That’s the Derek Carr we all remember.
After losing the lead with just under three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Carr was a man on a mission on the final drive of regulation, ultimately finding his tight end Derek Carrier for a six-yard, game-winning touchdown with 0:21 seconds left to give the Oakland Raiders a 24-21 lead.
The Oakland Raiders have been good on opening drives this year- like really good – and that trend continued for the Silver and Black Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Against the Pittsburgh Steelers and their seventh-ranked defense, Derek Carr orchestrated an eight-play, 74-yard drive punctuated by yet another one-yard, aerial touchdown from Doug Martin.
The early strike gave the Raiders an early 7-0 lead, but that lead didn’t survive until halftime, as a Stevan Ridley two-yard touchdown run drew the Steelers even at 7-7 early in the second quarter.
A Daniel Carlson field goal allowed the Raiders to re-take the lead at 10-7, but with just seconds left before intermission, Ben Roethlisberger threw high, and Juju Smith-Schuster somewhat incredibly came down with an unreal, toe-tap catch that we’ll all assuredly see played on loop for the next 24 hours.
The second-year quarter touchdown gave the Steelers a 14-10 lead headed into halftime, and although it was a lead they would surrender then re-take, Carr and the Raiders offense did just enough to win their third game of 2018.
While the Steelers struggled to get the ground game rolling in the first half – let’s remember they were without the services of usual-starter James Conner – Roethlisberger was characteristically efficient completing 18 of 22 passes for 164 yards and a score before his afternoon ended early because of a rib injury.
In his stead, second-year quarterback Joshua Dobbs entered the fray, and while he was a spectator for the tensest and most-important moments of Sunday’s game, he performed admirably when called into action.
With 5:20 left in the fourth quarter, Derek Carr found Lee Smith – who is way more than just a blocking tight end by the way – on a three-yard touchdown to give the Raiders back a lead.
However, after missing the entire second half dealing with a rib injury, Roethlisberger returned to action after the Lee Smith touchdown, and made his impact felt in a hurry too taking the lead right back from Head Coach Jon Gruden’s squad.
After Derek Carrier’s touchdown reception, the Steelers did get one, final shot to tie the game, but after Chris Boswell slipped on the would-be, game-tying field goal, the Raiders escaped with a win.
On a bit of an aside, but on that I think is important to discuss, Johnny Townsend was stellar for the Raiders Sunday against the Steelers.
After a bit of a rough stretch, the rookie punter bounced back in a huge way, in Week 14 rocketing all three of his punts 50-plus yards and flipping the field when called upon. The former Florida Gator has had an up-and-down rookie campaign, but give credit where it’s due, Townsend was stellar against Pittsburgh.
Sunday was a wild one, a day filled with no shortage of twists and turns, but all that matters is that the Raiders won 24-21.
The Silver and Black will now return to work tomorrow in advance of their Week 15 clash against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Practice will resume Wednesday, and the team will fly to Cincinnati on Friday.
Photos of the game action during the Raiders' Week 14 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Coliseum.