Derek Carr Benched for AJ McCarron in Raiders' Blowout Loss to 49ers

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) looks to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/John Hefti)
John Hefti/Associated Press

Down 31-3 in the fourth quarter to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, the Oakland Raiders benched starting quarterback Derek Carr.

AJ McCarron took over for the Raiders offense with 11 minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the contest.

Carr was 16-of-22 for 171 passing yards before being taken out of the game.

Although the passing numbers don't look too bad, he was also sacked seven times, and many of them were his fault, as Will Brinson of CBS Sports argued:

Will Brinson @WillBrinson

Derek Carr has sacked himself at least six times tonight.

As ESPN Stats and Info noted, he also wasn't taking too many chances down the field:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Derek Carr entered tonight's game with the shortest average pass distance in the NFL (5.9 air yards) His 6 passes on the Raiders opening drive averaged 1.3 air yards, with none thrown deeper than 3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. https://t.co/sguc0SQAxO

]With Carr taking nine quarterback hits and scrambling three times for five yards, it's possible the Raiders were simply protecting him by taking him out. 

Of course, the benching is still notable considering the 27-year-old had played every offensive snap for Oakland this season, per Pro Football Reference. The team also had six losses in its first seven games, including four by double digits, so there were opportunities to bench him in the past.

The Raiders gave Carr a five-year, $125 million contract before last season, but it hasn't led to team success in 2018. Although he entered the day with a 94.5 quarterback rating, he has been extremely conservative with the ball and still has eight interceptions compared to just 10 touchdowns.

McCarron's appearance is his first of the year and just 12th of his career after being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014. He hasn't made a start since 2015 and will likely return to the bench as Carr regains his starting role next week.