Many doubted the Las Vegas Raiders could beat the reigning Super Bowl Champion, the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Derek Carr proved the doubters wrong with an excellent showing in the passing game in Week 5.
The Raiders’ last 2 games at Arrowhead have been polar opposites
The last time the Raiders met up with the Chiefs, things didn’t go well for the Silver and Black. The Kansas City secondary picked Carr apart. Also, the defense and safety Tyrann Mathieu figured Carr out and his tendency to throw to the check-down. Also, safety Juan Thornhill intercepted the quarterback and returned it for a 46-yard touchdown. The Raiders ended up losing that meeting 40-9.
However, the tides turned during this year’s Week 5 meeting. Carr electrified the Raiders offense by completing 22 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns. What was the difference-maker in this matchup? Besides the Raiders defense stepping up, Carr threw to an array of receivers, ten to be exact. The quarterback utilized the speedy receivers he had at his disposal and tore the Chiefs secondary in half.
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Derek Carr took advantage of the talent surrounding him
Utilizing Henry Ruggs as a decoy receiver caused the Chiefs secondary to extend their coverage and ended up leaving receivers open in the middle of the field. Carr found tight end Darren Waller underneath for five receptions, 48 yards, and one touchdown. Free-agent pick-up Nelson Agholor also hauled in two receptions for 67 yards and one touchdown. Besides working as a decoy, Ruggs may have had the most impact against the Chiefs. The Alabama standout only hauled in two passes but they totaled 118 yards. Ruggs’ main highlight came on a devastating touchdown that left Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward far behind in his wake.
The Raiders ended the game with a 40-32 victory that left the Chiefs dumbfounded and silent. On the flip side, this performance is what Raiders fans have been clamoring for since Carr’s 2016 MVP season. The quarterback has previously shown a habit of short throws and check-downs. Nevertheless, he showcased the ABILITY to stretch the field and hit targets vertically. If Carr wants to find himself back in the MVP contest, he needs to continue to hit his receivers with efficiency and accuracy while hitting some of those home-run passes he completed at Arrowhead that his fans have been begging for.
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Top Photo: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press