Derek Carr throwing the ball away on 4th down sums up his season

Why on Earth did Derek Carr throw a pass at his running back’s feet on a crucial fourth down?

Derek Carr looks and sounds like a defeated man right now. For the fifth time in a row, the Raiders lost by at least two touchdowns and for the sixth time in seven games, he was sacked at least three times.

Over the last two seasons Carr has spiraled from a promising, young $125 million quarterback to a broken passer who has no help around him and can’t get back on track. No play was more indicative of that fall from grace than his throw at running back Jalen Richard’s feet on a fourth down against the Chargers.

Grounding on 4th and 5 — next level

— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) November 11, 2018

There’s no benefit from an incomplete pass on fourth down. Even a pass in traffic that’s intercepted usually works out better. So it seemed the best explanation was that Carr had to have forgotten that it was fourth down.


Carr explained to reporters after the game that Richard was the go-to receiver and there was nothing else he could’ve done on the play:

Carr’s explanation for throwing it away on fourth down late

— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) November 12, 2018

Raiders coach Jon Gruden said the same thing and also indicated Carr had no other option than Richard:

Jon Gruden takes the blame for 4th and 5 where Derek Carr threw ball in the ground. #Raiders

— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) November 12, 2018

It sure sounds like a horrible play call if Carr’s only option on the play was hitting a running back near the line of scrimmage. But even if he dropped back and threw the ball straight up in the air as high as he could, it would’ve been a smarter decision than his spike at Richard’s feet.

The only other logical explanations are that Carr quit, or he’s just plain sick of getting hit. He was sacked four times by the Chargers, bringing his season total to 28 — already well ahead of the 20 times he was sacked last year and 16 times in 2016.

After the game, Carr sure looked and sounded like a player who is fed up:

Derek Carr is always optimistic, very talkative after losses. Today he just has a sad tone to his voice. No real energy in his postgame presser. Something just happened that frustrated him (his words) but not sure what it is.

— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) November 12, 2018

The fifth consecutive loss by at least 14 makes the Raiders the first to accomplish that level of ineptitude since the Jacksonville Jaguars got smoked in six straight games early in the 2013 season.

But at the time of Carr’s incomplete pass, the Raiders still had a shot at clawing back against the Chargers. Oakland was in the red zone with just over four minutes left and had a chance to cut Los Angeles’ lead to one touchdown. Instead, his incompletion was a final nail in the coffin.

It doesn’t look like the Raiders are going to turn things around any time soon, and that’s especially sad for Carr, because it sure seems like he’s in dire need of some good fortune.

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