In Derek Carr’s fifth season as an Oakland Raider, he had one of the most up-and-down campaigns of any Raider in recent memory. At times he looked helpless, but at others he would look dominant, reminiscent his 2016 season. Let’s’ take a look at his 2018 season.
Surprisingly, last year was the first of Carr’s career that he was able to surpass 4,000 passing yards. While his TD/INT ratio wasn’t impressive, it’s due to a very ugly start to the season. Through the first five weeks of the year, Carr threw eight interceptions, compared to just seven touchdowns. However, from weeks 6-16, he was remarkably better, going 10 games without throwing a pick, and tossing 12 touchdowns along the way.
381/553 (68.9%) completions
To call his 2018 season tumultuous would be an understatement. While dealing with countless questions from the media about his toughness, relationship with coach Jon Gruden, and his future with the team, the best and worst parts of his game were on full display. Let’s take a closer look.
Carr’s worst two performances of the season came on the opening and closing weeks of the year, but his performance week one against the Los Angeles Rams was the worst. Here’s his stat-line; 29/40, 303 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, 7.58 YPA, 62.8 QBR. Carr actually started well, leading the offense to a touchdown on their first drive, and a 7-0 lead. However, after that drive, the Raiders failed to muster anything besides two field goals for the rest of the game.
Carr had some nice throws in this game, but he threw three bad interceptions. The first was a crucial mistake in the red zone when the game was tied at seven. Jared Cook had a great match-up against a smaller corner, but Carr underthrew the ball, and that stalled what would be the Raiders’ last successful drive of the game. He would go on to throw a pick-six to Marcus Peters, and then another terrible interception, in which it looked like he was afraid of the pass rush.
Carr’s best performance came in Week 7, in a 28-42 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. His stat-line; 21/28, 244 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 1 rushing TD. One week after his toughness was called out by pundits across the nation, Derek responded and played what was one of the best games of his career. Carr was nearly flawless, with a 136.6 rating. This game would kickstart the rest of the season for him, and he would carry momentum from this performance into a 10 game stretch with 0 INT’s.
Ultimately, I believe a B- grade is fair for Carr. He posted the second-best QBR of his career, at 93.9, and threw for over 4,000 yards for the first time. He also carried a very impressive streak of 332 consecutive passes without throwing an interception, good enough for the third longest streak in NFL history, behind some scrubs named Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
However, Carr also had a terrible start to the season, and after the first five weeks, he led the league with eight interceptions. For every excellent game he had, he also had performances like the 49ers, Seahawks, and Ravens games, where he hardly even showed up.
Still, Carr was able to push through countless attacks on his toughness and character from the media and was able to finish the year on a good note, so I believe a B- is fair.
This is going to be a make or break year for Carr. There is no other way to put it. With a very exciting QB class coming up and the Raiders’ arsenal of draft picks, Carr has to prove to Gruden that he can win with this team. He’s going to have to put up better numbers than his 19TD/10INT ratio, or he’ll likely be gone.
With that said, if Carr plays next year on the same note he finished this season on, he’s going to remain a Raider for a long time. As Carr played better toward the end of the season, the team did too, picking up wins against Arizona, Denver, and Pittsburgh.
If you ask me, next year will decide Derek Carr’s future as a Raider. Will he succeed or fail, let us know in the comments!