OAKLAND –- The Raiders had a four-point lead with three minutes left in the first half. They were down 31 points at the end of the third quarter.
The interim was a comedy of errors.
Quarterback Derek Carr illegally threw it to an offensive lineman, who lost a fumble. The Raiders were penalized for misuse of a challenge flag. They bounced of ball carriers like a pinball.
The Raiders wasted a solid defensive start with poor tackling and inept offense paced by awful quarterback play and ultimately lost 41-17 to the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum.
A game that started with so much promise ended up the team’s worst loss of the season. It dropped the Raiders to 0-9, with no hope of victory if the offense continues to stall.
DJ Hayden and Justin Tuck created takeaways that generated 10 points. The offense did nothing without that help. That unit was epically bad, with just 222 yards on 62 plays. They had just six first downs heading into the fourth quarter.
Carr was simply awful, as rookie-like as we’ve seen him all season. The running game couldn’t help him out and receivers got no separation downfield. A crowd so into the events in the first quarter exited in such mass that it looked like an exhibition crowd by game’s end.
Peyton Manning took advantage of the Raiders' mistakes. He helped the Broncos score 25 unanswered points to put this game away. Denver didn’t need him in the fourth quarter, when he stepped down for backup Brock Osweiler.
The result was the worst of the Tony Sparano era, which now features five losses in as many games. The Raiders had been competitive in previous attempts, but offensive ineptitude didn’t give the Silver and Black a chance.
Carr’s worst day at the office: Carr played his worst game of the season on Sunday. He couldn’t move the football downfield, and made a few rookie-like plays. He threw two interceptions and that wacky shuffle pass to Barnes.
The offense sputtered under his command, which was the main reason why Sunday’s game unraveled late in the second quarter. All told, Carr was 30-of-47 passing for 192 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
DJ’s good start, bad finish: Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden got his first interception this year two snaps into his first start of the season. Hayden read a route right and leaped to snag an overthrown pass. It was the Raiders’ first takeaway in three games.
Hayden had good coverage at times, but he got beat by Emmanuel Sanders on a deep touchdown catch and again on a short TD reception by Julius Thomas. He also got completely blocked on another touchdown where he was the last line of defense.
It got worse for Hayden, who left late in the third quarter with an injury (explained below).
Tuck tips himself: Defensive end Justin Tuck made his best play as a Raider in the first half. He tipped a Manning pass straight up and caught it himself for an interception that led to the Raiders’ first touchdown.
Raiders can’t run: The Raiders entered Sunday’s game as the NFL’s worst rushing attack. They ran worthy of that title. The Raiders had just 30 yards on 15 carries against a tough Broncos defense.
That was problematic with Carr going bad and no other avenue to move the football.
Class of 2013 banged up (again): Hayden suffered a groin injury in the second half of Sunday’s loss, just his third game since returning the physically unable to perform list. The 2013 first-round pick has missed 15 games in 25 possible fixtures.
Last year’s second-round pick Menelik Watson got hurt shortly after. The Raiders announced that he was being evaluated for a concussion. Watson struggled with injuries during his rookie season, but has been healthy this year.
Injuries will be updated further later Sunday night.
Sitting it out: The Raiders missed rookie cornerback/return man TJ Carrie against Manning. The Raiders were strapped in the secondary without Carrie, Carlos Rogers and Chimdi Chekwa.
The Raiders also ruled quarterback Matt McGloin, guards Gabe Jackson and Tony Bergstrom and tight end David Ausberry inactive against the Broncos.
What's next: The Raiders AFC West swing continues with a stop in San Diego to face a Chargers team that has lost three straight and will be supremely motivated to get back on the winning track. Then they have a short week to prepare for the Kansas City Chiefs.