Quarterback Derek Carr has led the Oakland-Las Vegas Raiders to 30 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and overtime in his nine seasons with the Silver and Black, according to Pro Football Reference.
The 6-3, 210-pound Carr, who was selected by the Raiders in the second round (No. 36 overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Fresno State, pulled off seven of those comebacks in 2016 to put Oakland in the playoffs with a 12-4 record.
One of the most impressive of those came when Carr threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and rallied the Raiders to a 27-20 victory over the Houston Oilers in Week 10 on Monday Night Football at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
“Oh man, you talk about winning games in the stretch, (Carr) put us in position to win the game,” said Raiders All-Pro defensive end/outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who made his seventh sack in five games and eighth of the season. “And you’ve seen the pass to (Jamize) Olawale, you’ve seen the pass to the Latavius, he’s playing great football.”
Quarterback Brock Osweiler thew a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver and running back Lamar Miller ran one yard for a touchdown before Nick Novak’s second field goal of the game from 27 yards to give the Oilers a 20-13 lead with 10:57 left in the game.
However, Carr pulled the Raiders even only 13 seconds later when he hit fullback Jamize Olawale with what turned out to be a 75-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-20 with 10:44 left.
“That was huge for our team,” wide receiver Amari Cooper said of Olawale’s touchdown. “Everybody was happy on the sidelines and you saw that they felt like the momentum was shifting for them.”
The Raiders’ defense then took over, stopping Miller for no gain on third and fourth downs and short, giving the ball back to Carr and the Raiders at the Oakland 23-yard line with a little more than six minutes remaining in the game.
Carr went back to work at his specialty of driving his team to victory in the final minutes, needing only five plays to give the Raiders a 27-20 lead on a 35-yard touchdown pass to Cooper with 4:43 remaining in the game.
The Raiders’ defense did its job again, forcing the Oilers to punt with three minutes remaining, and this time Carr and the Silver and Black were able to run out the clock.
On fourth-and-one at the Houston 39-yard line with over a minute to left in the game, the Raiders went for it, and running back Latavius Murray broke off a six-yard run to essentially wrap up the victory.
“There’s never a doubt in our minds,” said Carr, who completed 21-of-31 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns, including a 17-yarder to running back Jalen Richard in the second quarter. “There was never a doubt last year, there is never a doubt this year. It’s just, who’s going to make the play?”
“We have worked for it. But we know when we get there, we’re going to be humble. We are going to remain humble. As soon as you get proud, you will fall. …We fear nobody – that’s what Coach (Jack) Del Rio teaches us.”
Unfortunately, after getting the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time since 2002, Carr didn’t get there himself because he sustained a broken right leg in the 15th game of the regular season, a 23-15 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Without Carr, the Raiders lost to the same Texans, 27-14, in an AFC wild-card game.
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