Raiders QB Derek Carr has historic day despite loss of top weapons

·5 min read

No player outside of perhaps Derek Carr himself has meant more to the Raiders offense the past three years than tight end Darren Waller.

All offseason, the Raiders talked about how the offense goes through the Pro Bowl tight end. Sunday they came into their week seven game against the Eagles without that top weapon after Waller suffered an ankle injury in practice this week.

And by halftime, the Raiders also lost Pro Bowl running back Josh Jacobs to a chest injury.

Despite the losses of his top weapons, Derek Carr simply went off.

Carr’s final line had him complete 31 of 34 passes for 323 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Yeah, he had just three incompletions on over 30 passes. That gave him a completion percentage of 91.2 for the game, eclipsing Carr’s previous career-best of 90.6 which he set in 2018.

“I’d say he’s pretty close to the next level,” interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said of Carr after the game. “He’s in concert with [offensive coordinator] Greg [Olson]. He’s so accurate. He can literally go through an entire Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practice and possibly three incompletions and he ends up throwing them again. He’s just got tremendous accuracy, tremendous command of the offense, he knows where everyone is supposed to be, he’s the first one in the building, he’s the last one to leave, just his preparation. I’ve been around a lot of good quarterbacks, but his preparation is just second to none. And I think he plays like he prepares.”

Not only is this a new career-high completion percentage for Carr, but it’s also the second-highest completion percentage in the NFL since 1950 for QBs with a minimum of 30 attempts. The only QB in the modern era with a higher completion percentage in a game was Drew Brees (96.75% in 2019).

In the process, Carr helped Waller’s replacement Foster Moreau to have a career day of his own, catching six passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Moreau’s previous career-high for catches was four and yards was 47.

Moreau tied his career-high in the second quarter when he caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Carr in which Moreau reached around the defender’s helmet to pull it in. A reminder that for a QB to put up a historic completion percentage like that, he needs his receivers to make some plays as well.

That TD catch tied the game up at 7-7 after the Eagles had opened the game with a touchdown drive.

The Raiders’ response was a drive that ended with an interception when Carr threw the ball behind Jalen Richard and had it intercepted off the deflection.

Carr shook off the interception and the Raiders ran away with the game.

The most impressive drive came in the second quarter when the Raiders got the ball at their own four-yard line and drove 96 yards for the touchdown to give them their first lead of the game at 14-7. A lead they would not relinquish.

Josh Jacobs scored that touchdown on a run out left and then immediately left the game with a chest injury. Then Kenyan Drake stepped in and the offense didn’t seem to miss a beat.

Drake picked up chunk plays on each of his runs, finishing with 69 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries (4.9 yards per carry).

It was a similar case last week for Drake both on the ground and through the air. Drake credits Carr for being a coach on the field.

“I just feel like there’s not a throw he can’t make,” Kenyan Drake said of Carr. “Whether it’s downfield, checking the ball down when he needs to, when you have a quarterback that’s cerebral in terms of dissecting the defense, understanding pre-snap looks, getting us to the exact play whether it’s that we need to get to a pass, we need to get to a run, it just makes the game flow so so much easier. It’s almost like having a coach out there on the field. And I enjoy playing with him because he has that ability to just be the guy that you can just rely on in the crunch. . . he’s just going to get the job done.”

Crediting Carr with on-field coaching makes total sense when you consider it’s been two games since Jon Gruden was forced to resign, leading to Carr having more autonomy with the offense.

Carr and the offense would score another 16 points, while the defense kept the Eagles from scoring to go on a 30-0 run that lasted into the fourth quarter.

The final score was 33-22, but it was never really that close. This team has now won by double digits in consecutive games for the first time since 2017. While the offense has had their two highest-scoring games of the season.

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