Carr closes in on milestones in Raiders finale
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — A 4,000-yard season, the franchise single-season touchdown record and other milestones are all in in reach for Derek Carr heading into Sunday’s season finale at Kansas City.
Predictably, those all take a back seat to Carr’s main objective.
“I just want a win,” Carr said. “That’s my main goal, is going in there and making sure we come out with the victory. I’ve had some big stat games that have resulted in losses, and that’s not why I play this game.”
Carr has put up significantly better numbers and more than twice as many wins in Year 2 as quarterback of the Raiders (7-8), solidifying his role as a building block for the franchise.
Carr needs 207 yards against the Chiefs to join Rich Gannon and Carson Palmer as the only 4,000-yard passers in Raiders history. He’s three touchdown passes away from tying Daryle Lamonica’s single-season franchise record of 34 set in 1969; He needs one TD pass to break a tie with Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning for second most ever in his first two seasons.
“I think he’s had a really strong year,” coach Jack Del Rio said. ”″It’s one more opportunity to add on to that. He’s nearing the franchise record for touchdowns thrown. He’s thrown for a bunch of yards. He’s done a great job bringing us back in several games. I think he’s had a really strong year. It’d be great to end that year on a strong note.”
The performance this year has ended any doubts raised when Oakland went 3-13 in 2014 of whether Carr is the person to build the offense around.
One big difference this season is he has had much more help. Rookie receiver Amari Cooper has 70 catches for 1,050 yards and seven touchdowns, and running back Latavius Murray has rushed for 1,035 yards. That puts the Raiders in striking distance of joining the 1996 New England Patriots (Drew Bledsoe, Terry Glenn, Curtis Martin) as the only teams to have a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard rusher, with all three age 25 or under.
“To be able to do those things has been really fun,” Carr said. “It’s been really cool, but it kind of just goes unnoticed when we’re going about our business, because, man, I could correct that or I could fix that or I could be better here, I could do this better. So we don’t really think about it, but it’s been cool.
“But I know myself and I know those guys, we want more. We want to do more.”
While many of Carr’s numbers as a rookie were generated late in lopsided games, the Raiders have had the ball with the lead or deficit of seven points or less in the fourth quarter of the past 14 games.
Carr leads the NFL with five TD passes that tied the game or gave the Raiders the lead in the fourth quarter. He’s been very willing to throw balls into tight windows with the game on the line.
“I would say it’s a skill that he was born with,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. “He definitely is accurate. He’s confident in his own abilities to stick it in those tight windows, and then he can anticipate, he can see those windows opening up before they actually do.”
But that has also led to a league-worst five interceptions in the fourth quarter when Oakland was tied or within seven points. Reducing those bad plays will be a major task this offseason.
“I do take chances sometimes,” Carr said. “I do try and fit things in tight windows. Either it’s going to turn out great or it’s going to be their ball. I just have to be smarter there and put our team in a better situation. I don’t have to make every play. I don’t have to do it all on my own.”
NOTES: S Charles Woodson won the Craig Long Award for professionalism and collaboration with the media. ... CB DJ Hayden (ankle) and CB Neiko Thorpe (neck) are the only players listed as questionable this week. Everyone else is probable or will play.
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