When the Raiders selected Derek Carr in the second round of the 2014 draft, they were hoping that he would eventually become the sort of quarterback that would bring the Raiders back from the brink when the need arose. And if you look at an NFL betting site like MyBookie.ag, no one thought he would deliver quite like he did on Monday.
Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree have had quite a memorable year; just three weeks ago, they broke the franchise record for passing yards in a game with 513.
Despite the trio’s achievement, the first 2 quarters of the Texans game presented a challenge. Carr was definitely forgettable in the first act of the Week 11 finale. The Raiders looked like they were ready to tell another sad story about a lackluster quarterback failing to deliver when it really mattered.
In fact, the entire Raiders’ offense seemed incapable of presenting a decent challenge in those initial minutes. The Raiders’ offense often struggles to overcome its weaknesses, specifically the fact that it is built on short, timing-based passes.
Carr didn’t help in this particular contest with his time to throw averaging at 2.29, very low even amongst the least impressive performances seen in week 11. Luckily for the Raiders, Carr has earned quite the reputation for pushing the ball down the field. Some Pundits believe that, maybe, the Raiders were not making effective use of Carr’s strong arm.
Either way, there was no room for Carr to take shots down the field. Analysts will point to the fact that he was unable to complete a pass traveling 20 plus yards in the air in the first half of the game; his average of 6.8 intended air yards in his passes was even less inspiring.
There were so many downfield passes from Carr that were off the mark that one wondered whether the Raiders had what it took to get it together with Carr failing so miserably.
Of course, it would be a mistake to throw all the blame on Carr’s shoulders; after all, there was a lot of problematic wide receiver play in the game. The Texans were a formidable foe. Their pass coverage kept the Raiders’ most powerful tools contained and restricted.
The team’s wideout’s hit far below the current NFL coverage when it came to yards of separation at target in the game.
If there is one thing that Carr should be credit for, it is having the courage to overcome his previous failures to initiate a counterattack, which is what every great quarterback is expected to do.
The Texans went up 17-10 in the third quarter, after which Carr was somehow able to deliver a touchdown throw to fullback Jamie Olawale; he also threw the game clincher to Jalen Richard in the fourth quarter, giving him his only 2 completions of longer than 20 air yards.
The Texans limited the movements of the Raiders’ best players, but Carr’s ability to make accurate deep throws still saved the day for them. This is how legendary NFL tales are written. Carr is set to make even more momentous plays and saves as his career progresses.