Derek Carr threw 32 passes Sunday afternoon in Denver – three of them were incomplete.
Although the Oakland Raiders lost their Week 2 matchup against the Broncos, Carr remained ultra-efficient passing the football, completing 29 of 32 passes, including 18 of his 19 passes in the first half, which was good for the highest completion percentage (94.7%) in a first half in franchise history.
No. 4 ended Sunday's afternoon clash with the Broncos with 288 yards and one touchdown, and while he certainly deserves his do for being incredibly deliberate with the football, let's give some credit to his offensive line – the big fellas up front – for giving Carr time to operate.
Headed into Sunday's matchup with the Raiders, Joe Woods' defense had already tallied six sacks, and with Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Derek Wolfe roaming the defensive line, the Silver and Black knew they would have a big challenge ahead of them at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
Well, although the Raiders flew home without their first divisional win, the play of the offensive line – rookie left tackle Kolton Miller in particular – was a positive takeaway from the Week 2 matchup in Denver.
"Pretty good," said Head Coach Jon Gruden when asked how Miller held up against Bradley Chubb. "We like Miller a lot, he is going to be a heck of a player. He's played against two of the top defenses in football his first two outings. The film speaks for itself."
What the film showed was the Broncos getting just one hit on Carr – a first quarter sack by Von Miller – but that play aside, D.C. had plenty of time to work in the pocket, an impressive feat in and of itself against a stout defensive front, but made even more impressive with a rookie left tackle protecting Carr's blindside.
It's been quite the start of a rookie campaign for Miller; just a week after squaring off against a Los Angeles Rams defensive front that features the likes of Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald, the former UCLA Bruin tested his mettle against Miller, Chubb, and Co., and to be fair, he's done well, showing why the Raiders picked him No. 15 overall in this year's NFL draft.
"We think he's a long-term, big-time player for us at a critical position," Gruden added. "That's why we drafted him. His range, not only as a pass protector but you saw him get out on the quick screens. He's got tremendous athleticism and he's just getting started. It's exciting."
Miller – along with the rest of the Raiders offensive line – was strong in pass protection Sunday afternoon, which like we said earlier, gave Carr time to operate, and we've seen time and again that when No. 4 has that luxury, it typically spells good things for the Silver and Black.
"I just think he's a heck of a player," Gruden said of Carr. "I think he sees the field. I think he's got an incredible arm talent. I think we've got good receivers. I think getting our big guy out there, #12 [Martavis Bryant], I think he makes a difference. His presence out there makes a difference. Coop was hot. Amari had a great game. I think when you have 10 targets and 10 catches, that is extremely uncommon and hard to do. He really should have been 11-for-11 after bagging that ball deep down the sideline. It's a combination of all that, and a protection. We had good pass protection for most of the day and that's a great accomplishment."
Now sitting at 0-2, the Raiders have a renewed sense of urgency to tally their first win of 2018. Their next opportunity will be another road test – this one against the Miami Dolphins – and another big day from Miller and the offensive line would go a long ways in helping make that happen.