You could argue that the head coach matchup on Monday Night Football is largely lopsided. Andy Reid is one of the most successful coaches in NFL history, while Josh McDaniels is trying to find his footing in his second attempt at being a head coach. However, the duel that has come to define the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs rivalry is between Derek Carr and Patrick Mahomes. For the eighth time in their personal matchup, Mahomes and Carr will face off. Mahomes owns a 7-1 record and has dominated the series. Let’s see how the pair stacks up this time around.
Derek Carr vs. Patrick Mahomes: The numbers don’t lie
Mahomes trounces Carr on a statistical basis. Mahomes has racked up over 1,100 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and three total turnovers. On the other hand, Carr has accounted for passing 1,000 yards, six touchdowns, and a total of six interceptions. The casual fan would say their numbers are close, but in reality, they aren’t. Their passing yards are close, but the touchdowns and turnovers aren’t. This is where great quarterbacks separate themselves from the rest.
The Raiders’ offense has been notoriously conservative this season, often settling for field goals. In terms of red zone scoring percentage (touchdowns), the Raiders are near the bottom at 28th place with 44.4 percent. By comparison, the Chiefs are in the top five (4th place) with a 73.68 scoring percentage. The turnover battle between Mahomes and Carr is also one-sided. In fact, Carr and fumbles have become synonymous with each other at this point. However, you have to give credit where it’s due. Carr has worked on his interceptions. After tossing three picks against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1, Carr only has one interception to his name since then.
What about the eye test?
Mahomes prevails in the statistical battle, and guess what? He also has the upper hand in the eye test.
Although it was good to see Carr use his legs in the Raiders’ Week 4 victory over the Denver Broncos, this doesn’t compare to Mahomes’ use of his legs. Mahomes is a magician who makes the most of his apparent speed. Raiders fans wish Carr would prolong plays like Mahomes does. What truly makes it frustrating for Raiders fans is that Carr does indeed have the speed; he just doesn’t use it, at least not consistently.
Mahomes’s off-the-script play separates him from everyone else. In this facet of their respective games, they are two complete opposites. Mahomes won’t falter under duress and will deliver regardless of the circumstances. On the other hand, Carr lacks that swagger, that extra gear, if you will.
As far as the arm comparison goes, the difference isn’t as drastic as some would like to believe it is. The difference lies in the mentality. If you’re talking about sheer arm strength, Mahomes has repeatedly demonstrated that he has one of the strongest arms in the NFL. It’s all gas, no brakes for Mahomes. In every situation, he trusts that strong arm of his.
Patrick Mahomes is better, but Derek Carr is no slouch either.
Since Mahomes is regarded as the league’s best quarterback, the Raiders are automatically eliminated from this head-to-head comparison. Comparing Carr to Mahomes is unfair. Carr still performs well as a quarterback in the NFL, where he is usually rated between 12th and 15th among quarterbacks every offseason.
As he attempts to assist in earning his second-ever victory over Mahomes, Carr has the opportunity to put the doubters to rest. The Silver and Black need an aggressive Carr if the Raiders are to have a shot. He needs to take charge of the offense and score touchdowns rather than lead more stalled drives in the red zone.
Will the Raiders and Carr turn their record around to 2-3 or will Mahomes and the Chiefs extend their lead in the rivalry and the AFC West title race?
*Top Photo: Chris Unger/Getty Images