The Las Vegas Raiders suffered a tough 45-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home in Week 7. Did Carr perform at a high enough level to silence his critics and please his fans?
The Raiders took on the Buccaneers expecting a full, and hopefully healthy, roster and that was the case for the most part. However, right tackle Trent Brown missed the game after testing positive for Covid-19 and quarterback Derek Carr had to lead his team against Tom Brady with Brandon Parker at right tackle. Also, the “Heat Seeker” safety Johnathan Abram was absent due to the league’s COVID-19 contact tracing protocol.
The Raiders offense struggled against the Buccaneers
Against the ‘Bucs’, Carr struck quickly and found Nelson Agholor in the end zone on their first drive. Nevertheless, the Raiders only managed a field goal for the remainder of the first half. They didn’t score a touchdown again until the second half when Carr found his favorite target, tight end Darren Waller, open to make the game 24-17. While Carr had basically all of his weapons healthy, sans Bryan Edwards, they completed just five of 13 third downs. That stat came back to haunt them as they ended up scoring just 20 points.
Carr was able to involve the speedy wide receiver Henry Ruggs III but not enough to make an impact. Besides simply not moving the ball down the field enough, head coach Jon Gruden continued to push the run game against one of the league’s top defenses. To make matters worse, running back Josh Jacobs carried the ball ten times for a minuscule 17 yards.
No one was higher on the Nelson Agholor signing than me, but 9 targets to only 3 for Henry Ruggs? That ain't it.— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) October 26, 2020
The Raiders insurance card wasn’t working on Sunday
With the absence of Brown, Carr already had a tough challenge against him. Once Sam Young left with an injury and the unpredictable Brandon Parker took over, things got worse. As if that wasn’t enough, guard Gabe Jackson was ejected for a questionable personal foul. Buccaneers linebacker Davin White took advantage of this and sacked Carr three times. Funny enough, White claimed this would happen when Gruden and Mayock passed on him in 2019’s draft for Clelin Ferrell. The offensive line was already hurting but this was less than an ideal situation against an extremely competitive Tampa Bay front-seven.
While it seems Carr did put his best effort forward against the Buccaneers, one particular bright spot is he decided to use something else we’ve all been clamoring for; his legs. For a brief moment, he was even the leading rusher on the team with 19 yards, securing a first down during one of his scrambles. Carr is a very athletic quarterback but from watching him for six years you wouldn’t think so. His willingness to use his speed against stronger defensive fronts could make him that much more of a threat moving forward.
Putting the offensive woes aside, the Raiders defense gave up 45 points. Carr did contribute with his second interception of the season when rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. tipped and hauled a pass the quarterback intended for Agholor. More often than not, Carr has been smart with the ball so we can’t pin the loss on him.
Silencing the critics
Has Carr be silencing his critics? Yes, he has and he should have put most criticism to rest. Several complaints noticed over the years have been the following:
Carr can’t throw the deep ball. The quarterback has shown us, specifically this season, that he can and he will. If you doubt that, watch his completions to Ruggs against the Chiefs or his 59-yard dime to Agholor in Week 5.
Carr can’t escape the pocket. See the previous entry.
Carr can’t put up points in Gruden’s offense. In the last six games of the season, Carr has put up the following points in the 2020 season: 34, 34, 20, 23, 40, 20. In the 2019 season (against worse opponents), he scored 24, 10, 14, 31, 24, 24. Carr is thriving in this system now.
Carr had an impressive performance in Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Against the Tampa Buccaneers, he logged 284 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Carr had a passer rating of 97.5 against the Bucs while against the Chiefs, he punched in at a 126.7 passer rating, his highest of the season.
Packers fans shouldn’t read this
Who is familiar with Aaron Rodgers? The Super Bowl champion out of Green Bay that will unanimously be voted into the Hall of Fame when he retires. Rodgers played the Buccaneers in Week 6 and lost 10-38. What was his passer rating during that contest? 34.7. Zero touchdowns, two interceptions, and a paltry 160 passing yards. The Packers have a similar offense to the Raiders besides the fact that they have a true number one receiver in Davante Adams.
If we’re looking to compare Carr to other elite quarterbacks wouldn’t this be a perfect barometer? Carr has silenced his critics and is playing the best football in his career since his 2016 campaign. We will continue to see his accomplishments mount as long he continues to look for those deep shots, use his legs, and take care of the football. This quarterback is here to stay.
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