No one could've had a better day in Mile High Stadium Sunday than Darren Waller.
A little over three years ago Waller was battling substance abuse and personal demons, as he was suspended for a full year without pay. He credited the failure he had to endure to his comeback and success he's recently had since becoming a Raider. Sunday was not only Waller's last game of a phenomenal season for him statistically, but the new benchmark in his incredible redemption story.
No. 83's nine-reception, 118-yard performance in the win put him three receptions over Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown's record for the most receptions in a season in franchise history. Coach Jon Gruden is astonished that he's been able to coach another player who's name is in the same conversation as the 1987 Heisman winner.
"I know Tim Brown; I have a great history with him, and I know how unbelievable of a player he was," said Coach Gruden. "When you start throwing around Tim Brown's name, and you're saying you're breaking Tim Brown's record, you're in rare territory."
Out of the nine catches Waller hauled in Sunday, his most important might've been his very last. After workhorse back Josh Jacobs ran in a one-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left in the game, Derek Carr was able to find Waller for the 107th time this season to go up by one point and win their season finale in Denver.
"I'm not shocked that he broke the record," said Derek Carr after finishing with his third straight 4,000 passing yard season. "It was something that was on my mind, and I wanted to see him get the record and to help him get to that. I definitely wanted to see that for him because of how hard he's worked and what he's overcome."
"I don't think there's anybody in the world who wouldn't root for the guy. He's an amazing man and I love him to death. He's a great friend and he's a great football player."
"This is definitely a great thing, but I want to keep going." Darren Waller
"He's a special player," said Josh Jacobs, sharing the same sentiment. "He's one of those players where you're in the game and you catch yourself just watching him play. Every time I see the ball thrown to him, you automatically think he's going to catch the ball. It's kind of shocking when he doesn't."
"And that just speaks to his work ethic," Jacobs added. "Coming into this offseason, he was one of the most hardworking guys, whether we were in the weight room or getting treatment, he was always in the facility. That's just something I try to steal from him for myself."
With all that the former Georgia Tech star has accomplished this season, he does not seem content with how the season ended. Waller described this as a "great moment" overtaking Tim Brown for the franchise record, but wants to put the league on notice that his best days in Silver and Black are yet to come.
"I would say there's a lot more to come," said Darren Waller. "I'm definitely grateful for this moment, but I don't want this to be my greatest day as a Raider. I want us to keep going, and I want our team to have great days as well and just to keep going from here. So I feel that this is definitely a great thing, but I want to keep going."
View photos from the Raiders' Week 17 matchup against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.