A win at Arrowhead Stadium had been elusive for the veteran Las Vegas Raiders quarterback but a 40-32 victory over the defending champion Chiefs, and a hot start to 2020, is helping change the narrative.
Derek Carr has taken a ton of heat from every direction for not being able to win at Arrowhead Stadium. Prior to Sunday’s matchup with Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, his record against the Chiefs stood at a subpar 2-10 and 0-6 on the road. Simply put, Carr has not played well against the team’s biggest AFC West rival.
Carr said, prior to the start of the 2020 season, he was tired of he and his team being disrespected.
He’s been questioned as being the right man for the job by fans and sports talking heads nationwide. Meanwhile, he owns nearly every passing record in franchise history. Last week after surpassing Ken Stabler’s franchise record for touchdown passes (151) in a close loss, Derek Carr proclaimed he’s sick of losing.
Derek Carr had a chance to change the momentum of that narrative by going into Kansas City and beating the unbeaten Chiefs.
And to put it simply: he silenced the critics in a big way.
Getting the Gorilla Off His Back
Today, Carr was sensational and led his team to victory. Carr has played well for the last two weeks but when things were looking at their worst he delivered. Carr shook off the interception and proceeded to shred the Chiefs esteemed passing defense.
Completing 11-of-13 passes for 246 yards, three touchdowns and one interception (his first of the season) in the first half alone, Carr matched Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes throw for throw and outplayed him down the stretch. Derek Carr finished with 347 yards on 22-of-31 passes, the three TDs, and averaged 11.2 yards per completion. Carr made the most of right tackle Trent Brown and wide receiver Henry Ruggs III returning to the lineup.
The Raiders offense looked like one of the most dominant units in the league against an opportunistic Chiefs defense. The 40-32 win improves their record to 3-2 heading into their bye week and sees them getting healthier.
Disaster was averted when Carr airmailed a pass over tight end Darren Waller’s head, into the waiting arms of Chiefs defender Bashaud Breeland. Already ahead 7-3, the Chiefs proceeded to score in four plays and take a commanding 14-3 lead.
In completely uncharacteristic fashion, Derek Carr channeled his inner Daryl Lamonica, aka “The Mad Bomber,” and proceeded to pound the Chiefs into submission. Carr threw a season-high six passes of 20+ yards and completed four of them – two for touchdowns in the first half alone. Al Davis, the Raiders late franchise owner, loved going deep. Seeing Carr beating the hated rival Chiefs on the road would surely put a smile on his face the week the team remembered his passing in 2011.
Silencing his critics
Carr has been doing everything possible to win and it looks like it’s all coming together for him in 2020. He’s throwing the ball deep when teams crowd his short throws, he’s been more patient in the pocket, has made the correct reads, and has distributed the ball to all his weapons. He’s also using his legs more and more, a frequent weakness in previous years, and is keeping plays alive for his teammates.
In the last two games, Carr has thrown for 657 yards and 5 TDs against two playoff teams. Carr is off to the best start of his career again and is checking off things his critics have claimed he can’t do one by one.