DETROIT – Amari Cooper had a pass hit in the hands and fall to the turf. The Raider rookie receiver typically shrugs off good plays and bad without feeling, but this miscue made his blood boil.
It was his second drop of the day, and it stilted a fourth-quarter drive with the Raiders down three points. In his own super-subdued way, Cooper snapped.
He dropped to his knees and used the Ford Field turf as a punching bag.
“I didn’t see him doing that so I can’t comment on it,” quarterback Derek Carr said, “but I think we’re all frustrated.”
Cooper has a right to be mad. He had the worst game of his young professional career Sunday, registering one catch for four yards in an 18-13 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Drops were, and are a rare weakness in an otherwise polished game. He has 10 drops in 11 games this season, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus. The miscues eat at him, especially in close games.
His yards after the catch have gone down the last four games, stifling the open-field elusiveness that has become his signature.
Cooper was shadowed by Lions cornerback Darius Slay and covered extremely well most of the day. Cooper was targeted just four times, and wasn’t a factor for an offense starving for a spark.
“They tried to roll up on him a little bit,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He ended up having just one (catch). He dropped a couple. He’s obviously a good player for us, and we need to find ways to get him involved. Anytime a player like that comes away from a game with one catch, we have to do a better job of (giving him opportunities).”