SEATTLE – The Raiders dug themselves an abyss in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, a trench so deep that improved second-half play couldn’t fill it back up.
The Raiders committed three first-half turnovers – a mortal sin on the road -- including a pick-six from quarterback Derek Carr, and tried in vain to overcome those pivotal mistakes. The failed attempt produced a 30-24 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
The Raiders drop to 0-8, with a series of tough games ahead. Being competitive shouldn’t cut it for this team or this fan base, reeling from another tough loss to a more talented team.
The Raiders defense played decent despite difficult field position from Raiders mistakes. Carr threw two interceptions and punt returner TJ Carrie lost a fumble in the second quarter, part of what interim head coach Tony Sparano calls “Oakland beating Oakland.”
The Raiders played as bad as can be in a first half that ended with Seattle up 24-3, but special teams gave them life in the second. Defensive lineman Denico Autry blocked a punt after the defense stopped Seattle on the second half’s opening drive, and Brice Butler recovered the ball in the end zone.
That cut the lead to 24-10, and the Raiders sliced that total in half after another strong defensive effort and a 27-yard punt return by TJ Carrie. The Raiders cashed in on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line, in which Derek Carr connected with Mychal Rivera near the baseline.
That made it a one-score game with a full quarter to play. The Raiders made a pivotal 3rd-down stop, but the drive continued due to a defensive holding call away from the play. Marshawn Lynch broke a big run and Seattle got a much-needed 30-yard field goal to make it 27-17.
The intrigue was fun while it lasted. Seattle hit another field goal, created a 13-point lead and hung on to win despite a terrible showing from quarterback Russell Wilson.
The Raiders defense played well, but not good enough to keep the Raiders in the game late.
Carr’s no-good, very bad first half: Carr had his worst half as a professional against the Seattle defensive and the boisterous Seahawks home crowd.
He was 11-for-22 for 95 yards and two interceptions. He also had a sack fumble that was recovered by the Raiders. He was clearly flustered by the Seahawks defense, which created pressure and defended well in the secondary.
He threw a pick-six and had another pass intercepted by cornerback Richard Sherman, who feasted on a poorly-thrown to Andre Holmes’ back shoulder.
The Raiders were just 3-of-9 on third down and never reached the red zone due in part to Carr’s struggles.
Irvin’s big tip: Carr’s first interception came on an excellent play by Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin. Carr tried to lob a pass to receiver James Jones, but Irvin leaped, tipped the ball straight up and caught it himself. He sprinted 35 yards into the end zone for the first pick-six of Carr’s career.
Lynch proves tough to stop: The Raiders hadn’t seen a power back like Marshawn Lynch this season, and had a difficult time slowing him down.
That was evident on a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Lynch was held up at the line of scrimmage, but the Oakland native kept churning forward (with some help from his linemen) and eventually bullied his way into the end zone.
Lynch was effective throughout the game and wore on the Raiders defense. He finished the game with 67 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 carries.
Autry blocks punt: Raiders defensive lineman Denico Autry, playing his second game this year after being promoted from the practice squad, blocked a third-quarter punt by Jon Ryan. The ball scooted toward the end zone, where Brice Butler recovered it for a Raiders touchdown.
The score cut the lead to 24-10 early in the second half.
Injury update: Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter but returned a short while later. He ran well on a 27-yard punt return late in the third quarter.
Injuries will be updated further later Sunday night.
Sitting it out: Raiders veteran cornerback Carlos Rogers was ruled out with a knee injury, and TJ Carrie started in his stead. DJ Hayden saw increased snaps as the No. 3 cornerback.
In addition, quarterback Matt McGloin, receiver Vincent Brown, cornerbacks Chimdi Chekwa and Keith McGill, tight end David Ausberry and guard Tony Bergstrom were also ruled inactive.
What's next: The road doesn’t get any easier following a loss to the Seahawks. They play Denver at home a week after a loss to New England. Then they get San Diego coming off a bye, looking to get right after three straight losses. The Raiders are certainly staring 0-10 in the face.