It’s been a rough 2018 regular season for the (2-10) Oakland Raiders and on Sunday they’ll host the (7-4-1) Pittsburgh Steelers, a team looking to snap a two-game losing streak. The Steelers defense will enter that Sunday road game against the Raiders having only registered one turnover in their last three games and just 2 interceptions in their last nine games. However, registering an interception Sunday against the lowly Raiders offense might even be a chore for the Steelers defense and especially with Oakland quarterback Derek Carr being careful with the football most of this season.
While the Raiders offense has had its share of issues so far this season, Carr throwing interceptions hasn’t necessarily been one of them. In fact, Carr, who has thrown just 8 interceptions all season, hasn’t thrown one since Week 5. That’s a span of 220 total pass attempts. His last interception came against the Los Angeles Chargers as edge rusher Melvin Ingram picked-off an ill-advised throw from Carr in the end zone. You can see that play below.
— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) December 6, 2018
While Carr hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 5, he’s still managed to turn the football over 4 times in the team’s last 7 games via fumbles. In fact, he’s fumbled 7 times in total in the Raiders last seven games and all of them came on sacks.
Speaking of Carr being sacked, he’s suffered 38 of those so far this season and only four other quarterbacks have been sacked more entering Week 14. Additionally, only once has Carr not hit the ground at least one time during a game this season. While the Steele defense has struggled when it comes to creating turnovers this season, they do enter Week 14 as the league-leaders in sacks with 41. Throw in the fact that Raiders tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker haven’t been great in pass protection this season and it’s reasonable to expect the Steelers defense will easily be able to add to their sack totals on Sunday in Oakland and perhaps that’s the way they’ll register a few turnovers during the contest in the process.
“We’re in the process of working on it,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday when asked how much generating turnovers can actively be worked towards versus using just patience. “It’s done in a lot of ways. A lot of it is done by creating environments, putting the quarterback under duress and so forth. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been disappointed in the lack of turnovers, because the quarterback largely has been under duress in the games we’ve played. We’ve gotten after the quarterback. Our sack total is kind of a reflection of that. We’ve got to be more opportunistic. We’ve got to preach it, we’ve got to work it.”
It’s also now probably a great time to point out that the Raiders running backs fumbled three times in Oakland’s Week 13 Sunday loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, of the Raiders 17 total turnovers this season, 9 have now been by fumbles.
“The guys have got to deliver,” Tomlin said Tuesday regarding his defense needing to get more turnovers moving forward. “We’re definitely not going to sit on our hands and wait patiently for it to occur. We’re going to actively seek it, which is what we’re doing.”