DENVER -- Derek Carr was at his best Sunday against the Denver Broncos. His best is pretty freaking good.
The Raiders quarterback was awesome all game, completing 29 of 32 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to complete 90 percent of his passes with more than 30 attempts, per ESPN.
Raiders QB Derek Carr became the first player in NFL history to complete at least 90% of his passes in a game in which he had 30+ attempts. He was 29-of-32 today (90.6%).— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 17, 2018
Carr was decisive and accurate with his throws Sunday, and he led the Raiders offense well.
“I thought Derek Carr played great today,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “He’s a great player, I think he’s going to be an outstanding player. I look forward to the days ahead. Hopefully there are several (good ones).”
The coach and the quarterback didn’t revel in a job well done. The final score didn’t permit that. A tough 20-19 loss ruined the mood, though there were plenty of encouraging signs about the Raiders offense’s performance.
Carr moved the ball extremely well through the air and rarely let it touch the ground, but he said he didn’t feel any more locked-in than he recently has.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I have felt last week and this week like I have all offseason. There’s no being in a zone,” Carr said. “I’m just trying to run Coach Gruden’s plays to the best of my ability, the exact way he wants it done. … I wish I had something better for you, but I just feel like we are executing the way we should.”
Carr took some heat after throwing three interceptions in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, where his decision-making was called into question. Carr said he didn’t listen to criticism on social media or in the press, and he shut that storyline down Sunday. He proved his decision-making is just fine, thank you, and he can push the ball downfield with pace when required.
“Derek was great,” said receiver Amari Cooper, who led the Raiders with 10 catches for 116 yards. “He was very accurate with the ball, and made a ton of plays.”
Leading his team to victory is the primary objective. Nay, the only one.
Carr didn’t check that box, but he's clearly growing within Gruden’s system. That ultimately should help the bottom line as the season continues.
Carr refuses to let results, personal or team-related, pull focus from the grind.
“We’re going to have days where I throw three picks or I’m going to throw [for] five touchdowns. I’ve done both,” Carr said. “We have to play level-headed and, as a team, stay together, push forward and grind this week in practice. There’s no other recipe for getting better. That’s how we have to do it. We need to learn as a team through this experience and, next time we’re in that spot, finish the game.”