Raiders top Colts, but lose Derek Carr to injury

The Raiders (12-3) ended the playoff hopes for the Indianapolis Colts (7-8) with a 33-25 victory, but Oakland lost its quarterback for an indefinite period on Saturday. Here's what we learned in the Week 16 clash:

  1. Just when it seemed the Raiders were hitting their stride for a Super Bowl run, their MVP candidate collapsed to the turf with a serious lower-leg injury. Quarterback Derek Carr was carted to the locker room after his right ankle was twisted awkwardly beneath his body early in the fourth quarter. Raiders coach Jack Del Rio told reporters after the game Carr suffered a broken fibula and is out indefinitely.

The timing is crushing. Carr had led the offense on five consecutive touchdown drives from the middle of the first quarter through the latter portion of the third quarter. Preseason sensation Matt McGloin came on to replace the starter, hitting Amari Cooper on a clutch third-down conversion to keep Andrew Luck off the field and drain the clock in an eight-point game.

  1. Carr's injury overshadows a promising showing for a Raiders offense that been searching for consistency since the deflating loss at Kansas City two weeks ago. Oakland's top-notch offensive line built a forcefield around Carr and opened holes for a three-headed backfield that is more dynamic with rookie DeAndre Washington back in the mix. Michael Crabtree converted a series of third-down opportunities before an ankle injury of his own ended his day prematurely.
  1. Coming off their best performance of the season in last week's blowout victory versus the Vikings' fatally flawed attack, the Colts defense was simply outclassed by a superior offense in Oakland. They allowed 193 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground through the first three quarters and didn't get a finger on Carr until Cole's early-fourth sack knocked the quarterback out of the game. While the perennially beleaguered offensive line actually boasts promising building blocks to turn the unit around, the defensive front seven is desperately in need of talented young pass rushers and run stuffers next offseason.
  1. The Raiders still have a shot at the No. 1 seed if the Patriots lose in Miami next week. They will clinch the AFC West title and a first-round bye if the Chiefs lose to the Broncos on Sunday. They could certainly use the rest in the wake of Sunday's injuries.
  1. While the spotlight is rightfully directed at Defensive Player of the Year candidateKhalil Mack, the Raiders have another edge-rushing playmaker at outside linebacker in Bruce Irvin. Being hailed as the "Robin" to Mack's "Batman" after notching five sacks in the past five games, a disruptive Irvin hit Luck three times on Sunday. Jack Del Rio's defense will build around this dynamic duo going forward.
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