Carr Rewriting Rookie Record Book

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Photo by Tony Gonzales

Since being named the starting quarterback prior to Week 1, Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr has grown into one of the more poised and prolific passers in the NFL. The owner of every franchise passing record for a rookie, and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors for his Week 14 performance, Carr is the only QB from the 2014 draft class to start all 16 games for his team. Carr has thrown for 3,270 passing yards on 348-of-599 passing (58.1 percent) with 21 TDs, 12 INTs and a passer rating of 76.6.

LEADING THE CLASS

Derek Carr is in elite company as he ranks in the top 10 in multiple rookie passing categories. Here is a look at how Carr stacks up against 2014 rookie quarterbacks and rookie passers:

Completions
Carr: 348 | 2014 Rookie Rank: 1st | Rookie Rank: 2nd
Passing Yards
Carr: 3,270 | 2014 Rookie Rank: 1st | Rookie Rank: 10th
Passing Touchdowns
Carr: 21 | 2014 Rookie Rank: 1st | Rookie Rank: T-5th
QB Rating (min. 300 attempts)
Carr: 76.6 | 2014 Rookie Rank: 2nd | Rookie Rank: 14th

ELITE EFFICIENCY

F

ew rookies in NFL history have been asked to throw as often as Derek Carr has in 2014, as he ranks second in attempts (599) and second in completions by a rookie (348). Although the Raiders have leaned heavily on their young QB, Carr has delivered at record-setting levels.

Carr has attempted 599 passes this season, the second most by a rookie in league history (Andrew Luck, 629). Despite the heavy workload, Carr has completed his passes at a 58.1 percent clip, fourth best among rookies with at least 500 attempts.

Carr also ranks first among rookies since 1960 with four games of at least 40 attempts and 25 completions.

PROTECTING THE ROCK

With only 12 interceptions in 599 pass attempts (2.0 INT percentage), Carr has avoided the costly mistakes that are the downfall of many young passers. Of the 12 NFL rookies in history with at least 450 attempts, Carr owns the fewest interceptions. Carr's 2.0 interception percentage also ranks first among 2014 rookies and tied for seventh among all quarterbacks. On six occassions, Carr has thrown at least 30 times without an interception, tied with Andy Dalton for the most such games by any rookie since 1960. Carr is one of four rookies with at least 20 TDs and fewer than 12 INTs (R. Griffin III, D. Marino and R. Wilson). Before throwing an INT on his final pass of the season, Carr attempted 176 consecutive passes without a pick over the course of five games.

TOP SCORER

The owner of 21 career TD passes, Carr has quickly jumped into the history books as one of the most prolific rookie scorers in NFL history.

Carr's 21 touchdowns have him tied for fifth all-time among NFL rookies.

Carr is the only player in his first or second year in the NFL to throw more than 15 touchdowns in 2014. (Teddy Bridgewater ranks second in that group with 14 TDs.)

Carr is tied for sixth among rookies since 1960 with six multi-TD performances, including two three-TD outings (Week 6 vs. SD and Week 14 vs. SF).

In Week 6, Carr lit up the Chargers defense for 282 yards and four TDs, a career high and tied for the second-most TDs ever thrown by a rookie in a single game. It was also the most touchdowns ever thrown by a rookie against San Diego.

Carr's four-TD day also marked the first time an NFL rookie threw four in a game since Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck each did it in 2012, and just the eighth four-TD game by a rookie since 2000.

COOL UNDER PRESSURE

A young quarterback's success can often be measured by his ability to handle pressure and thwart opposing blitzes, and there are few better at that than Derek Carr. Here is a look at how he has fared against pressure, in the red zone and on critical downs:

According to Pro Football Focus, Carr has been sacked only 10.3 percent of the times he is pressured, the lowest percentage among NFL quarterbacks who have taken at least half of of their team's snaps, and more than 10 percent better than the next top rookie (Teddy Bridgewater, 20.6 percent).

Carr has thrown eight touchdowns under pressure according to Pro Football Focus, first among rookies and tied for sixth in 2014.

In the fourth quarter this season, Carr leads all rookies and is tied for third in the NFL with 10 touchdown passes.

Carr has seen his fair share of third down opportunities, as he leads the NFL with 193 third-down pass attempts and is tied for second in completions with 104. Carr's 11 third-down touchdowns are tied for sixth in the league.

Carr has also been electric inside opponents' 20-yard line, leading the Raiders to an NFL-best 72.4 touchdown percentage (21-of-29) in the red zone.

CARR'S BIG GAMES

On multiple occasions, Carr has taken over games and powered the offense through highly productive outings. Here is a look at how his top performances stack up against all-time rookie passers:

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Three and 100*
Carr is the fourth rookie QB since 2005 to post at least two games with three passing TDs and a rating of at least 100 (Week 6 vs. SD and Week 14 vs. SF). Those two games have Carr tied for fourth among all rookies in NFL history in games with three TDs and a +100 rating, trailing only Peyton Manning, Dan Marino and Russel Wilson (three each).

A Rating for the Record Books
Carr was named the Week 14 Pepsi Rookie of the Week for his performances against San Francisco on Dec. 7. Carr went 22-of-28 for 254 yards with three TDs and a rating of 140.2 en route to a decisive victory over the crosstown-rival 49ers. Carr's 140.2 quarterback rating marks the sixth best single-game rating by a rooke since 1960 (min. 20 attempts), and also the seventh highest rating ever by a Raider.

Putting the Team on His Back
In his first primetime start in Week 12, Carr executed a 17-play, 80-yard touchdown drive (7:21) in the fourth quarter to clinch the Raiders' 24-20 win over Kansas City, which he capped off with a 9-yard TD pass. That marks the first game-winning drive and fourth-quarter comeback by a rookie in franchise history, and one of the four posted by NFL rookies this season.

HISTORIC START

QB Derek Carr vaulted himself into rare company following his 4 TD performance in Week 6 vs. San Diego. Carr posted eight TD passes in his first five games, which is the most ever by a rookie quarterback in the first five games of his career. Here is a look at where Carr's historical start to his career stacks up:

TD PASSES BY ROOKIE QBs (FIRST FIVE GAMES)
Rank Player Season TD Passes
1. Derek Carr 2014 - 8
2t. Andrew Luck 2012 - 7
2t. Cam Newton 2011 - 7
2t. Geno Smith 2013 - 7

QB Derek Carr has been completing passes with the kind of pinpoint accuracy only seen a handful of times previously in league history. In his first four games, Carr completed 84-of-133 passes for a completion rate of 63.2 percent. Since 1960, that places Carr second among rookie quarterbacks with at least 100 passing attempts through their first four games. Here is a look:

HIGHEST COMP. % BY ROOKIE QB THROUGH FIRST 4 GAMES (MIN. 100 ATT.)
Rank Player Year Cmp. %
1 Robert Griffin III (Was.) 2012 - 69.35
2 Derek Carr (Oak.) 2014 - 63.16
3 Chris Weinke (Car.) 2001 - 62.14
4 Jim Kelly (Buf.) 1986 - 61.17
5 Russell Wilson (Sea.) 2012 - 60.00

CARR NOTES

Rookie QB Derek Carr was named the Raiders' starting quarterback heading into Week 1 against the New York Jets, becoming the first rookie quarterback in franchise history to start in Week 1. Oakland's second-round pick of the 2014 NFL Draft was solid in his NFL debut, finishing the game 20-for-32 passing for 151 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 94.7.

Carr became the ninth Raider QB and second rookie to throw at least two TD passes in his debut. His 94.7 passer rating is the third highest for a Raider rookie in his first start and 12th among all Raiders starting QBs in their Silver and Black debut.

Carr began his career nearly perfect, going 7-for-7 for 53 yards and one TD before throwing his first incompletion in the second quarter. He finished the first half 9-of-12 (75.0 percent).

Carr began his career with a completion percentage of at least 60.0 in his first four games. In NFL history, only two other quarterbacks have accomplished the feat: Robert Griffin III (Was.) in 2012 and Rick Mirer (Sea.) in 1993.

Carr's 300-yard passing performance (328) on Oct. 26 at Cleveland was the first 300-yard passing game of his career and first ever by a Raider rookie.

Carr engineered his first game-winning drive in Week 12 against Kansas City, producing a 17-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that took 7:21, ending with a touchdown pass to WR James Jones with 1:42 remaining.

Carr set a career high with a passer rating of 140.2 on Dec. 7 vs. San Francisco, and it is the seventh highest single-game passer rating in franchise history (min. 20 attempts). It is also the sixth-best passer rating by a rookie quarterback since 1960 (min. 20 attempts).

QUOTES ON CARR

QB Derek Carr's success in the NFL is just beginning, but opposing coaches and players are already taking notice. Carr has been praised by some of the brighest minds in football for his poise, maturity and pocket presence. Here is what the NFL community has to say about Carr:

Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians: "I don't think there's any doubt. We knew coming out. When you grow up in a family where your brother's a quarterback, you tend to – nobody's in awe of anyone, you've seen it though – guys go in the locker room for the first time and they say, 'Oh my god, there's so and so,' and he's been there since he was a kid, so there's something for their poise. I noticed it when [Broncos QB] Peyton [Manning] came in – the other kid, [Colts QB] Andrew Luck – they grew up in the locker room with their fathers. Derek, he's very, very mature and I'm really happy for his success." – Oct. 15

Rams S T.J. McDonald: "I think I've always thought he was a good quarterback. I've always thought one thing about him that's always stood out is his leadership ability and the intangibles at quarterback. He's a guy that guys just seem to gravitate towards and always has a positive attitude. That's one thing I knew that he was going to be able to bring to the NFL, and then also his ability and the throws that he's got. He's got a good bloodline, throws the ball really well, can move around pretty well. So I knew he was a good player." – Nov. 26

Broncos Head Coach John Fox: "I've seen a guy that can make all the throws. He appears, for a young player, to be very smart – I think ahead of his experience. He's a factor as far as mobility with his speed. I think he's a tremendous young player." – Nov. 5

Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll: "He played great against us and we've seen nothing but that, really since [Raiders Interim Head Coach] Tony [Sparano] took over, just the emphasis of really trusting him, believing in him, giving him a chance to win the games. He's done a lot of marvelous stuff. I can see why they're excited about him and they've demonstrated so much trust and confidence in him by just the nature of the style of offense that they're willing to throw. He's shown touch, he's shown strong arm stuff, he's shown way down the field stuff, he's moving well and he looks very comfortable. He looks like a terrific prospect for the years to come and he's on it right now, he's got great numbers for the situation and I'm thinking he's darn good." – Oct. 29

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick: "I think he's obviously a smart guy. They give him quite a bit of the offense to handle and it looks like he does that well. Quick release, gets the ball out. Obviously athletic and can run – saw the play in the Houston game, the 40-yard run. There are not a lot of quarterbacks in the league that would make that play. I think he's got a great arm, can make all the throws, and as I said, gets the ball out quick, sees the coverage and doesn't stand back there and make it hard to protect for him. He's getting the ball to his skill players and he's got a good arm. I think the kid's got a great future." – Sept. 17

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