Redwood Times (http://www.redwoodtimes.com)

Can Derek Carr get past the Arrowhead Stadium jinx?


By Jerry McDonald, Bay Area News Group

Thursday, December 7, 2017

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ALAMEDA — With two touchdown passes, Derek Carr will reach No. 100 for his career.
It’s heady stuff, considering the Raiders quarterback will be playing in his 59th game. Peyton Manning, for example, threw his 100th touchdown pass in his 56th game.
Yet Carr has other milestones on his mind, most notably winning a game in Arrowhead Stadium for the first time.
“(That’s) definitely No. 1 right now,” Carr said. “Especially this week. It’s something we have not been able to do since I’ve been here, so we’ve got to get on that.”
For the Raiders to beat the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday and retain at least a share of first place in the AFC West, Carr is going to have to be much better than the quarterback who has fared poorly in his first three games at one of the NFL’s loudest stadiums.
Carr has had success against the Chiefs — most notably his first NFL win in 2014 and a 31-30 win on Oct. 19 when he threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree with no time remaining.
Both of those games came at the Coliseum.
It has been a chamber of horrors for Carr in the three losses at Arrowhead. In each game, the Raiders were barely competitive, with the offense coming through for touchdowns mostly when the games were out of reach.
A recap:
Week, 14, 2016: Carr, playing with a broken pinky finger and throwing with a glove on his right hand, is 17 of 41 for 117 yards and no touchdowns. A potential touchdown pass intended for Amari Cooper mysteriously drops from the sky and falls incomplete.
Conspiracy theorists believe it hit a television “spiderwire” for an overhead camera.
It’s 21-3 before the Raiders score, eventually falling 21-13. The loss, which completed a Chiefs sweep, costs the Raiders the division title.
Week 17, 2015: Carr is 21 of 33 for 194 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a 23-17 loss.
The Raiders are down 23-10 before Carr hits Michael Crabtree on a 31-yard pass two two minutes to play. The loss prevents the Raiders, 7-9, from finishing with a .500 record in Jack Del Rio’s first season.
Week 15, 2014: In his first game at Arrowhead, Carr is 27 of 56 for 222 yards. The Raiders trail 31-6 before the Raiders score a touchdown on a 1-yard pass to James Jones with 34 seconds remaining.
In three games at Arrowhead covering 40 possessions, Carr produced three touchdowns, and two of those came with the game hopelessly out of reach in the fourth quarter.
Carr has completed just 50 percent (65 of 130) of his passes for 533 yards, a passer rating of 62.8 and has only four completions exceeding 20 yards with his average yards per pass attempt a microscopic 4.1.
Relentlessly positive by nature, Carr isn’t spending a lot of time over-thinking it, and in fact said he loves the experience of one of the NFL’s most iconic and hostile venues.
“I don’t know if I’m allowed to say I enjoy going to their stadium, but I do,” Carr said. “It’s loud, it’s fun and I like playing in the noise because you’re in your own little zone. You can kind of cancel everything else out.
“I do enjoy going there, but it’d feel a lot better afterwards if we could win a game.”
— Carr will face a Chiefs team without starting cornerback Marcus Peters, who was suspended by coach Andy Reid for throwing an official’s penalty flag into the stands and then leaving the field without realizing he hadn’t been ejected late in a 38-31 loss to the Jets.
“We treat that a lot like we did last week with Eli (Manning), it’s similar to an injury occurring,” Del Rio said. “We’re preparing Raiders vs. Chiefs. Nothing really changes in terms of putting a plan together.”
Said Carr: “It doesn’t change what we do. We still have to go out and execute our game plan. If anything, maybe we throw one or two more the other way. It just depends on how they roll the coverages.”
— Wide receiver Amari Cooper did not practice Wednesday and was listed with only an ankle injury, an indication that he has passed the league-mandated concussion protocol. Also out were linebacker Cory James (knee), defensive end Denico Autry (hand), wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (hip), running back Jamize Olawale (ankle) and guard Jon Feliciano (concussion).
Defensive end Khalil Mack, linebacker Bruce Irvin were given Wednesday off for the third straight week and were joined by safety Reggie Nelson and linebacker NaVorro Bowman.
Cornerback David Amerson (foot) was limited as he was last week when he missed his fifth straight game.
— Defensive tackle Darius Latham, who was released when wide receiver Michael Crabtree was reinstated to the roster after a one week suspension, was signed to the practice squad. Wide receiver Tevaun Smith was released.