Raiders lineman on Derek Carr: 'He's making us all look good'
By Zach Kruse
The Oakland Raiders are above .500 after eight weeks for the first time in five years, and second-year quarterback Derek Carr—who has played the position as well as anyone in the NFL over the past two weeks—is a big reason why.
Carr’s four touchdown passes powered the Raiders to a 34-20 win over the New York Jets on Sunday, giving Oakland back-to-back wins and pushing the club’s record to 4-3.
“He’s always so calm, he’s our leader,” Raiders left tackle Donald Penn said, via Bill Williamson of ESPN. “He’s a tremendous leader. He’s making us all look good.”
Over the last two weeks, Carr has thrown seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Only Drew Brees—who had seven touchdowns against the New York Giants on Sunday—has thrown for more scores (eight). However, no quarterback has a better passer rating than Carr’s 134.0 mark since the start of Week 7. He’s completed 47 of 67 passes for 622 yards, while the Raiders have scored 71 points in wins over the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets.
According to Williamson, Carr’s four touchdowns and 333 yards passing against the Jets marked the first time a Raiders quarterback hit both numbers in a single game since Rich Gannon in 2002.
Thanks to the emergence of Carr, the Raiders are no longer a pushover. In fact, if the season ended today, Oakland would be in possession of the AFC’s No. 5 seed. With Carr under center, the playoffs aren’t just a pipe dream.
“We want more,” Carr said, via ESPN. “We’re not satisfied with 'We’re over .500.' We’re not satisfied with that. I’m not built that way.”
Through seven games, Carr is on pace to throw for 34 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His 15 touchdown passes and 105.7 passer rating both rank fifth in the NFL.
No one is benefitting more from Carr’s progression than receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, who have combined to catch 78 passes for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. Both players are on pace for 1,000-yard seasons in 2015. Running back Latavius Murray is also on pace for over 1,000 rushing yards.
The Raiders are riding Carr’s ascension as an NFL quarterback right into postseason contention. Once the league’s laughing stock, Oakland can now sit back and enjoy the fruits of having a difference-making player at the game’s most important position.
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