OAKLAND, Calif. -- Welp, that should be a wrap.
The Oakland Raiders' run to a playoff spot, as unlikely as it seemed at the start of the season, is all but done, courtesy of a 42-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in the penultimate game at the Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders, who lost their third straight game, fell to 6-7, while the Titans, one of two teams the Raiders were chasing for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC, improved to 8-5.
The Raiders were a feel-good story when they sat at 6-4 and rode a three-game winning streak in this latest rebuilding season, but injuries and ineffectiveness the past month have turned the tide.
Describe the game in two words: Opportunity lost. Yeah, you could have used this descriptor in previous losses against the Texans and Jets, but those were road games. The Raiders were essentially playing a playoff game at home against the Titans.
Biggest hole in the game plan: Did the defense forget how to arm tackle, especially the secondary? Time and time again in the first half, Raiders defensive backs looked unwilling or unable to wrap on their tackles, and the Titans would take off for big gains. And that's not counting the lack of coverage on several big pass plays, most notably the 91-yard TD pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown on which cornerback Daryl Worley was caught sleeping. Brown finished with five catches for 153 yards and two TDs and running back Derrick Henry had 103 yards rushing and two scores on 18 carries for Tennessee. Oakland's defense simply could not get off the field.
QB breakdown: Derek Carr showed some of that 2016 spunk on a 15-yard scramble up the middle on the second play of the second half and, well, that was it. Again, quarterbacks get too much of the credit when things are going well, too much blame when things go south. Although there are holes all over the roster, Carr has not been able to elevate the rest of the team. He finished with 263 passing yards in completing 25 of 34 attempts with two TD passes, a 49-yarder to receiver Rico Gafford and a 1-yarder to rookie tight end Foster Moreau. But throwing the ball away on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, trailing by three touchdowns late? That seems ... strange.
Pivotal play: Carr taking a sack on third-and-2 at the Tennessee 43-yard line for a 4-yard loss with 11:18 to play in the third quarter. It was the initial drive of the second half and the Raiders were driving with the score tied at 21. Oakland could not right itself and the defense, as noted before, simply could not contain the Titans.
Silver lining: With rookie running back Josh Jacobs out with a right shoulder injury (he said on social media this week he had been playing with a fracture since Week 7) DeAndré Washington and Jalen Richard acquitted themselves fairly well. The Mighty Mites combined for 81 yards rushing on 21 carries, with Washington scoring on an impressive 14-yard run to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead. And they did it without right tackle Trent Brown, out with a pectoral injury.