In a game where the first three quarters are as close and competitive as one could expect from two teams. Although, with a combined 3 wins, no one would ever expect a lopsided fourth quarter. While fans, coaches, and writers analyze and speculate where the Raiders’ wheels fell off, today we keep things positive
The biggest, non-statistical takeaway from this game is that Derek Carr still has it. “It” being the talent that rocked the NFL in 2016. However, “it” also means the respect of his teammates after his apparent breakdown in London against Seattle. Throughout the first three quarters, the Raiders played with passion. Yes, the (at the time) 1-5 Raiders were having fun. Carr laughed and smiled with his teammates after scores and big plays.
Looking back through the years of the NFL, fans have seen quarterbacks “lose the locker room”. Nevertheless, the Raiders did not look anything remotely close to that Throughout the first 45 minutes of the game, the Raiders’ offense proved their loyalty to Carr and played their hearts out. While it is unclear what was said amongst teammates during the bye, great speculation implies that Carr got the team to buy back in to the Commitment to Excellence, no matter how difficult the road may be. It could also be speculated that Carr felt his seat warming up after watching the at-times underperforming Amari Cooper get shipped to Dallas. Either way, Carr was a renewed man and his teammates noticed.
However, the statistical takeaways might be even more impressive. Carr put up numbers that one might expect from the quarterback on the winning team. Despite the loss, Carr logged 244 yards, 3 passing touchdowns, a 75% completion rate along with 0 interceptions and only 7 incompletions, a 136.6 QBR, and the first rushing touchdown of his career on a quarterback sneak in which he was able to jump the pile and barely stick the ball across the line.
Despite the rollercoaster season, Carr is on pace for 4,500 yards this season. The offensive line also stepped up immensely as they were able to keep Derek Carr off the ground and sack-free the whole game. But, not getting sacked does not mean he was not pressured. Carr was certainly under duress but instead of relying on his checkdown receiver or simply “turtling” to avoid any potential injury, Carr stood strong in the pocket and completed multiple deep throws.
Carr’s final touchdown pass of the game came when the pocket collapsed in front of Carr but Carr kept his poise and used impressive footwork to find throwing room to connect with a wide-open Brandon LaFell in the endzone. Also, the success and confidence of Carr rubbed off on his teammates as the team appeared to bond during success but not fall apart during failures. More impressively, the team maintained unity amid rumors of the front office shopping their best players.
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
While Martin Luther King Jr. meant something far more important than football, the quote still applies. After the embarrassing loss to the Redskins in 2017, rumors of divide in the locker room began to swirl. As a result, that pall hung over the team for the season. The rest of the season proved to be just as disappointing. But, football is not a competition of which team is more united. Yet, this unity showed that this team remains with Carr. In addition, his teammates still prepare to go to battle for him weekly.