The Las Vegas Raiders are one and done in the NFL playoffs.
They had made it back to the postseason for the first time since 2016, hoping to extend what already was a tumultuous season.
But it wasn’t the outcome they hoped for after a 26-19 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium.
The final play was a fourth-and-goal that saw Raiders quarterback Derek Carr thrown an interception near the goal line on a pass that was intended for Zay Jones.
And just like that, the season had ended after a chaotic campaign that saw its share of both ups and downs, topped by the Raiders clinching a playoff berth with an overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday night.
Las Vegas entered the game against the Bengals as the AFC’s fifth seed.
The Raiders were powered this season by an improved defense that helped set up six come-from-behind victories by Carr — giving him 30 overall since coming into the league in 2014.
Yet some fans want Carr gone, blaming him for the failures after a 10-7 season.
PLEASE LET THAT BE THE LAST GAME DEREK CARR PLAYS AS A RAIDER!
— BLACKHOLE (@Black_Hole8) January 16, 2022
— Silver&BlaccEverything (@BobbyMacc79) January 16, 2022
— Free Deez Nuggs (@itsartee__) January 16, 2022
Carr is a tremendous leader. WE DO NOT STEP FOOT ON THAT FIELD TODAY IF WE DIDNT HAVE DEREK CARR. Carr lives and breathes for this team. I don’t understand why people always hate in this man. If you were a real raider fan you would know that he has been our best quarterback ever
— Gabe (@gabeculver_15) January 16, 2022
But then there were others, including former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III, who backed Carr.
Man, not the outcome the Raiders wanted but Derek Carr doesn’t get enough credit as a player or a leader. After all the Raiders have dealt with this year, he lead them through the storm and into the playoffs. We have to start giving him the respect he has earned.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) January 16, 2022
Raiders fans showing their whole ass with these Derek Carr takes. Lemme know where you’ll find someone better than him to run this team out there. There isn’t. Get some playmakers on the outside, fix the OL, CB depth. We’re back next year.
— Nick Silverman (@NickySilv) January 16, 2022
Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby also rallied to Carr.
“Derek had one of his best seasons,” he said. “If not the best season he’s had. I can go on and on.”
I’d sign up for Derek Carr for Steelers QB1 in 2022.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) January 15, 2022
Said wide receiver Zay Jones: A quarterback like Derek —And I don’t want to hear any Derek Carr slander — that’s my guy.”
Hunter Renfrow spoke highly of his quarterback on Sunday.
“I can’t say enough good things about Derek and how it didn’t matter who was out there,” he said. “He’s really done that his whole career. He’s a special player and no matter who is out there, he’s going to give them the ball and get us opportunities.”
The Raiders’ misfortunes against the Bengals could hardly all be blamed on Carr.
Las Vegas special-teamer Peyton Barber fielded a kickoff and stepped out on the 2-yard line.
Then there was a play on which Joe Burrow threw a touchdown, but not before a whistle was blown by one of the officials. It seemed the Raiders defenders hesitated after hearing the whistle, but the TD call stood and Cincinnati led 20-6.
Three holding penalties on a drive late in the third quarter prevented the Raiders from getting into the end zone. A touchdown would have cut the Bengals’ lead to 23-20, but the Raiders settled for a field goal to trail 23-16.
“We ran out of time and we did some uncharacteristic things with some penalties and give up some drives and didn’t capitalize in the red zone at times,” Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia said.
“It didn’t go our way today. Can’t say enough (about) the men in that locker room, our team and the way which they learned to compete, the way in which they came to today, in which they expressed their admiration for each other.”