In what was deemed a “must win” game for the Raiders, Derek Carr was able to exorcise his demons against the Chiefs and pull out a season-saving 31-30 victory.
Going into last night’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, Derek Carr was 1-5 with very meager stats to boot. His quarterback rating in those six games is 69.2 with six touchdowns and five interceptions. The Chiefs have been Carr’s kryptonite throughout the first three years of his career, and things were not really expected to be any different last night.
Throw it back to 2014 when the Raiders started the season 0-10 with Carr at the helm. Remember the first team he beat? The Chiefs. Remember what night that victory came on? Yes, a Thursday night. The Raiders needed a spark then, and they really needed one last night. On both occasions, Carr delivered game winning touchdowns late in the fourth quarter.
Now that doesn’t excuse the other five games the Raiders dropped to the Chiefs in the last couple seasons, but it is a step in the right direction. Sitting at 2-4, after dropping four in a row, the Raiders needed a savior. Everyone knew who the savior was, they were just waiting for him to arrive.
Granted, having a couple of fractures in your back must make it tough to play football. Hence one missed game and a mediocre performance the week after for Carr. But throughout the first six games of this season, Carr didn’t look like the second highest paid player in the league.
He has not been the MVP candidate fans watched last season, and he wasn’t necessarily last night either. But it was a lot closer to the player he is expected to be.
Any fan who paid any attention last season knows that Carr has the clutch gene needed in games like these. I cannot speak for the rest of Raider Nation, but I don’t really think there has been any doubt that the true Carr would return, it was just a question of when.
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In what many people, including myself, deemed as a must win game, he returned. Carr not only beat the Chiefs, but he overcame a bunch of skeptical calls in the process, including an offensive pass interference on what would have been the game winning touchdown. Carr completed 29 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns, including a game-winner to Michael Crabtree as time expired.
Now I know this article is a testament to Carr and his performance, but he would not have been able to put that last drive together had the defense not held the Chiefs to a three-and-out on their last possession. Carr deserves most of the credit for this win (although he won’t accept it). But, Khalil Mack and the Raiders defense needs to be recognized for making a play when it mattered the most.
Now sitting at 3-4, the Raiders are not out of the playoff picture quite yet. While is it still likely the Chiefs win the division, the Raiders can definitely win a Wild Card spot. It may have not been clean, or pretty for that matter, but it was effective. A win is a win, and this was a huge boost of confidence for the Raiders.
Carr delivered when it mattered, and hopefully this is the spark the Raiders needed to return to the form that people were so hyped about coming into the season. It will not happen overnight, and many things still need to be fixed. With a healthy and hungry Carr, and a defense that improves every week…the season is far from over.