Cook appeared rattled by pressure, was off-target on many of his 45 passes, often hitting defensive backs in the hands, and got no help from his receivers. The rookie finished with 18-of-45 passing for 161 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions for a 30.0 passer rating. It was the second-lowest passer rating for any QB making his playoff debut since 1991 (min 25 attempts), per NFL Research.
At halftime Oakland trailed 20-7. Cook had earned a 28.6 completion percentage and a 9.8 passer rating. If veteran backup Matt McGloin were healthy enough to play, surely coach Jack Del Rio should have made a quarterback change.
"I asked at halftime and the coaches really felt that there were other things that were kind of contributing and there wasn't going to be a big change based on the change at quarterback," Del Rio said after the loss. "So we stayed the course with it."
Either McGloin was hurt worse than the Raiders are letting on or that's an indictment of what coaches think of the popgun-armed backup.
"It's not my decision," McGloin said. "It doesn't really matter what I do, what I think. I had tremendous help from the training staff and the strength coaches throughout the course of the week to be as healthy as I could be to be available if they needed me to go in."
The Raiders stuck with Cook, who made some great throws at times (one beautiful sideline arching teardrop was dropped by Amari Cooper) but showed the accuracy issues that plagued him at Michigan State. He also held onto the ball too long at times and began seeing ghosts in the pocket.
"I got pressured a little bit and it got to me sometimes," Cook said. "That falls on me. There were a few times I held on to the ball too long. I need to get it out of my hands and check to the backs. Stuff like that I can improve on. They have very good coverage on the outside. They play good defense and the windows were tight, but that falls on my shoulders to deliver very accurate passes to our receivers."
The Raiders didn't help out the rookie. Cooper and Michael Crabtree combined for four receptions on 17 targets for 43 yards. Oakland ran the ball 21 times for just 64 yards, a 3.0 yards per carry average.
"We had hopes that we'd be able to do enough around (Cook) that he wouldn't be called on to do as much," Del Rio added. "I think we ended up throwing it 45 or more times in the game. That's not the design, I can assure you that. We want to go into this game and pass it 20-25 times and run it the other 45 times. So it got out of whack there."
Out of whack indeed. Now the Raiders are out of the playoffs.