A top five list of moments/in-game performances from Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
The 2014 NFL Draft will always hold a special place in the hearts of Oakland Raiders fans, as well as it should. Not only did the team draft a future NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Khalil Mack as well as a top-tier guard in Gabe Jackson, but that draft also landed the Silver and Black a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr.
Through his first three seasons in the NFL, Carr has quickly put himself into elite company. Thus far in his young career, he has mustered 81 touchdowns, over 1,000 completions and over 11,000 yards passing. Not to mention his record-setting season in 2016, in which he became the first player in NFL history to throw five game-winning touchdowns in either the 4th quarter or overtime in a single season.
Oh, and he also just became the highest paid player in NFL history.
The scary part about all of this is that “DC” is only 26 years of age, and we surely are yet to see the best of him. From what we’ve seen so far, here are the top five moments of his young career.
#5 – Derek Carr’s first career Pro Bowl
Derek Carr took a significant leap in his game in his sophomore season, and by the season’s end, Raider Nation knew they had their franchise quarterback. Following a strong year in 2015, Carr was elected to his first Pro Bowl.
Carr didn’t play the full game, but he still led his team in total passing. On the day, he went 14 of 25 for 198 yards and also added a touchdown pass. Most notably, he threw was could one of the greatest passes we have ever seen.
Even though Pro Bowl’s don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, it was vindication that the Raiders had their guy. A player at the game’s most important position who was deserving to represent the AFC as one of the better players at quarterback. It was also a sign of what was to come.
#4 – Carr throws for a franchise record 513 yards
In the humidity of Tampa Bay, the Raiders were on the last of back-to-back road games on the east coast to take on the Buccaneers.
While it appeared that the Raiders were the far better team in this one, the Bucs were able to keep the game close for the entirety of the evening. While the Raiders offense was seeming to click on all cylinders, the defense was once again lacking, which forced Derek Carr to display a Herculean effort in order to pull out the win.
This was another one of the many games in 2016 which gave Raiders fans heart problems, as it was going to be decided in overtime. Carr went on to win the game in walk-off fashion by throwing a 41-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts.
Although the ending was electric, the overall performance Carr put forth was something to behold. Carr went 40 of 59 for 513 yards and he also threw 4 touchdowns. It was the single best performance of his career and it certainly ignited MVP chatter among all of the national media.
#3 – Carr’s first career game-winning drive/first career win
On a rainy Thursday night in Oakland, the 0-10 Raiders were facing the division rival Kansas City Chiefs. Leading up to the game, the winless Raiders were major underdogs, as the Chiefs were considered a top two team in the AFC.
The Raiders jumped out to a 17-3 lead late in the 3rd quarter, but the Chiefs would claw their way back into the game, eventually taking a 20-17 lead.
With about nine minutes remaining in the game, Carr engineered a 17-play, 80-yard drive that would span 7 minutes and 21 seconds. He went 4 of 7 on the drive for 36 yards, but the drive was kept alive with two 3rd down conversions as well as one 4th down conversions.
And then there was his game-winning touchdown pass to James Jones with 1:42 left in the game.
This game did not only get Carr his first career win, but it would officially usher in a new era of greatness for the Silver and Black.
#2 – Carr throws game winning two-point conversion
To kick off the 2016 season, the Raiders would travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints. At one point, the Raiders were down 24-13 and most fans were thinking the game was just about over.
But Carr and the offense fought fire with fire, finding themselves down 33-26 with 6:03 left. Carr then put together a drive that went for 11 plays for 75 yards, and was capped by a touchdown pass to Seth Roberts.
Down 34-33, most teams would have just kicked the extra point and taken their chances in overtime, but the longer the offense stood out on the field, Raider Nation began to realize that Jack Del Rio was going to leave his offense on the field to go for two.
While this left every member of Raider Nation a nervous wreck, it also showed how much trust the coaching staff had in Derek Carr. To put the game in his hands, win or lose, was a tremendous amount of pressure to place on their young quarterback.
Carr rose the occasion, delivered a beauty of a pass to Michael Crabtree on a fade route, and the rest was history.
This was the first of many close-call games by the 2016 Oakland Raiders, and Carr was the one constant in all of them.
#1 – “The Pinky Game”
In Week 13 of the 2016 season, the Raiders were welcoming in the defending NFC champions Carolina Panthers to town. At this point in the season, the Raiders were riding a five-game winning streak and were putting a stranglehold on the top seed in the AFC.
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By the start of the 3rd quarter, the Raiders were holding a 24-7 lead and it all but looked like this was a sure win. Then the aforementioned pinky of Derek Carr snapped in an instant. It was a gruesome scene, and seeing Carr run full speed into the locker room sucked the air out of the Coliseum.
As Raider Nation held their collective breath, Carr came running out of the locker room a short time later, and was welcomed back with a thunderous roar from the home crowd.
By the time Carr returned, the Panthers seized momentum and stormed back to take the lead by a barrage of defensive stops as well as big offensive plays. The Raiders looked like they were going to have to play from behind, just like they had done in all of 2016.
Carr led another 4th quarter comeback for the ages, and with a little help from Khalil Mack, the Raiders would go on to win the game by a score of 35-32. This game was dubbed as “The Pinky Game” and it only added to the growing legend of Derek Carr.