OAKLAND — The Raiders will have an entire offseason to reflect on their improvement in their first year under coach Jack Del Rio.
For now, all that’s on their mind is disappointment after missing the playoffs for the 13th straight season.
Damarious Randall returned one of Derek Carr’s two first-quarter interceptions for a touchdown and Green Bay beat the Raiders 30-20 on Sunday, after the Packers clinched their franchise-record seventh straight playoff spot.
“It hurts. It hurt my heart to be honest because I know how much work I put into this, how much work our team puts into this,” Carr said.
“I know the sacrifice during the week and even during the offseason. Everyone’s ultimate goal is to go to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. That’s always my goal, that will never change.”
But despite already doubling last year’s win total and identifying key building blocks for the franchise, the Raiders (6-8) are assured of another season without a winning record or the playoffs.
Carr rallied after his early mistakes to throw two touchdown passes to Amari Cooper, but it wasn’t enough for Oakland against the more seasoned Packers (10-4).
“It’s not the only painful moment, it won’t be the last painful moment,” Del Rio said. “We have a good group, a good group of men in there. We’re disappointed tonight didn’t go the way we wanted it to.”
Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass for the Packers, who clinched a postseason spot in the first quarter when the New York Giants lost to Carolina.
But the Packers still have their eyes set on a division title and they remained one game ahead of Minnesota in the NFC North.
“It’s big, especially when a couple weeks ago everybody was counting us out,” said defensive back Micah Hyde, who had an early interception that helped Green Bay get off to a fast start. “It’s good to clinch, but at the same time, this is something that’s expected around here.”
The Packers built a 14-0 lead with defense and then had to win it behind Rodgers and the offense. Green Bay fell behind 20-17 midway through the third quarter on Carr’s second touchdown pass to Cooper.
The Oakland lead was short-lived as Jeff Janis returned the ensuing kickoff to the 47. Three plays later, former Raider James Jones beat a busted coverage for a 30-yard touchdown catch.
“Those kind of mistakes, they kill you as a team,” safety Charles Woodson said. “We gave ourselves a chance. Just didn’t come up at the end when we needed to.”
Rodgers engineered a 19-play field goal drive on Green Bay’s next possession and Mason Crosby’s third field goal made it 30-20 with 4:25 left to put the Packers in control.
The highlight for the Raiders was rookie Cooper cracking the 1,000-yard milestone, as he caught six passes for 120 yards. He reached the mark on a 41-yard catch in the third quarter, becoming the first Oakland player with 1,000 yards receiving since Randy Moss in 2005. That was the longest current drought in the NFL.
“I guess it’s a good thing to do, but people go for 1,000 yards every year so it’s not really a big thing,” Cooper said.
Carr threw two interceptions in the first quarter to set up Green Bay touchdowns. Hyde’s interception set up the Packers at the 18 and John Kuhn ran it in from the 5 for the first score.
Carr’s next pass was high to Seth Roberts and Randall returned it 43 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0.
The Raiders rallied with a pair of field goals in the second quarter, but the Packers still looked to be in control as they drove into scoring range late in the half.
But Benson Mayowa forced and recovered a fumble by James Starks at the Oakland 21 with 1:22 to go and Carr connected on a 19-yard TD pass to Cooper four plays later to make it 14-13 at the half.
Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. left after the first drive with a neck injury.