It’s a look that Jalen Richard knows well.
It’s a look that he’s seen dozens of times since joining the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie in 2016, but all the same, it’s one that he never tires of seeing.
And trailing by four with 2:25 left in regulation, Richard saw that look when he went into the huddle and looked into the eyes of Derek Carr.
“Four [Carr] is the man,” said Richard. “His calmness in any situation, good or bad, that’s where you really see how good of a quarterback he really is. The dude won’t fold under pressure. He’s going to find a way to make a play and keep fighting. That’s what you need at quarterback.”
Carr showed that fight from start to finish on the Raiders final drive of the afternoon, ultimately finding tight end Derek Carrier for the six-yard, game-winning score, but before that play happened, No. 4 connected with Seth Roberts on a play akin to what we saw in 2016, when the Carr/Roberts connection – in the final frame in particular – was a routine occurrence.
“Well, right before, the coaches and Derek knew they were going to be in Cover 2; I knew they were going to be in Cover-2 too from watching film through the week,” Roberts explained. “When the game is on the line, third down, they always go to Cover 2, and Derek told me to run fast, he’s going to throw it, and that’s what I did.”
“We had like a crossing route for Seth, coming across the field,” Carr added. “Early in the game, we got the look exactly how I wanted but I didn’t want to change the play. I wanted to let the play eat and all those kind of things. We got the same time of look with different people covering, different bodies in there. I think it was a TV time-out or a two-minute warning, if I’m not mistaken – we were in the huddle. I told him, Seth if we get too high, I know what you have but just take the middle. I’m not trying to pump it one way, I’m going to throw you the ball if it’s too high. He just said okay, in his natural form – he just said okay. I threw it – I honestly thought I overthrew it by 12 yards and he hit another gear and went and got that ball. He kept it off the ground. That had to be the play of the game by Seth. That catch and that coverage – it was really impressive.”
Four plays after Carr’s 39-yard connection to Roberts – arguably one of the best of 2018 – No. 4 found Carrier for the score, putting a loud, very impressive punctuation mark on the Silver and Black’s Week 14 win.
When the clock hit triple zeroes, after Chris Boswell’s slip on a would-be, game-tying field goal attempt, and the Raiders had secured their third win of 2018, Carr had completed 25 of 34 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns, but it was that final drive of the day – where he went five of seven for 74 yards and a touchdown – that embodied who he is as a quarterback.
“Derek played great today,” said Head Coach Jon Gruden. “We had some series, not at any fault on him. But, we had some penalties that put us way behind and down in the distance. The Steelers are good. I think they came in here with the top defenses and top pass rushes in football. They are going to make some plays. Carr brought us back twice in the fourth quarter and made some great flows and great auto boles. I am really proud of him.”
Photos of the game action during the Raiders' Week 14 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Coliseum.
With the win, the Raiders are now 3-10, and while the team’s season will end in three weeks’ time, Sunday’s game provided the signature win they so desperately needed.
And while the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers was a collective, team effort, Carr’s performance over the final two minutes and change, will be, understandably, one of the biggest takeaways from the 24-21 win.
“You can just tell on that last drive, something comes over him [Derek],” Richard said. “Something comes over him in the moment, and all the great ones, in moments like that, that’s what makes them great. Something comes over them. You see [Michael] Jordan taking that last-minute shot. You see Kobe [Bryant]. You see Tom Brady. Something comes over them in those moments, and that’s why they are who they are. And that’s why DC is who he is. In those moments, I just sit back and I just feed off of it. I just feed off of it. Everybody back there, with plays like this, you just believe. “