There are plenty of reasons why the Raiders offense couldn’t keep up with the Rams. But one of the biggest reasons is Derek Carr.
In the first half, Carr seemed sharp as ever. He completed eight of his first 10 passes and finished the first half going 21-27 and an interception. The second half was a steady decline, which saw Carr turn the ball over twice more after making some pretty bad throws.
Under-throwing the ball
This is a reoccurring issue for Carr. Even when he has time, he has a tendency to whip the ball out of his hands, which usually leads the ball to the ground or near a defender’s hands.
This was one of the three targets to WR Amari Cooper. He finished the game with one catch for nine yards. Carr had time and a wide open target as CB Marcus Peters was behind him.
This was the second throw of the second half. Carr has the pressure coming, but his throw is not only under-thrown, but it’s way off-target.
Again, Carr had another open man with a defender behind his receiver, but the pass is off-target. There was no immediate pressure to get the ball out. He had a solid pocket forming, but the throw was rushed.
Differing reactions to oncoming pressure
There were times when Carr reacted prematurely to oncoming pressure and there were other times when he was immersed in a collapsing pocket and still made a throw before he was taken down.
Take this throw for example. It’s hard to say what Carr saw from this angle, but he still had time to throw if he stepped into his pocket instead of remaining in the pathway of LB Samson Ebukam.
A few throws later, he stays in the pocket and makes an off-balanced throw to the running back.
Then two throws later, he whips a ball straight up in the zip code of where WR Jordy Nelson was to escape the little pressure he felt from the pass-rush. Not only did he have time in the pocket, he had his go-to target TE Jared Cook in front of him. Instead, he turns the ball over.
Carr is a veteran quarterback, so his Monday Night performance was a head-scratcher especially after his two interceptions. The Peters interception was bad because 1.) Peters followed Carr’s eyes the entire play and 2.) the pass was off-target, which allowed Peters to just catch and score.
I thought the pass-rush would have been much more of an imposing force than it was on Monday night. In the end, Carr beat himself.