Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Week Nine

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Nov 8, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass under pressure from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr Giveth And He Taketh Away

The Raiders’ rise back to respectability – and beyond – has quite a bit to do with second year quarterback Derek Carr. He’s developed faster than most had expected and is already a very, very good NFL signal caller. As good as he is already, there is still considerable room for him to grow. His ceiling is sky high and we’re barely scratching the surface.

Carr has the potential to be an elite level quarterback in this league. Indeed, there are stretches where he most certainly looks as capable and dynamic as some of the NFL’s best.

But there are also times when he doesn’t make the best decisions. His arm is so strong that Carr sometimes thinks he can make a play that just isn’t there.

One such instance came in the fourth quarter when the Raiders were well inside the red zone and trailing by a touchdown. Carr forced a ball into the endzone but apparently did not see cornerback Ross Cockrell moving into the picture.

Cockrell picked Carr off in the endzone and ended that Oakland threat. The Steelers ultimately ended up having to punt the ball away, but they were able to burn more than two minutes off the clock – time the Raiders could have used as they mounted their comeback.

With time winding down and Oakland trailing, Carr made several other ill-advised throws – into double coverage and incredibly tight windows. He was pressing with his team trying to come back from a 14 point deficit within the last seven minutes of the game. But by pressing so hard, Carr very well could have put his team in a far worse position if the ball had taken a funny bounce here or there.

To get to that elite level he certainly seems very capable of, Carr is going to have to make better decisions with the football – even in crunch time as he tries to rally his team.

Ultimately, Carr got the job done and brought the Raiders all the way back to tie the game at 35 with just over a minute left in the ball game – and then the defense gave up a long play to Antonio Brown which allowed Pittsburgh to kick the game winning field goal.

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