GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Derek Carr giveth, and Derek Carr taketh away.
The Oakland Raiders' quarterback might want to rethink that whole reach-for-the-pylon-with-your-inside-hand strategy.
For the second time in three years, Carr lost a fumble through the end zone while trying to score rather than go out of bounds and live for another down.
It happened in 2017 against the Dallas Cowboys at the end of regulation, and it happened late in the second quarter at the Green Bay Packers, on second-and-goal from the 2-yard line at the two-minute warning with the Raiders looking to take a halftime lead. Instead, momentum shifted significantly and the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers blew the Raiders’ doors off with a 42-24 spanking that dropped Oakland’s record to 3-3.
Describe the game in two words: Gut. Punch. While the Raiders were 2 yards and an extra point away from taking a 17-14 lead possibly into halftime, Carr’s untimely fumble through the end zone jump-started Green Bay, and by the time Carr next took a meaningful snap, the Raiders trailed 28-10.
Promising trend: Tight end Darren Waller’s ascending play. Four days after signing a multiyear contract extension with Oakland, Waller showed he was more than worth it. He caught his first touchdown pass -- a 7-yarder in the third quarter -- and added a 17-yarder late as he finished with seven catches for 126 yards. Waller, who had two TDs with the Baltimore Ravens in 2016, nearly had an earlier TD catch and would have strolled in untouched on a deep ball down the middle had Carr led him better. Instead, he was tripped up at the 3-yard line, two snaps before Carr’s fumble. On the year, Waller has 43 catches – the most in Raiders franchise history for a player in his first six games with the team – for 485 yards.
QB breakdown: Take away the touchback fumble and a later end zone pick, and Carr had a nice day after a slow start, looking composed and efficient in completing 22 of 28 passes for 293 yards and two TDs. It’s just ... you can’t eliminate the fumble, which turned the game, or the INT, which gave Oakland two red zone turnovers for the first time since Dec. 22, 2003, the Brett Favre game at the Oakland Coliseum when Rick Mirer was picked off and Tee Martin lost a fumble. Up until the fumble, Carr had been on-point, completing 11 of his previous 11 passes for 152 yards. Then there’s this: Carr has now lost 23 fumbles since his rookie season of 2014, the most of any player in the NFL during that span with Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins each having 22 fumbles lost in that time frame.
Silver lining: Is it too early to anoint Josh Jacobs as the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year? All the first-round running back did was set a single-game high for rushing yards for the second game in a row, running for 124 yards, on 21 carries, after gouging the Chicago Bears for 123 yards two weeks ago in London. Jacobs’ vision and darting, cutback ability is truly a thing to behold. He did give the Raiders a scare early when he had to get his right shoulder checked out after going down hard in his first-quarter 42-yard run. Still, Jacobs is the first Raiders rookie to rush for at least 500 yards in a season (554) since Greg Robinson went for 591 in 1993. Jacobs also joined Marcus Allen as the only Raiders with multiple 100-plus-yard rushing games in their rookie seasons. Allen had three such games in 1982, and Jacobs, the only Raiders rookie with consecutive 100-plus rushing yards games, has two.