Coming into Monday night’s game, the Baltimore Ravens were 81-0 in their last 81 games when leading by 14 or more points. After Derek Carr and the defense’s performance on Monday, they were 81-1.
As Carr said in his postgame interview, Monday’s game was synonymous for his career in general. It was full of ups and downs, but at the end, Carr and the Raiders came out on top. Carr notched his 22nd career 4th quarter comeback victory, while the Raiders advanced to 1-0 to begin the year.
Carr started the game rough, and it raised some questions about head coach Jon Gruden’s decision to not play the starters at all in the preseason. Carr clearly looked very rusty, and he tried unsuccessfully to connect with Darren Waller several times in the 1st quarter. The entire offense looked to be in a funk, and after seeing how well they played in the final three quarters and overtime, they might have put up 50 if they didn’t have to shake the rust off.
Carr looked very off in the first couple of drives, and he failed to notice Henry Ruggs streaking open down the field in the 1st quarter:
That play was synonymous for the first quarter in general. Carr had chances that he didn’t take, and took chances that didn’t need to be taken. He didn’t target a wide receiver once in the 1st quarter, and threw six incompletions to Darren Waller.
In the 2nd quarter, things began to change. After a touchdown (that arguably could have been called back for a holding) the Ravens went up 14-0. After that, the momentum of the game completely changed. The defense got some important stops, and Carr finally decided to show up.
He went on to lead the offense to 10 points in the 2nd quarter, and they entered the second half facing a 14-10 deficit, then began the 4th quarter down 17-10.
Then, Derek Carr went to work.
Simply put, Carr made some phenomenal plays in the 4th quarter.
The defense was a major factor as to why the Raiders won this game, but they would not have been close without the effort put forth by Carr. Carr threw for 435 yards, with nearly 300 of those coming in the 4th quarter and overtime alone. He made two unbelievably accurate throws to Bryan Edwards to put the Raiders in position for the game-tying field goal.
Carr has proven his clutch gene countless times for the Silver and Black, but he may have outdone himself this time. He threw two passes for 38 yards to Bryan Edwards with less than :37 seconds on the clock and no timeouts to set up Daniel Carlson’s game-tying field goal.
“I just always trust [Bryan Edwards],” Derek Carr said postgame. “I saw the coverage they were playing on him. I had to buy some time, actually a couple times. Really learned a lot on the film from a couple teams that were playing against him… To have that trust in him, late, I know it meant a lot to him.”
Carr essentially threw two game-winning touchdown passes in overtime. He threw a beautiful ball to Edwards, who made a great catch and then leaped for the goal line, coming up just short. What ensued after that was more chaos.
A series of mishaps led to Carr throwing a ball right through WR Willie Snead’s hands, then bouncing off the helmet of a Ravens defender who seemed equally as surprised as Snead, before landing gracefully into the hands of Ravens DB Anthony Averett.
“Not like this,” Carr said after the game when asked about that interception.
Derek Carr returned to action after DE Carl Nassib forced a Lamar Jackson fumble. He fired a 31 yard pass off his back foot to a wide-open Zay Jones, sealing a memorable Raiders win.
The bottom line is this: Carr is statistically one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and he has been for a couple years now. He has 24 game-winning drives since 2015, the most of any quarterback during that time span, and three more than anybody else.
As Carr continues his Raiders career, there will surely be many more roadblocks along the way, and many more times for fans to have the opportunity to criticize him. On Monday Night, however, Carr was able to change some of those minds.
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