LAS VEGAS — Derek Carr, rocking back and forth at the podium with tears in his eyes and a halting voice, apologized for being “emotional” in the wake of the Las Vegas Raiders‘ 25-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
The Colts came in with an interim coach who had never coached above the high school level in Jeff Saturday, an offensive coordinator who had never called plays before in Parks Frazier and a veteran quarterback who had been benched earlier in the season in Matt Ryan.
Carr needed several pauses to collect himself as the Raiders quarterback addressed what went on in the course of the defeat that dropped Las Vegas’ record to 2-7 in a season that began with so much promise a year after going to the playoffs for just the second time since 2002.
“I love the Silver and Black and I’m going to give it everything I can every time I go out there,” Carr said. “And I can’t speak for everybody, for every man, what’s going on in their head, but I can tell you what’s going on in my head and I’m going to give it all that I can, every single time.”
Carr paused for 12 seconds before he was asked if there was a “disconnect” between himself and first-year coach and offensive playcaller Josh McDaniels.
“I don’t think so,” Carr said, through tears. “I love Josh. I love our coaches. They’ve had nothing but success. Way more success than I’ve ever had. And I’m sorry …”
A choked-up Carr paused again, for eight seconds.
“Sorry for being emotional,” he continued. “I’m just pissed off about some of the things, you know, that a lot of us try and do just to practice. What we put our bodies through, just to sleep at night.”
Carr again paused, for nine seconds.
“And for that to be the result of all that effort, pisses me off,” he said. “Pisses a lot of guys off. It’s hard, knowing what some guys are doing … just to practice. What they’re putting in their body just to sleep at night. Just so we can be there for each other. And I wish everybody in that room felt the same way about this place. And as a leader, that pisses me off, if I’m being honest.”
It was the sixth one-score loss of the season for the Raiders, tied for the third-most such losses without a win in one-score games in a season since 2000 with the 2017 Cincinnati Bengals, behind the 2001 Carolina Panthers (0-9), and 2019 Bengals (0-8), per ESPN Stats & Information research.
This after the Raiders went 7-2 in one-score games last season and won four straight games to finish 10-7 and force their way into the postseason under interim coach Rich Bisaccia and general manager Mike Mayock. Raiders owner Mark Davis chose to replace them with New England Patriots stalwarts McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, respectively, saying the moves were made to take the Raiders “to the next level.”
Instead, and after landing an All-Pro receiver in Carr’s college teammate Davante Adams, the Raiders have the second-worst record in the NFL, Carr looks lost at times in McDaniels’ offense and the postgame locker room was rife with frustration and seeming dissension, with several players cursing out loud and one apologizing to another.
Carr said the team captains spoke to the locker room after the game.
“Ain’t no magic message,” said Adams, who had nine catches for 126 yards, with a 48-yard catch-and-run TD. “We’re going to keep what was said in-house. Wasn’t nothing crazy, just, we had a conversation as a team.”
Asked if players were not “buying in” to McDaniels’ system, Adams shrugged.
“I don’t think we’re like, ‘F what he’s talking about’ or, ‘I’m going against the grain,'” Adams said. “It’s just a matter of executing when it’s time.”
“It’s hard, knowing what some guys are doing … just to practice. What they’re putting in their body just to sleep at night. Just so we can be there for each other. And I wish everybody in that room felt the same way about this place. And as a leader, that pisses me off, if I’m being honest.”
Raiders QB Derek Carr
Carr, who went 0-for-5 in the first quarter, the first time any quarterback had thrown at least five passes in a quarter this season without a completion, was then 11-for-11 in the second quarter. He finished 24-of-38 for 248 yards and two TDs, but his final shot, a fade into the left side of the end zone for Adams on fourth-and-7 from the Colts’ 16-yard line with 52 seconds to play, was broken up by cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
The ninth-year veteran said he was not “perfect” after the game.
“I’m never going to be perfect,” Carr said. “But the love I have for this place, and the effort that I’ll give, will be second to none, every time.
“The emotion of just nine years of stuff hit me today, for how much I really love this place. It’s not going to change anything. I’m going to come out here and fight and compete next week, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Still, he was booed heavily by fans as his image was shown after the game as he walked off the field.
“I never take it personal,” he said. “I’m just the one that’s been here the longest.
“I’m mad at it too, so don’t worry about it.”
And while speculation is running rampant on McDaniels’ job security, the coach said, “It starts with me.
“So, you know, we’re going to have to figure out something different to do to try to get free from some of these close scores and close games, and/or make enough plays at the end to win. So it always starts with us, starts with me, so I’m going to do everything I can do to try to figure out what we can do to do better to change the results.”