Derek Carr’s passing totals won’t wow you these past few Raiders games. The quarterback hasn’t exceeded 229 yards in consecutive wins over Indianapolis and Chicago.
Josh Jacobs and the Raiders run game has taken center stage during these successful outings, with obviously excellent work from blockers up front and the sensational rookie running back.
Head coach Jon Gruden doesn’t want Carr’s contributions lost in this whole thing, though.
“He’s moving our team,” Gruden said. “Some of the things that are happening in the running game, he gets a lot of credit for. We’re not running into uphill looks. He’s doing a lot of recognition at the line of scrimmage.”
Carr’s getting the run game in position to succeed, and he is not making mistakes in the passing game despite working with an ever-changing, largely unheralded receiver corps.
He has taken one sack in two games, after taking seven in the two games before that. He hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 3. There have been a pair of botched handoffs, but one was Jacobs’ fault.
He has been precise when required and should have two more touchdowns if not for receiver error.
Gruden considers it clear that Carr is making progress and doing a ton to help this team win big games.
“His mastery of the offense is much better,” Gruden said. “He’s even coaching players. He’s coaching them on the sideline. He’s coaching them in the huddle. Our football focus stats hopefully will improve down the road, but you go on the road and beat Indianapolis and beat Chicago and put those kind of numbers together without a sack, that’s impressive. He engineered a 97-yard drive in the fourth quarter to win [vs. Chicago]. He’s been pinpoint with his throws. He’s been good with the football. He’s been a great leader for us. Give him a lot of credit.”
Carr has had to win games himself in the past or throw and throw and throw just trying to do so. The wealth has been shared more recently, with the Raiders running more than they’ve passed in the last two games. That’s a product of holding early leads and their efficiency moving on the ground. Carr would prefer balance and victories over gaudy numbers in defeat.
He has enjoyed watching the run game thrive, especially as Jacobs does great work helping Carr move the Raiders downfield.
“I get the best seat in the house for us running the football,” Carr said after beating the Bears. “I get to hand off, I get to watch those guys work up close and personal. And it was a lot of fun.”
The effort’s aided by a quarterback who can read defensive fronts and find the right plays to help the run game succeed.