CINCINNATI — Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said earlier this month he had spent much of his childhood playing out just the scenario he faced Saturday night in an AFC wild-card game against the Bengals.
Down by seven, fourth-and-goal from just inside the 10-yard line with the clock ticking down.
“The hook play was right there at the hash,” Carr said. “The swirl route had him coming back in, but it was going to be tight with hands everywhere. I just tried to throw it hard to where Zay would catch it. … He ran a great route. Germaine Pratt made a great play.”
Pratt is the Bengals’ defender who came up with the ball.
“They did the same play again,” Pratt said, referring to a ball that was nearly intercepted by Jessie Bates. “So it was the same read for me. I read the quarterback’s eyes. … I just took advantage of the opportunity. It’s Cover 3, so my job was inside help, present for the slant or anything that’s coming to me.”
It was not the outcome the Raiders wanted or expected.
Carr, Jones, tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs all said the offense fully expected to score a touchdown and head to overtime for the fifth time this season. The Raiders were 4-0 during the regular season in the extra session.
It’s part of why interim coach Rich Bisaccia said he had already decided he would have his team kick an extra point to tie instead of going for a two-point conversion to try to win in regulation.
“We’ve been pretty good in overtime,” he said. “I’d hate to come this far and not give our guys a chance to keep playing football. It might have been a conversation, but I don’t think it would have been long.”
Jones said he will be thinking about the final play for some time.
“I just tried to get as open as possible,” he said. “I’d have to look at the film to see what I could’ve done better. If I have the privilege and honor to be back with this organization, I know it will motivate me and this team next year.”
The interception was Carr’s ninth turnover in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, the most of any player in the NFL according to ESPN Stats and Info. It was also the sixth time he was intercepted when targeting Jones.
Carr did become the first Raiders player with more than 300 passing yards in a playoff game since Jim Plunkett against the Browns in the 1983.
Waller feeling better
Star tight end Darren Waller just didn’t seem in sync with Carr in his return to the lineup last week after missing a month with a knee injury. He appeared much more comfortable on Saturday night.
Waller had team highs of seven catches and 12 targets for 76 yards and had a big catch down the seam on the final drive to pick up a third-and-17.
“I was pretty close,” Waller said when asked if he was playing at 100 percent. “I wouldn’t say I was completely healthy, but I was definitely good enough to be out there and play to the best of my ability.”
Josh Jacobs didn’t want his first career playoff game to end. The third-year running back out of Alabama ran 13 times for 83 yards and caught four passes for another 44 yards.
He took a moment to look around a jubilant Paul Brown Stadium and soak in the pain of losing a heartbreaker and have the season come to an end.
“I didn’t want to go,” he said. “I didn’t want the game to be over. I was frustrated. I think I had 50 something yards called back due to penalties. I try to inspire the play callers and inspire the guys by how I carry myself on the field. I was trying to motivate the guys on the sideline. It was a tough one for me.”