Denarius Moore had one job.
With the ball in the red zone and less than a minute to go, Moore ran a crossing route and was open. The fourth-year pro had the ball in his grasps, but was focused on turning up-field instead of completing the catch.
The ball bounced off his mitts, and into the hands of New England defender Vince Wilfork, sealing Oakland’s loss to the Patriots by a score of 16-9.
Oakland’s defense stymied Tom Brady (24-for-37, 234 yards) for most of the day, allowing only one touchdown pass from one of the league’s few elite quarterbacks, though they were unable to force a turnover despite multiple opportunities.
And beyond the poor outing from Moore, who caught three passes on seven targets, the offense wasn’t half bad. Carr got five completions past cornerback Darrelle Revis, arguably the best the league has ever seen, and the offensive line didn’t allow a single sack.
The Raiders almost tied it up in the final seconds, but a nice run from Darren McFadden (18 carries, 59 yards) into the end zone was negated by a questionable holding penalty on rookie left guard Gabe Jackson.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen was confident enough in his team that he told reporters after the game that, if the play wasn’t negated, he had considered going for the two point conversion and the win.
Carr (21-for-34, 174 yards) didn’t throw a touchdown, though he didn’t throw a pick until the final seconds — and it wasn’t on him. He performed when asked, and appears ready to be given the full playbook and finally taken off training wheels.
The defense contained the New England rushing attack, one of the best in the league, after allowing the Houston Texans to run the ball at will during Week 2.
Wide receiver Rod Streater and safety Tyvon Branch will leave the Boston area on crutches after each broke a foot. Both players are key to the Oakland pass attack, on different sides of the ball, and both have been maligned through three weeks.
Key penalties continue to haunt the Raiders, though they continue to improve. Oakland committed six fouls for 49 yards, which could have been the difference in the game.
They only managed nine points. That won’t be good enough to win a single game this season, their defense isn’t very good. Both offense and defense will need to step it up in a big way if they plan on doing better than 0-16.
The Raiders will leave directly for London later Sunday night, and prepare for their easiest matchup of the season against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium next Sunday.