Derek Carr was playing with a broken back. This can’t be forgotten.
The Oakland Raiders needed a win Thursday night and they needed their young and injured quarterback to carry them. And he did it. He had to do it over and over and over on the final plays, but he did it. With broken bones in his back.
The ending of Thursday night’s 31-30 Raiders win over the Kansas City Chiefs was as incredible as it gets. The Raiders almost had four touchdowns on consecutive plays before finally getting a game-winning touchdown on a second untimed down at the end. It was one of the battiest finishes to an NFL game in many years.
Jared Cook looked like he had a game-winning touchdown catch from Carr with 16 seconds left, but he was ruled down at the 1-yard line. There was a 10-second runoff after the replay review, a renewal of the weird rule we saw at the end of the Falcons-Lions game earlier this season. The fun was just starting.
Michael Crabtree looked like he had a game-winning touchdown, but he was called for offensive pass interference. The Raiders were moved back. Then Cook dropped a pass that hit him in the hands in the end zone, but defensive holding was called. On an untimed down, Cordarrelle Patterson was out of bounds in the back of the end zone on a potential touchdown catch but there was another defensive holding call. And then, finally, Crabtree scored when Carr hit him in the end zone. The Raiders kicked the extra point to win and save their season. It was one of the best regular-season games you’ll see.
The common theme of those plays at the end was Carr. He wouldn’t be denied. No matter how many times he was asked to deliver at the end, he kept doing it. And it wasn’t just the craziness at the end. The Raiders needed to go 85 yards in the final few minutes. Carr hit some huge passes, including a big fourth-down throw to Cook to keep the drive alive. Then he got the Raiders in position to win with a long pass to Cook in the final seconds. He finished it with a rollout touchdown pass to Crabtree. Carr told NFL Network after the game he and Crabtree had worked on that play a lot in practice but never in a game, and it was always to the right. This time he sprinted left, and they still connected to win the game. It was an incredible clutch performance. Carr had 417 yards and three touchdowns.
Instead of being 2-5 and practically done with a loss, the Raiders are 3-4. It’s not ideal, but it’s not a death sentence either.
Oh, right. Carr’s back. He broke three transverse processes in his back on Oct. 1. He missed one game and beat most timetables to return after that. The Raiders needed Carr to carry them to a season-saving win on Thursday night. And he did so, broken back and all, in the most exhilarating finish to a game this season.
– – – – – – –