Arrowhead Stadium has been a real-life house of horrors for Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr ever since he put on an NFL uniform. Figments haunt most people in their dreams. For Carr, it’s the 76,000-plus in attendance for a Kansas City Chiefs game.
They are his Freddy Krueger, Jason and Michael Myers.
On Sunday, Carr returns to that same building, where he is 0-3 in his career, to attempt to put an end to the same nightmare that has been going on for the last three years.
“[Winning a game at Arrowhead Stadium is] definitely No. 1 right now,” Carr said, via The Mercury News. “Especially this week. It’s something we have not been able to do since I’ve been here, so we’ve got to get on that… I don’t know if I’m allowed to say I enjoy going to their stadium, but I do. It’s loud, it’s fun and I like playing in the noise because you’re in your own little zone. You can kind of cancel everything else out. I do enjoy going there, but it’d feel a lot better afterwards if we could win a game.”
Carr could get his wish on Sunday, going against a depleted opponent on a four-game losing streak. He’ll be throwing into a Kansas City secondary without All-Pro safety Eric Berry and corner Marcus Peters. Berry is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles, and Peters was suspended by the team for picking up and throwing an official’s penalty flag in last week’s loss to the New York Jets. Not having those two lurking in the secondary should make life significantly easier for Carr.
The Chiefs’ inconsistent pass rush will as well.
Carr has been sacked a total of seven times combined in his three visits to Kansas City. The Chiefs’ ability to rush him off his spot and force him into making mistakes has been the recipe for success against him at Arrowhead, but that recipe may no longer work without the right ingredients. Justin Houston is the only disrupter on defense right now, while other talented players, such as veteran linebacker Dee Ford, are struggling to get pressure on quarterbacks.
The primary concern for Carr is playing without star wideout Amari Cooper, who is coming off a concussion and an ankle injury. If he’s unable to go on Sunday, it would severely limit Carr’s options through the air.
It still wouldn’t change the fact that the Chiefs are clearly trending downward. The Raiders have problems of their own, but they have proven themselves to be the more dependable of the two teams in recent weeks. They also already own a 31-30 victory over the Chiefs earlier in the season. The earlier version of the Chiefs was a better team than the one the Raiders are scheduled to play on Sunday.
What has been a house of horrors could soon turn into Carr’s stomping grounds.