Game Ball is a weekly series that awards a “game ball” to the player of the game for the Oakland Raiders. Only one player will be chosen, and this one is for Week 4 against the Ravens.
Awarding a game ball to a player, coach, or anyone deserving is a long-standing tradition in the NFL. And that is what serves as the inspiration for this weekly series.
Some games, many players may be deserving to be recognized as the player of the game — while some games, maybe only a couple of players are deserving. No matter what, there is always at least one person who stands out above the rest.
In Week 4, that player was Derek Carr.
Carr’s stat-line wasn’t flashy, at least in the yardage department — 199 yards is a quiet day for DC. But he delivered where it mattered the most, throwing four touchdown passes. Carr accounted for all 28 points the Raiders scored on Sunday.
Carr completed 71.4 percent of his passes and he didn’t take a single sack in the game — although a lot of that credit goes to the offensive line, Carr has greatly improved in avoiding sacks thus far in 2016.
Let’s go through each of Carr’s touchdown passes. Starting with the first one, which was a diving catch by Seth Roberts.
Touchdown #2 gave Oakland a 14-3 lead. Carr delivered a beauty to Crabtree, as these two are starting to become masters of the fade route.
Each of Carr’s touchdowns on Sunday got better and better. TD #3 was a strike to Crabtree, who hung on for his second score of the day. This one came on 3rd & 8, and gave the Raiders a 21-12 lead.
Last but certainly not least — down one point with a little more than two minutes remaining in the game, Carr and Crabtree connected for Crab’s third touchdown on the day, and Carr’s fourth.
Crabtree used an incredible shake move, and Carr delivered the ball right on the money. Crabtree also did a fantastic job getting both feet in bounds. This play was just downright filthy, and it proved to be the game-winner.
If anyone wanted to argue and say Crabtree is deserving of the game ball, you’ll get zero argument from me. He was absolutely incredible, and the Raiders would have lost without him. But the same can be said for Carr, who delivered multiple picture perfect passes in big moments, and he’s the leader of the team.
The offense and the team in general go as Carr goes. The Raiders were down, but not out. Their franchise quarterback refused to go out with a loss, and grabbed a hard-fought victory on the road against an undefeated team.
Thank you, Derek Carr.