ALAMEDA, Calif. – Two days after losing star quarterback Derek Carr to a broken leg that dealt a serious blow to Oakland’s Super Bowl hopes, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio has no regrets about the decision to pass the ball with a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Del Rio said Monday that the decision to stay aggressive with 11 minutes left Saturday and Oakland leading Indianapolis 33-14 was validated when the Colts rallied within eight points before losing .
“You won by one score basically,” Del Rio said. “Andrew Luck, people here in the Bay Area have a pretty good understanding of what he’s capable of. I know I do. We felt like you had to keep the pedal down on that opponent and that quarterback and that game. You’re talking about a team facing elimination.”
The decision to pass on a second-and-18 proved harmful when usually reliable left tackle Donald Penn lost his footing and allowed his first sack of the season. Trent Cole twisted Carr to the ground and broke his right leg on the sack .
Now, instead of looking to roll into their first playoff berth since 2002 behind Carr and a high-powered offense, the Raiders (12-3) hand the reins to Matt McGloin. The 2013 undrafted free agent hasn’t started a game since that year.
McGloin will get his first test Sunday in Denver when the Raiders can clinch the AFC West and a first-round bye with a victory over the Broncos, or if Kansas City loses in San Diego. If Oakland loses the game and the division, the Raiders will open the postseason on wild-card weekend at AFC South champion Houston.
With so much still at stake, the Raiders have no time to feel bad for their fate.
“It’s a tough game, and things happen in this game. It’s all about the team, it’s all about us moving on with the next opportunity and pulling together as a group of men and sacrificing and pulling for each other, and all those things,” Del Rio said. “That doesn’t change. It doesn’t change regardless of who it is. It’s about the team. It’s about us winning, and it’s not in any way meant to be insensitive.”
McGloin has thrown 55 passes since making six starts late in the 2013 season. He won his debut start at Houston before losing the final five and returning to the role of backup after Carr was drafted the following year
But McGloin did have to deliver a few key throws to seal the victory over the Colts. He converted a third-down pass to Andre Holmes on his first drive to help burn about two minutes off the clock before the Raiders punted.
Then, with Oakland protecting an eight-point lead just before the two-minute warning, McGloin converted another third-down pass when he hit Amari Cooper for a 19-yard gain on third-and-8. The Raiders then took three knees to run out the clock.
“Really competitive guy. Really attacks his preparation. A little bit fearless. I think he’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, I’d say,” Del Rio said. “We expect our guys when they step in and play to play well, and we expect to win with them. I mean, he made a couple of nice throws at the end there.”
NOTES: Del Rio had no update on WR Michael Crabtree, who has been dealing with an injured finger and left in the third quarter. … DL Mario Edwards Jr. played 18 snaps in his first game of the season after a hip injury in the preseason. “He had a big smile on his face. He was just happy to be back in the action and get a chance to play again,” Del Rio said.