Had Derek Carr fumbled the ball away twice in a game any other time in his career, the quarterback would have heard it big time from his detractors, but anyone who watched knows the defense was responsible for the New England Patriots’ 36-20 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders last Sunday.
In fact, Carr continued his strong play through three games, even without his deep threat—Henry Ruggs III—and a depleted offensive line that had him moving around in the pocket more than he had to in the first two games as the Patriots pressured him throughout.
Carr, who last season broke Kenny Stabler’s franchise record for career passing yards, tried to keep the Raiders (2-1) in the game by completing 24-of-32 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns while not throwing an interception for the third consecutive game.
As usual, he wasn’t looking for any credit or pointing fingers after the game, which New England controlled by rushing for 250 yards to keep the ball away from him and the Raiders’ offense much of the way.
“Everyone took turns today,” said Carr, whose 149th touchdown pass pushed him past Daryle Lamonica for second on the Raiders’ all-time list, behind only Stabler’s 150.
“We lost the turnover battle and we lost the situational battle. That’s all it is. It’s one game. If we’re going to blow up everything after the good things that we’ve done after one game, then this game ain’t for some of those people. We are just fine. We’re going to be fine.
“ … We didn’t play our best game and we still made it a game (until the Patriots pulled away in the final minutes).”
Carr has been very good in the first three games this season, completing 74-of-100 passes for 784 yards and six touchdowns without a pick, good for a quarterback rating of 116.4.
That QBR rank is fifth in the NFL and second in the AFC behind Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills (3-0), who will face the Raiders on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
But he’s a stand-up guy and so he took some of the blame for tight end Darren Waller, Carr’s favorite receiver, making his only two catches for nine yards when the game was out of reaching, noting that the Patriots’ defense had something to do with that.
“I mean there was one play I missed him on, but they did a good job of making it look like a double when they weren’t doubling him, you know what I’m saying?” Carr said of what the Patriots were doing. “They do a good job, man.
“And you don’t have three seconds to say is he really doubling? I mean, you gotta play the game fast. You gotta make your decisions. And I owned up to that. I said, ‘Hey, man, I missed you, that was my fault.’ But besides that, there were times when he was in certain spots they’d drop underneath him. When he was in other spots they would double him.”
With Waller taken away much of the time, Carr turned to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, who led the Raiders with six receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown, while setting up another score with a 27-yard catch to the one-yard line.
“If we can control what we can control and go out there and take care of the ball and protect the quarterback and make some catches, then we’ll have a good chance of winning,” said Renfrow, who pointed out the obvious without mentioning Carr.
Carr completed 22-of-30 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown in a 34-30 season-opening victory over the Carolina Panthers, and then was 28-of-30 for 284 yards and three scores in a 34-24 win over the New Orleans Saints.
Against the Saints, Carr picked himself and his team up after being sacked three times in the first half.
“This guy’s a great quarterback and we’re surrounding him with better players,” Raiders Coach Jon Gruden has said of Carr. “When our defense starts playing to their potential, he could be even better. He does so much with the ball and without the ball and behind the scenes that Raider fans should be proud of him. I know I am.”
The Raiders must get healthy quickly to help Carr keep things going in the right direction.
How to watch or listen to the Las Vegas Raiders versus the Buffalo Bills Sunday?
TV: CBS 1 PM ET/10 AM PT
Radio: Raider Nation Radio
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