Jon Gruden’s first season as head coach of the Oakland Raiders hasn’t exactly gone according to plan, with the team 4-11 heading into Sunday’s season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs. But what’s perhaps more disturbing than the record along are the times all players have seemed checked out, from a late lead against the Dolphins blown through a series of remarkable plays to a brutal thumping from Nick Mullens (!) and the San Francisco 49ers to Derek Carr’s fourth-and-five throwaway in a loss to the Chargers that led to the infamous “I gotta get the f*ck out of here” post-game comment. And there’s another incredible one to add to the list from Sunday.
Sunday’s play saw tight end Jared Cook was isolated one-on-one against Chiefs’ safety Daniel Sorensen after the team split four receivers to the other side. Sounds great, right? Well, Cook just stopped dead partway through his route without turning, quarterback Derek Carr threw at his back, and Sorensen came up with one of the easiest pick-sixes you’ll ever see:
Here’s the replay, featuring analyst Bruce Arians weighing in in strong terms:
“It was all set up to get a one-on-one for Jared Cook, and he obviously didn’t run a route, but how can Derek Carr throw that ball? He makes some of the decisions that just make you go ‘What the flip!,’ you know what I mean. You can’t throw it to that guy!”
That also has analyst Trent Green calling Cook “clueless” in terms of the ball coming at him. So high marks all around for the Raiders there. And amazingly, while that’s just an astoundingly bad play, it’s not far from how the Raiders have often played this season. And it’s part of a game where they’re trailing 35-3 in the fourth quarter. If they do wind up heading to London for their home games next year, spare a thought for the British audiences exposed to this sort of “football.”