Derek Carr did anything and everything in his power to hoist the Oakland Raiders to victory Sunday, but the team couldn't fight off a late surge from Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. In front of Raider Nation, the Silver and Black fell 42-28 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, but it wasn't for a lack of effort.
Fifth-year veteran Derek Carr looked to be at his best Sunday, and arguably the best he's been in 2018. Throughout last season No. 4 was bit with the injury bug, and was plagued by lingering injuries for most of the season, limiting his production. Through the first six games of this season, Carr was slinging the ball all over the field, and while he struggled with turnovers in the early going, the former Fresno State Bulldog found his footing against the Colts.
Poised, and confident in each of his throws, Carr racked up 244 passing yards, completing 75 percent of his passes, while adding three passing touchdowns, and officially crossed the first rushing touchdown of his career off his NFL checklist.
Despite all the adversity the team has dealt with this season, when the offense is clicking all at once, it reaffirms Carr's belief in the process.
"I mean it shows that everything we're doing is right, to me," Carr said postgame. "Everything the coaches are asking me to do, obviously the results haven't been what we wanted, but I wish I could tell you there was some magical thing I did different because that would make for a better story, but I've been doing the same thing.
Carr elaborated, "Just listening to my coaches, listening to Coach Gruden, Oly [Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson], Cally [Quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan], just trying to get better every week. I don't have some magical answer that [explains] the outcome of our stats were different; you know what I mean? But, I will say that I know with certain guys gone I do have to step up, and start being more vocal, nothing football wise, nothing physical. Leadership-wise I do need to do those things better going forward, and I will."
Carr got the offense in position to succeed, but it wasn't without the help of his offensive line. With injuries to left guard Kelechi Osemele and right tackle Donald Penn this season, and two rookie tackles in the mix, the offensive line has experienced its fair share of hardships, but the unit was firing on all cylinders in Week 8. From opening kickoff to the final whistle, Carr was hit just one time, and was able to survey the field comfortably all afternoon. The offensive line was on top of their game against a Colts defensive line that had 21 sacks entering the matchup, and it's for that reason Carr was able to execute in the manner that he did.
"With DC, when he's able to sit back there and pick defenses apart, he can do things like [his performance Sunday against the Colts]," wide receiver Brandon LaFell said. "So if the o-line continues to block the way they did today, we continue to get down the field in a timely fashion, DC is one of the better quarterbacks in this league."
We've seen it in flashes, but when all the pieces of the offense are in sync they can be special. Obviously, the final result wasn't what the players or coaching staff were hoping for, but the product is there, it just needs to be executed more consistently.
"When everything is clicking like we know it can… Obviously we've done some really, really good things in the first half of the season, as an offense," Carr explained. "At times we've done some really nice things, sometimes you get down, and defenses play different things, and some of the gameplay stuff is different. For the most part, we've done some really good things, and today was just another thing just reaffirming what I already know. Hopefully when the wins come everybody else will know too."
Wins have been hard to come by, at 1-6 the Raiders aren't anywhere near where they thought they'd be, but Derek Carr showed Sunday that he is a franchise quarterback for a reason.
After a rough outing in London, Carr bounced back in a big way Sunday; we'll see if he can replicate his success Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers, and come home with a win.