think the biggest thing is that we knew when he took big shots down the field we could understand, pre-snap, the formation to put us into position to make a play,” said Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, who had one of the interceptions. “Check-downs, to the tight ends and running backs, that’s his game. I was glad we were able to capitalize when he did try to throw downfield.”
It was the kind of performance that has pushed a large contingent of Raiders fans to question whether Carr is the right quarterback to lead the franchise as it moves to Las Vegas.
There Was the Sack Early in the Second Half
“It’s hard, because this is fresh. Especially two weeks in a row getting beat the way we got beat,” Carr said. “It’s like, ‘Come on, we’re better than that.’ It’s frustrating. It’s annoying.”
Then again, Carr was hardly the only reason the Raiders were routed on Sunday.
They fumbled a kickoff, missed a field goal and even had a blocked extra point returned for two points in the final minute. They committed seven penalties for 99 yards, including a couple of bone-headed personal fouls, and four of the flags gave Kansas City first downs.
But right or wrong, so much of a team’s success or failure falls on the shoulders of the one under center, and Carr left enough plays on the field Sunday to be ripe for criticism.
There was the sack early in the second half after Carr held the ball for what felt like an eternity. There was the fumble that Carr was fortunate to see Josh Jacobs recover. And until Oakland’s late touchdown drive, Carr had completed exactly one pass to his wide receivers.
The gusting wind was a factor, as was the cold — the wind chill was 25 degrees at kickoff, and the outcome left Carr 2-9 when the temperature is below 50 and 0-5 when it’s below 40.
“Everybody struggles to a degree in cold weather. That’s why people move south,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “I got to do a better job helping him. It starts with me and ends there. He’s a good quarterback. I think he’s got a chance to be great. It just wasn’t his day. It wasn’t our day.”