Derek Carr’s three interceptions in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to Kansas City were a stark reminder that the Raiders’ young quarterback still has plenty of room to grow.
Carr’s touchdown to wide receiver Michael Crabtree earlier in the game — when he split tight coverage and managed to somehow slip the ball in between a pair of Chiefs defenders — was also a reminder of Carr’s immense talent.
Finding a happy balance between the two is the next step in Carr’s development — a challenge that takes on greater significance with the Raiders on the brink of elimination in the AFC playoff race.
Oakland coach Jack Del Rio remains steadfast in his support of Carr, but he also challenged the second-year pro to learn from what went wrong Sunday.
“I think the sting of having that experience will stay with you,” Del Rio said. “Some of the adulation, some of the high of how good it went like he’s done a couple of times, that stays with you. You learn from the good and bad experiences.
“The guy is super talented. He’s taken all the responsibility that he needs to. I completely believe in the young man and I’m confident that he’ll learn from that experience and be stronger going forward.”
With the Raiders nursing a six-point lead with 12 minutes to play, Carr admitted he tried to do too much when his intended flip to a wide receiver ended up in the hands of Chiefs linebacker Josh Mauga.
Carr threw another interception on Oakland’s next drive when Crabtree got tripped up on a crossing pattern. His third pick came on a poorly thrown pass intended for Amari Cooper.
“We turned the ball over. Can’t do that, especially against a good team,” Carr said. “That’s my fault and we’ll get it fixed.”
With 26 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, Carr hasn’t made many mistakes this season. The few he has made, though, have been critical.
Seven of his nine interceptions this season have come in the fourth quarter. Two have come in the end zone when the Raiders were poised to score, while a third was returned 74 yards for a touchdown by Denver’s Chris Harris in a Week 5 game that Oakland lost 16-10.
Carr’s 101.5 passer rating heading into last week was sixth-best in the NFL. But those numbers have dipped to 60.5 in the fourth quarter.
At the same time, Del Rio praised Carr for his sparkling 25-yard touchdown throw to Crabtree in heavy coverage in the first half against Kansas City. Carr split two defenders with the pass and Crabtree was drilled as he fell into the end zone but held onto the ball.
“That was a great throw but that could be considered a danger throw,” Del Rio said. “When you’re able to gun a few of those in, it might give you confidence to do other things. There’s some good in that.”
Notes: Fullback Jamize Olawale signed a three-year extension, the team announced. Olawale is the Raiders’ second-leading rusher behind running back Latavius Murray. … Center Rodney Hudson is wearing a brace on his troublesome right ankle but looks close to returning to the lineup. … Tests were negative on safety Nate Allen’s right knee, which he injured during the fourth quarter Sunday.