A dream season turned into a nightmare for the Oakland Raiders on Christmas Eve. Third-year quarterback and potential MVP candidate Derek Carr was rolling over the hapless Indianapolis Colts when the unthinkable happened. With 12 minutes in the fourth quarter, Carr suffered a leg injury (later to be revealed as a broken fibula) and his season was effectively ended.
The bright side is that the Raiders hung on to defeat the Colts 33 to 25. Oakland improved their record to 12-3 and are currently second in the AFC. The bad news is that, with the playoffs approaching, they will be turning their high-powered offense over to little-known quarterback Matt McGloin. Over four years, McGloin has started six games, owns an 11:11 touchdown to interception ratio and tossed 1,847 yards. Most of those stats were accumulated in 2013, when McGloin was a rookie. During that time he didn’t have the luxury of having two elite wide receivers to throw to, like he does now. In 2013, the Raiders leading receiver was Rod Streater. He know has Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
McGloin also has the luxury of a balanced running game and solid offensive protection. Oakland owns one of the best offensive lines in football with a daunting running back tandem of Latavius Murray, Deandre Washington and Jalen Richard. In short, Oakland’s roster is talented enough to carry McGloin through the playoffs. If he can be a game manager and limit his mistakes, Carr’s devastating injury may not mean the end to a great season. If the Raiders can beat the Broncos in Week 17, they will cement a first round playoff bye. Let’s see if McGloin, with his talented offense and an improving defense, can be enough to make a serious playoff run.