Derek Carr Continues to Play like a Top NFL Quarterback Despite Loss

Elias Trejo – Nov 8, 2015

Derek Carr watched the Oakland defense give up 79 yards in less than two minutes after he led the Raiders to a game tying score late in the fourth. Just when it appeared that the game was going into overtime and the Steelers were on the ropes, Pittsburgh threw a haymaker on 3rd and 2 and ended the night for Carr and the Raiders. Carr and the offense would not get another chance to complete an amazing comeback. However, Carr did show that he is the real deal yet again even in the loss. 

The Steelers defense has played great at home against opposing quarterbacks. They held Carson Palmer to 1 touchdown pass and forced two interceptions. The Cardinals offense, who was on fire coming into this game, was completely shut down. Arizona was averaging 38 points per game and Palmer was coming in with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. The Steelers defense completely dominated the Cardinals offense that game.

Andy Dalton came into the game as one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL. Dalton came into the game with 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Dalton had his worst game of the year and the Bengals escaped with a win despite Dalton's poor play. Both Palmer and Dalton left Pittsburgh with their worst performances of the year and their lowest passer ratings of the year to date. This Steelers defense is no joke especially at home. They have made life hard for Philip Rivers and Joe Flacco as well this year as they are far from easy to play against. 

That's why what Carr did this Sunday against the Steelers defense continues to validate that Carr has arrived as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Carr came in hot as he had thrown for seven touchdowns, no interceptions and 622 total yards, but many expected him to suffer the same fate as Dalton and Palmer. However, Carr did the complete opposite as he threw four touchdowns, 1 interception and threw for 301 yards. Carr's completion percentage was not great and the drops didn't help him but he minimized mistakes against this Steelers defense. 

When Carr misses a pass he misses in a way that makes it hard for anyone but his teammate to catch the ball. He'd rather throw it away or miss high than risk an interception. His interception in the red zone today hurt, but that was a great play by the Steelers defender. Carr bounced back after that and led the Raiders to a game tying touchdown but unfortunately, that would not be enough. What Carr and this offense did this week was special despite the loss. 

This Raiders offense not only made mistakes that cost them the game, but their defense didn't do much to help them out. They allowed DeAngelo Williams to rush for 170 yards and two touchdowns while letting Antonio Brown catch 17 passes for 284 yards. Despite the Steelers offense exploding and having their best game of the year, the Raiders were right there with them. It was the Raiders defense that was expected to get torched not the Steelers. It was the Raiders offense that fumbled five times, dropped the ball at least six times and turned the ball over four times. 

When you play like that you're not expected to win let alone keep the game close. However, the Raiders offense found a way to overcome all of these things and still give the team a chance to win the game. Unfortunately with high scoring games like this, sometimes it's the team who has the ball last that wins the game. This Raiders defense hadn't been stopping anything all game so it was no surprise they let the Steelers get into scoring position. They did the exact same thing at Chicago and that led them to another loss. 

The Raiders offense did what they had to do and anytime you score 35 points that should be enough to win the game. Once this Raiders secondary gets healthy and brings back TJ Carrie and Nate Allen they should be better. The offense has shown they can light up the scoreboard but they need more help from this defense. Oakland has a second year quarterback that is playing better than most quarterbacks in the league. Carr is on pace to throw for 38 touchdowns, 4,188 yards and only eight interceptions this season. 

The Raiders have the best quarterback out of all the teams fighting for a wild card spot and in the NFL that will always give you an advantage. If the Raiders end up in the playoffs and Carr continues to play the way he is, don't be shocked to see his name thrown into the MVP race or Offensive Player of the Year race because he is that good. As one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL and the leader of a top 10 scoring offense anything is possible. 

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