KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Almost from the moment Derek Carr emerged from the Coliseum tunnel with his dislocated right pinkie popped into place 11 days ago, the Oakland Raiders quarterback has insisted there were "no limitations" to his game.
And yet ...
Carr has taken every snap since the injury -- which occurred on a mistimed exchange with center Rodney Hudson -- from either the shotgun or pistol formations to save the digit from another potential jam.
Add in the elements -- 21 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff with a windchill of 12 degrees at Arrowhead Stadium -- his massive left guard Kelechi Osemele a late scratch due to illness so severe he was taken to the hospital for treatment earlier in the day, and Carr's poor history against the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs and, well, you get a 21-13 loss, despite Oakland's defense pitching a shutout in the second half.
Though the Raiders forced three turnovers, including two in the red zone, they gained just 14 yards and could manage only a pair of Sebastian Janikowski field goals afterward.
Oakland also saw its playoff standing slip, from the No. 1 seed in the AFC to having to travel for a first-round playoff game as a wild card. Of course, there still are three games remaining, and the Raiders and Chiefs are tied for first in the AFC West at 10-3. But with the season sweep of the Raiders, the Chiefs own the tiebreaker.
Indeed, Oakland's postseason picture is as murky as the NFL MVP candidate's passing performance Thursday.
"Derek Carr just had a bad night," former Raiders coach Tom Flores said during the radio broadcast. "That ball was all over the place."
Carr, with his right pinkie taped to the rung finger but not covered with a glove (he did wear one on his left hand), completed 17 of 41 passes for a season-low 117 yards, and yes, he was hurt by numerous drops and poor route-running by his receivers.
"As the leader of the offense and the team I feel sick to my stomach that we put something like that out there on film and it hurts," Carr said. "I can promise you that. We put too much time into this to go and do something like that."
Carr said neither the elements nor his finger had anything to do with the results, insisting he felt warm all night long.
Yet, Carr was off and badly out of sync with his receivers all night, perhaps no more so than in the fourth quarter, when he had Amari Cooper wide open on a scramble drill, but Cooper took a bad angle and simply missed the ball.
Cooper said the ball moved on him at the last second and several fans have said that replays show the ball hitting NBC's camera wire that goes over the field.
"That's why it looked like I might have stumbled," said Cooper, who had five catches for 29 yards. "I was running in the right direction and it kind of moved inside at the last minute and I didn't have time to get it."
The magic that contributed so much to the Raiders' fast start this season just was not there for them late Thursday, and Carr's fade pass to Seth Roberts on the left sideline near the end zone was broken up by Terrance Mitchell on fourth down on the final play before the two-minute warning.
Carr's record against the Chiefs fell to 1-5 after completing the second-lowest percentage of passes in a game in his career, and the lowest by any quarterback to attempt at least 40 passes in a game since Ryan Lindley was 18-for-44 in Week 16 of the 2014 season, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Of Carr's 41 attempts, 14 were off target, the second-most of any game in his three-year career, surpassed only by the 15 he had at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 15 of his rookie season.
"We got punched in the mouth," Carr said. "Now we've got to respond.
"Everything about tonight was unusual, to be honest. To have our defense step up for us and make plays like that and for us to go out there and not execute, do things that we don't do, that's why it's frustrating. And I promise you, that's why I'm not worried. Obviously we played awful. It wasn't good enough but I'm not worried because I know the guys in that locker room...it just sucks."