Injuries catching up to Raiders, derailing what was a promising season

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders, riding an increasingly depressing three-game losing streak, are not only getting blown out on the scoreboard but also in the game of attrition.

Yes, consecutive losses by 31, 31 and 21 points, the latest being Sunday's 42-21 home defeat to the Tennessee Titans, have the Raiders at 6-7. But injuries have compounded things and make you wonder if they can finish this strange season on a positive note.

Because not only were the Raiders without NFL offensive rookie of the year candidate Josh Jacobs at running back with what he said was a fractured shoulder suffered in Week 7, but one of his main blockers, right tackle Trent Brown, was out with a pectoral injury. Oh, and rookie tight end Foster Moreau, who caught his fifth touchdown pass of the season Sunday, went out with a knee injury on an awkward sideline tackle.

"Jacobs is our feature back," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said when asked how much Oakland missed him against Tennessee.

"We miss [rookie receiver Hunter] Renfrow, we miss Trent Brown, we miss Moreau, we miss [middle linebacker Vontaze] Burfict, we miss [rookie safety] John Abram, we miss [safety] Karl Joseph, I'll keep going. Our guys are fighting."

No, the Raiders do not miss Antonio Brown because they never truly had him. But the histrionics that led to him being cut just before the season opener left a huge hole in the offensive game plan.

One that continues to rear its head with the Raiders' lack of a true No. 1 wide receiver -- and maybe that's why quarterback Derek Carr seems to show a lack of trust in his wideouts.

Or did you miss him throwing the ball away on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line on a scramble drill to the right late in the fourth quarter? Now, to be fair, the Raiders were down 21 points at the time. And no one was, well, open. But that gunslinger that Carr was in 2016, before he suffered a broken right ankle in the 15th game of the season, was missing on that play.

"He kept the play alive for 12 seconds," Gruden said. "It wasn't like he just aborted the ball. He exhausted that play for what it was. I'm not going to be one to stand here and say that a turning point in the game, but I think he played really well today, Carr did, given what's going on around him. I think there's a big story there. At least, we recognize it and we're really proud of the way he's competing and performing with all the moving pieces."

Carr, meanwhile, was also looking for an author, saying someone should write a book on this season, presumably writing about the Brown fiasco to the epic travel to the injuries to a three-game winning streak followed up by a three-game losing streak.

"We did put ourselves in position to make a run and we didn't do it," Carr said. "It's just as simple as that, right?"

Right. He, too, echoed Gruden's feelings on that fourth-down play.

"They gloved our scramble drill," Carr said. "I tried to extend the play in the pocket, like we've been working on, we've been able to do it, extend the play, try to find somebody within the pocket, and then as soon as they get close, try to extend it outside the pocket. I promise you, I ran through the whole thing on that one.

"They've got seven DBs looking at me, waiting for the ball at that point. So, it is what it is. I don't think that was the turning point."

No, but it left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans, who wanted to see Carr at least try to make something ... anything ... happen in that instance. The bad taste transformed into a cascade of boos coming from the stands.

With only one game left in the Oakland Coliseum -- the Raiders close out at the Los Angeles Chargers and at the Denver Broncos before fully embracing Las Vegas -- there is only one chance to leave the East Bay faithful with a better vibe.

Enter the Jacksonville Jaguars ... and the Raiders' ever-growing injury list.

"We're missing some of the players that helped us win those three straight games," Gruden said. "The Golden State Warriors are going through a similar process [in the NBA]; it's not easy to win when you're not playing with your front-line guys. We're excited about the development of some young players, but it's on me. It's my responsibility to fix it and certainly doesn't look good the last few weeks.”