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Yukon Territories

Miscues, missed chances cost Raiders in loss to Steelers

PITTSBURGH (AP) — No miracle ending this time. Only more of the same for the Las Vegas Raiders.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — No miracle ending this time. Only more of the same for the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Raiders, who essentially gave New England a win in one of the most unlikely walk-off touchdowns in NFL history last Sunday, failed to maintain the momentum in a 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday night, which they as good as eliminated from the playoffs.

Las Vegas led for more than 50 minutes but gave way to the emotionally charged Steelers (7-8) and let Pittsburgh’s rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett rush for 76 yards in 10 games, the last 14 of which included a strike on rookie wide receiver George Pickens 46 seconds remaining.

When Derek Carr threw his third and final interception — a floater that Pittsburgh’s Cam Sutton smashed in with 29 seconds remaining — all the good mojo the Raiders had built while winning four of five to get back on the brink of postseason racing get, gone.

Turning over three times, committing a handful of costly penalties, and failing to capitalize on Pittsburgh’s inexperienced and ineffective offense will do.

The game followed a formula that became ingrained in Las Vegas during head coach Josh McDaniels’ uneven first season: It was close to the end. Given the way the Raiders’ defense kept Pittsburgh out of the end zone in the first 59 minutes, maybe it shouldn’t have been.

“We got a lot out of it and when you lose that way you realize you’re close, but close doesn’t really count in this league,” said McDaniels, whose team has played in 12 one-score games so far. “Obviously I have to do a better job to try to close the gap.”

Carr didn’t blame the cold -13 degree Celsius weather for his performance, and he hardly looked cold during an opening run, which he ended with a 14-yard touchdown against Hunter Renfroe.

Yet Las Vegas couldn’t muster any real respite, thanks in large part to a return to the sloppy form that plagued it during a 2-5 start. Each of Carr’s three interceptions occurred on Pittsburgh territory. Throw in penalties like a 15-yard facemask from tight end Foster Moreau that brought back a long run from Josh Jacobs, and the Raiders left Pittsburgh hanging around for far too long.

“We thought we were making progress in some areas and obviously we haven’t done that well enough today,” Carr said. “Just have to do our job. Keep going. … Tomorrow you have to prepare for the next one. But this one stings.”

Mainly because it means a big picture. Las Vegas is built to win now. Barring one miracle, it will miss the postseason despite a series of splashy offseason moves, namely trading wide receiver Davante Adams.

While Adams was dynamic, he was held up on just two catches for 15 yards on a night when Pittsburgh’s veteran-laden defense made enough stops for his incredibly young offense, which boasts no ability position players older than 26 to to get it together late.

“We’re talented, but talent doesn’t equal wins,” said Carr. “I’ve seen that firsthand over the years.”

The Las Vegas defense played well for most of the night but lost defensive end Chandler Jones – whose unlikely lateral return breathed life into the Raiders’ season against New England last week – to injury. He was joined late on the touchline by inside linebacker Denzel Perryman.

With two of their fulcrums there, the Raiders couldn’t do much to disrupt Pickett, who steadily got the Steelers across the field in the final seconds. His best throw was his last, a fastball down the middle to Pickens that slightly split defenders despite being Pittsburgh’s best — and sometimes only — downfield threat.

“When you turn the ball around and give the other team more opportunities than you have, it’s a good field position that’s impossible to beat,” McDaniels said.


AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

The Associated Press

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