Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Week Ten

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Nov 15, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) prepares to throw a pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Carr’s Poor Decision Making

On one hand, Derek Carr had another big game, throwing for 302 yards – his fifth 300 plus yard game on the season – and two touchdowns, bringing his season total to 21, which matches his rookie season total.

The trouble is that Carr is already a really good quarterback with a really, really good arm. Because of that, he sometimes thinks perhaps, that he can do more than he actually can – like throwing into tight double coverage and not thinking he’ll get picked.

Carr has six interceptions on the season, and at least two of them aren’t his fault – his receiver bounced it off their hands and allowed for the easy pick. However, he’s also had a penchant for making bad decisions when the situation is stressful – like when the Raiders are down late in a game and the team needs some scores to get back into it.

Against the Vikings, Carr threw two bad interceptions – both to Terrance Newman. The first was on a short pass intended for Amari Cooper at Oakland’s own 45 yard line. That turnover led to a short drive that ended in a field goal for the Vikings.

The second pick was far worse. It came after a 68 yard drive with Oakland battling back. Trailing 23-16, Carr led the Raiders down to Minnesota’s 11 yard line. He threw a fade to Andre Holmes in the back of the endzone. Some will argue that Holmes didn’t make as strong of a play on the ball as he should have – he had a distinct height advantage over Newman, and yet the smaller cornerback ended up with the ball.

But Carr bears some of the responsibility in that he put the ball in a place where Newman had a shot at it to begin with. It was a slightly underthrown ball, Newman made a good play on it, and Holmes didn’t. That interception, with just a couple of minutes left in the game, pretty well sealed the win for Minnesota.

Carr is going to need to make better decisions with the ball and he’s going to have to make better throws in high pressure situations. That’s seasoning that will come with time and experience though. He has the arm and he has the talent, he just needs to make better decisions with the ball when the game is on the line.

Next: Holding the Line