Derek Carr has had to make the most out of the options given to him during this season.
Injuries and unforeseen circumstances have led to a very different looking receiving corps than he had to start the season. But regardless of the interchanging parts around him, the Raiders nailed down their third straight win with the playoffs on the horizon in large part to No. 4.
And Carr can be thankful for Zay Jones and Hunter Renfrow this Sunday.
The two receivers' remarkable performances in Indianapolis were instrumental in pulling out the victory against the 9-7 Colts. Despite two interceptions, Carr stayed poised throughout the game and bounced back in the fourth quarter with some huge throws to Jones and Renfrow.
"He makes big plays in big situations and he's done it his whole career," Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia said of Renfrow after the game. "He did it at Clemson and now he's doing it in the National Football League. I can't say enough about the chemistry between him and Derek, and his ability to understand the field and get himself in open positions, regardless if we're creating or it's on time."
"Again, Zay I thought put himself in position to make some big plays today. Stayed on his feet and got us some first downs," continued Bisaccia. "A credit to those guys – the way in which they just kept battling and battling and battling. You just can't say enough about it."
The duo combined for nearly 200 receiving yards and 15 catches. Jones had a career-high 120 receiving yards; since becoming the Raiders starting wideout in Week 9, he's compiled 404 receiving yards and 36 catches.
"I think the patience of what I had to go through, the patience of what I had to endure. Work while you wait and an opportunity came for me," Jones said about his journey leading into his career game Sunday afternoon. "Just trying to seize it, seize the most of it. I think that's what happened tonight. But credit to the guys around me because they make it possible for me to be able to have a night like I did tonight. The offensive line, obviously Derek, Foster [Moreau] and the tight ends blocking, [Josh] Jacobs and the guys selling the fakes, other guys running routes for me to be able to get open.
"A complete team effort. I'm excited. Just a fantastic night for myself and for this team and especially for our fans – because they've been through a lot to as well."
Renfrow added on to his career season with 76 yards on seven catches and a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth. The slot receiver also secured a crucial first down late in the game to put the Raiders in field goal position for Daniel Carlson to win the game.
The third-year receiver has had a breakout season for the Raiders – leading the team in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and receptions. In the win against the Colts, he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark and is one away from the 100-catch mark for the season. Renfrow is five catches away from breaking the record for the most receptions in a single season for a Raiders wide receiver (104).
"I never really gauged my success off of yards or catches or anything like that. But I'm not going to lie to you, it did seem out of the realm of possibility coming in as a rookie," Renfrow said regarding his standout season. "I never had 600 yards in college, so I just wanted to go out there and be the best receiver I could be and give ourselves a chance to win. ... Hopefully we have a good game next week and keep it going."
All the adversity the Raiders have battled this season will seemingly come to a head next week. The Raiders will be playing their divisional rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers, for their regular-season finale. With a win secured at home, the Raiders will make their first postseason appearance since 2016.
But for now, the Raiders should take a little time to enjoy another last-second win in what has been an unbelievable season.
View photos from the Raiders' Week 17 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.