OAKLAND -- Jalen Richard has joined Derek Carr on several fourth-quarter, game-winning drives since becoming a member of the Raiders in 2016. The running back knows how his captain signal-caller operates in the clutch.
When Carr entered the Raiders huddle with roughly five minutes left in a tie game, Richard knew right away his quarterback was locked in.
“I saw it in his eyes,” Richard said. “You know when DC gets that look? … In times when you really, really need it, you see the greatness coming. He’s going to give us the opportunity, and we have to make the plays.”
Make plays they did. The Raiders went 75 yards on seven plays to score the game-deciding touchdown in a 31-24 victory over the Detroit Lions here at Oakland Coliseum.
Richard was involved in four of them, including to huge pass plays working down the field. Carr cashed in with a scramble-drill touchdown to Hunter Renfrow that Jon Gruden considers the best play the quarterback has made the past two seasons.
Carr’s 18th career game-winner in the fourth quarter was expertly run from play calling to execution, orchestrated by a maestro at the peak of his powers. Carr was in complete command, and the Raiders offense fed off that poise under pressure.
“There’s never a letdown with this group,” Carr said. “I’ve been on teams where an opponent scores and ties it, they’re disappointed. Not here. We have a lot of veterans on this team, especially up front, who have been in this situation. We can give young guys confidence and belief that, if they just do their job, we’ll win the game. We try to keep it mellow even though the stakes are really high.”
The Raiders were certainly excited after the drive’s first play, a perfectly arched throw to Richard caught over his shoulder for a 31-yard gain.
“I just kept working to get on top and I trusted DC that it was going to be there,” Richard said. “Once I won, I popped and it was like, ‘one Mississippi, two’ and, bam, it was right there.”
The Raiders had practiced that play a few times and it didn’t go to Richard. That was the right play based upon the coverage, and Carr’s experience with the running back created trust required to throw that ball.
Richard ran twice for a combined 12 yards and was targeted again as a receiver in a huge spot.
“It was a shallow cross,” Richard said. “I had a cornerback on me and I just had to run away from him. He was moving, too, but I got away from him enough to get down the field.”
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Richard went 23 yards on a play that put the Raiders inside the Lions’ 10-yard line. Carr hit Renfrow two plays later rolling to his left, buying time until the rookie receiver came free. He had zero problem going to the fifth-round rookie in a pivotal moment.
“I had trust in Hunter from the moment I met him,” Carr said. “He loves football. You can see it in his eyes. His love for team. He does not care if he catches that ball, I promise you that. The guy just wants to win. When guys are that selfless, it feels great when they come back and make a huge play.”