The Oakland Raiders started off the 2019 season the best way they possibly could with a win over the Denver Broncos. The team succeeded at every level and dominated a stout Denver defense. It was a win that the Raiders needed with a brutal road trip looming. Much of the team’s success started with quarterback Derek Carr.
Rumors were aplenty that Jon Gruden was ready to move on from Carr after the 2018 season. Potential moves to land Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins were brought up, but Gruden decided to stick by Carr. It wasn’t that long ago when Carr was a full-fledged MVP candidate. 2017 and 2018 weren’t good for the quarterback, but he’s entering his second year in Gruden’s offense and has a rebuilt offensive line. He put on a clinic in the face of one of the fearest pass rushes in the NFL.
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Derek Carr Had Best Game of Career vs. Broncos, Says Pro Football Focus
Monday’s performance is the kind that should get Raiders fans really excited about Carr. Anybody with eyes could’ve told you that he was amazing against Denver, but if you dig further and see what the analytics say, you’d see that he was even more impressive. That’s exactly what Pro Football Focus did.
Carr had a career night with a 92.6 overall grade, four big-time throws and zero turnover-worthy plays. When he was clean, Carr had a 91.4 passing grade, 120.0 passer rating, 90% adjusted completion percentage and 9.0 yards per attempt. When under pressure, Carr had a 82.7 passing grade on his five pass attempts while averaging 14.0 yards per attempt and putting up a 118.8 passer rating. Whether he was in a clean pocket or under pressure, Carr excelled and hardly had a flat-out bad throw.
“Carr dropped dimes all night on his deeper throws,” continued PFF. “If Gruden sprinkles in a few more bombs downfield within his west coast offense, Derek Carr can be a top-12 QB this year.”
Even though he only threw one touchdown pass, Carr still wowed the analytics site. If this is an indication of what’s to come, he could be in for another MVP-type year. It’s even more impressive that he’s doing this without Antonio Brown, who was supposed to be his number one target in 2019. He now has to rely on Tyrell Williams, but that shouldn’t be too bad considering how he played in the game against Denver.
Obviously, it’s still just one game and Oakland has a very tough road to the playoffs. The Raiders are still a young team, so if they don’t make the playoffs, it shouldn’t be a huge knock against the talent on the roster. What the team needs from this 2019 season is to see what positions still need to be addressed and that Carr can prove that he’s the right guy to lead the team into the future. Based on Monday’s performance, Carr could be sticking around for quite a while.