Quarterback Derek Carr
Less than two minutes.
That's how long it took for the Oakland Raiders offense to put up their first points of the evening against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Gifted with good field position as a result of Greg Zuerlein sending the kickoff out of bounds, Derek Carr trotted out to begin his first possession of the preseason at his own 35-yard line.
Fast forward 101 seconds of game time, and No. 4 was celebrating a touchdown with tight end Lee Smith and the rest of his offensive teammates, as kicker Sebastian Janikowski headed out to the add the PAT.
So, how did Carrr and the offense march 65 yards in the blink of an eye? Well, pretty simply really.
On the first play from scrimmage, Carr handed the ball off to running back Marshawn Lynch who gashed his way through the last side of the offensive line for a gain of six, earning quite the raucous ovation from the assembled conglomerate of Raider Nation in the process.
From there, it was vintage Carr, as No. 4 delivered two darts to two different receivers, en route to finding the end zone.
First, it was a short pass to tight end Jared Cook, who after hauling in the football, showed off his athleticism, galloping up the sideline for a gain of 16.
"It felt good," said Cook of his first catch as a Raider. "He [Carr] got it to me quick, where I needed it, and he let me get the ball in my hands, and be able to run up the sidelines.
Next, it was back to Beast Mode for four more, plus another 15 yards after a Lamarcus Joyner unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Then, it was time for "DC" to call ahead to the restaurant and make reservations for six, throwing a laser to tight end Lee Smith for a 19-yard touchdown.
That four-play series – which served as Carr's first game action since breaking his fibula in Week 16 of last year – showed how dynamic the Raiders offense has the potential to be in 2017, particularly when all the major players are on the field at the same time.
"It was great," said offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele discussing the opening series. "It was a good feeling. That's why you practice. We just have to keep doing some of the same, running the ball, operating with high energy, celebrating your teammates. It was just a great feeling. That's why you play football."
With two designed runs, and two passes, punctuated by a textbook touchdown pass, Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing likely couldn't have drawn that series up any better. And yes, I know it was just one series, but that ever-coveted offense balance is something to take note of going forward.
"It's important in a game to have a run/pass [offense] that feeds off of each other," Cook explained. "That's how our offense is. We have so many dynamic players; [wide receiver] Amari [Cooper] with the big catch, 'Crab' [wide receiver Michael Crabtree] with the under that turns into six. We have so many offensive weapons, being balanced, and helping each other out is very important to us, and it needs to be a key to us."
"You want to be a threat in every way you possibly can," added Osemele. "It's a game of inches, so to have those weapons that we have with 'Coop', and Lee, and all those guys, and also having Marshawn being able to run the ball, it doesn't get any better than that."
Now Saturday's performance against the Rams wasn't perfect – I'm sure Carr would like to have his first quarter interception back – but that first series in particular showed what the team's offense is capable of; when they're working with the full complement of players, you'll be hard pressed to find a defense that can slow them down.
"It felt good to be out there, and playing with those guys this week, because we took last week off or whatever," Cook said. "Our hard work in practice is paying off. We got good chemistry."