Pursuing a first round bye in the playoffs, the Raiders have looked every bit the contender many consider them to be.
Until Derek Carr was helped off the field, skipping the locker room. Head coach Jack Del Rio announced after the game that Carr had broken his fibula and will have surgery.
The Raiders (12-3) won the game against Indianapolis 33-25, but lost the day, and Carr, indefinitely.
Amari Cooper, who caught four passes for 72 yards, said:
“If Derek can’t play we’re not going to go out there and all not play. Of course it’s next man up. We’re just going to have to go out there and play and compete. Try to win football games. You know, this happens sometimes. It’s a sad moment, you hate to see it happen to your quarterback. Especially when he’s a great guy like Derek is. But you have to go out there and keep playing.”
Del Rio added:
“We got to find a way to pick up and move on. … I think we all felt it. Think the stadium felt it. Certainly went from really really good to got the wind knocked out of you.”
Oakland pummeled the Colts (7-8), with three passing touchdowns and a pair of rushing touchdowns from rookie running back DeAndre Washington. But Indianapolis also scored 18 unanswered points as Carr left the building.
Morale is now at rock bottom in Oakland, if the silence inside the home locker room is any indication. A needle could be heard falling for a foot above the carpeted floor, almost, the sobering day so widely felt that music wasn’t even played following the win.
Which hasn’t happened at any point during the last four seasons.
Prior to the injury, the Raiders had started slowly, and didn’t score until their third drive, which began after an interception caught by safety Nate Allen — helped by a tremendous pass rush that forced an errant throw from quarterback Andrew Luck.
It took six plays from inside the three-yard line, and two consecutive pass interference calls against Indianapolis, but Carr found receiver Andre Holmes at the back-right corner of the end zone for the day’s first touchdown.
Luck and the Colts offense answered, though, mounting a nine-play, 75 yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to a wide open Donte Moncrief — no defender was within 15 yards of him — for a tie score.
Indianapolis turned the ball over two more times, though, with an interception from Raiders safety Reggie Nelson and Colts running back Frank Gore putting the ball on the turf during the next Colts possession.
Luck eventually found running back Robert Turbin for a three yard touchdown towards the end of the third quarter, though the day was essentially over with the Raiders leading 33-14.
That’s thanks to Washington, who churned away at the Colts’ defensive line, grating them like cheddar and laying down two touchdown runs like pastrami on rye bread.
Oakland’s pass rush was a major contributor as well, though, getting pressure on luck for what seemed like half of all Indianapolis’ offensive snaps. The Raiders recorded six quarterback hits, and the secondary chipped in with four passes defensed.
The Raiders’ defense was clicking Saturday afternoon, and getting help from defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., who was playing his first regular season game since week 15 of 2015. The group looked like they were expected to entering the season, after adding several free agents like Bruce Irvin, and drafting with a heavy emphasis on defense.
Luck completed only 19-of-29 pass attempts, and threw for 288 yards. Carr was 20-of-30 for 228 passing yards and three touchdowns before departing.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.