In a season full of frustrating losses, the Las Vegas Raiders will look back on their 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Rams as perhaps the worst of them all. The Raiders blew a 16-3 fourth-quarter lead to a Rams team missing multiple stars and playing a quarterback who joined the team just two days prior.
But even before the self-inflicted wounds crushed the Raiders in the fourth quarter, they had a chance to give themselves even more breathing room late in the first half. With under a minute left in the second half, the Raiders were in the red zone with a 13-3 lead, but Derek Carr would be intercepted in the end zone by Ernest Jones.
What made the play odd was that the ball basically floated in the air, and even Carr himself isn’t quite sure what happened to cause that throw via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:
“I don’t know if I got tripped,” Carr told reporters. “I don’t know what happened. Something happened, but I was throwing it to Mack in the back of the end zone. The safety took Foster [Moreau] and I was going to throw it to Mack and something happened as I was throwing it. So, something happened but Mack was open. I was trying to give him a ball for a touchdown, and that’s the hard part, because that’s points, that’s the difference in the score. It’s tough, it was that close to having a touchdown and, you know, everyone’s feeling better about today.”
Rams defensive lineman Greg Gaines pushed the Raiders offensive lineman into Carr right as he was set to throw, and it also looked as if Carr may have stepped on his lineman’s foot, throwing him off balance. Whatever the reason, a touchdown or, at the very least, a field goal was lost, and those are the kinds of plays the Raiders have dealt with all season, costing themselves wins.
In the fourth quarter, the Raiders had two changes of possessions overturned due to penalties, not to mention an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty negating the lost yardage on a Maxx Crosby sack on the final drive.
This is a game Carr would like to forget, as he threw for just 137 yards and two interceptions. The Raiders offense totaled just 67 yards in the second half and allowed the Rams to hang around just enough to make the dramatic comeback in the end.