With less than two minutes left in Cleveland on Monday night, Derek Carr had put the Raiders in position to come from behind and win yet again.
The Raiders franchise quarterback, now over 4,000 passing yards on the season, had zipped the team down the field, finding soft spots in the secondary and giving the Silver and Black a shot at a field goal late. It was something No. 4 has done so many times — 27, in fact — during his career, but according to him, the Raiders wouldn't have done it without Daniel Carlson.
The kicker, synonymous with the word clutch this season, left no doubt on his game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired, breathing life into the Raiders' playoff hopes and leaving his quarterback impressed, but not surprised.
"In my brain, when we got that ball back, I know what yard line I got to get Daniel to have a chance. And Daniel has proven [that] over and over again for me," Carr said after the win. "People want to talk about the comeback wins and all this kind of stuff ... but it doesn't matter if he doesn't make the kick. ... He's a super confident player; good friend, too so that makes it cool. I don't really watch the ball; I watch his reaction."
In reality, Carlson knocked in the winning field goal, not once, but twice. After an attempt by the Browns to ice him, Carlson knocked in the kick with even more ease to clinch the 16-14 victory. Throughout the course of the game, No. 2 hit three field goals – marking his sixth game with at least three field goals made.
"It was funny, I'm on the sideline, I one-hundred percent believed in Daniel," Maxx Crosby said about the kicker. "He's money. We were sitting there and we were like, 'Alright,' we're checking out the wind. I'm picking grass up off the ground seeing which way the grass was blowing. But we were just laughing, just trying to make sure we were all good. He hit the first one, and I was like, 'Alright, he's going to hit the next one.'"
Carlson winning the game with his leg has become routine throughout this season. He has made more than 90 percent of his field goals this year, and this was his third game-winning kick this season for the Raiders – coming a week after signing a four-year extension with the team, alongside 2022 Pro Bowl punter AJ Cole.
"I think our team has a great belief in Daniel," said Rich Bisaccia, interim head coach and Carlson's special teams coordinator. "They see the way he practices. They have a great belief in the battery from Trent to AJ and then to Daniel. They get to see them in practice, they get to the way they work, see the way they handle themselves in meetings and carry themselves when it's a miss, and the way they carry themselves when it's good.
"I think we all thought we were going to have a good chance to go out there and kick a 48-yarder. I'm excited that he made both."
For Carlson, the dramatic pressure of nailing game-winners is quite simplistic. After the game, he detailed how he's become accustomed to just blocking out all of the background noise and putting nothing but focus into his kicks.
"For me, it was, 'Hey, I've gotta to be ready,'" said Carlson. "These guys are gonna get me in range. It might be a chip shot, it might be a long one, who knows? But I've gotta be ready.
"It was fun to be able to do my job and get the win for us."
View photos from the Raiders' Week 15 matchup against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.