The most polarizing player in the Las Vegas Raiders organization has been their starting quarterback, Derek Carr. He has his diehard supporters and his diehard haters. Then there are those who can have civil discussions about him. The 2021 season was one of the most draining seasons for him and would’ve been for any quarterback, but it landed on Carr and he responded by getting the Raiders to the playoffs. It wasn’t the prettiest season, but with everything that went on, it was a commendable one without a doubt.
Let’s take a look at what went right for Carr
Top 3 moments from Carr…
Overtime: 33-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones in Week 1. Following a back-and-forth game that included Carr going 38 yards with no timeouts to set up the game-tying field goal, Carr, following an overtime that looked like it was won and then lost, finally hit a wide-open Jones, which would set the tone for the season.
In Week 17, Carr hit Hunter Renfrow for 24 to set up the walk-off game-winner. In an upset following two close victories, the Raiders faced the red-hot Indianapolis Colts, and even with throwing two interceptions, the Raiders and Carr had a chance to win. On third down, Carr sidestepped All Pro linebacker Darius Leonard and hit Renfrow on the money for 24 yards after a review. The play led to a game-winning field goal and set up a match-up with everything on the line.
In Week 18, Carr completed a pass to Jones to keep a drive alive in overtime. In one of the wildest games you’ll ever see, the Raiders beat division rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers, to advance to the playoffs. It was third and eight with 2:32 to go, and if it had been an incomplete pass, Justin Herbert would’ve had a chance to add to his incredible game. Instead, Carr zips a sideline pass to Jones, who brings it in. The Raiders kicked the game-winning field goal a few plays later.
Carr had a lot of bad luck this season as well. His hot start cooled off drastically. In the team’s last 10 games, Carr only cracked the 300-yard mark once. He also only threw for 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions during that run. It’s easy to see why the Raiders went five for five over those last ten games. There were a lot of circumstances out of his control, but as a franchise quarterback, you expect better.
Does he stay or does he go?
In the last couple of seasons, personally speaking, I would’ve been fine with Carr being let go if it happened. This season, I say bring him back. There always seems to be an excuse for Carr, and I’ll be the first to tell you it’s annoying, but it’s hard to just ignore what happened this year and what he had to deal with, and never once did he complain. He just pushed forward. He had a career year while not playing his best every week and led some clutch drives that gave the Raiders their second playoff berth in 20 years. If Carr can get a true number one wide receiver and an improved offensive line, there’s no reason why the Raiders wouldn’t be back in the playoffs next season.
*Top Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports