With a wild 31-28 overtime win against the Miami Dolphins, Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders jumped out to 3-0 in 2021.
Their third game, played in Las Vegas’s Allegiant Stadium, saw the Dolphins jump out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Raiders responded with 25 straight points. The Dolphins countered with 11 fourth-quarter points, including a touchdown and two-point conversion with two seconds remaining.
The teams traded field goals in overtime before Las Vegas kicker Daniel Carlson nailed a 22-yarder with no time remaining on the clock.
The win marks the first time the Raiders have begun a season with three consecutive victories since 2002, when they reached the Super Bowl. They beat the Ravens in Week 1, 33-27 (in overtime), and the Steelers in Week 2, 26-17.
Leading the charge for the red-hot Raiders is quarterback Derek Carr. The eight-year veteran out of Fresno State is playing some of the best football of his career.
His 1,203 passing yards lead the NFL and make him just the fourth player in NFL history with at least 1,200 passing yards through his team’s first three games. Only Tom Brady (1,327 in 2011), Ryan Fitzpatrick (1,230 in 2018) and Kurt Warner (1,221 in 2000) have thrown for more. And dating back to Week 16 of last year, Carr has now posted at least 325 passing yards in five straight games, also the fourth to ever do so (joining Rich Gannon, Drew Brees and Warner).
Adding six touchdowns and two interceptions so far in 2021, Carr has matched the best quarterback rating of his career (101.4). He’s averaging a career-best 401.0 yards per game through the first three games, putting him on pace to finish with the highest passing yardage total of his career. His 8.8 yards per attempt is also the best of his career.
Carr — who threw for 386 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against the Dolphins — was asked about his poise and confidence in an on-field interview with CBS after the game.
“All the self-glory, that stuff is fleeting. I’ve already been through that,” Carr said. “God took me to a place that all I want to do is glorify Him, and wherever He’s going, that’s where I want to go. So if it’s a win, awesome. If not, I’m still gonna glorify Him.”
Carr has often spoken about his faith in Jesus since he entered the league in 2014.
Shortly before this season began, Carr told the Associated Press that his platform as an NFL quarterback is a gift from God.
“I believe God gave me talents to be in this position,” he said. “Anybody could be the quarterback here, but in my belief, He’s allowed me to be the quarterback here. And I’m gonna continue to give this thing everything that I have. I think that I’ve done that for seven years.”
Of those seven years, Carr has only seen one winning season, a 12-4 campaign in 2016 in which he found himself in the MVP conversation. However, an injury kept him out of the Raiders’ playoff loss to the Houston Texans.
Now, as Carr directs an offense loaded with weapons, the three-time Pro Bowler knows this season may be his best opportunity yet to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
“There has been one demand and that’s holding up that Lombardi Trophy — period,” Carr told the AP. “That’s all I care about, is holding that trophy up, and holding that trophy up [in Las Vegas].”
–Kevin Mercer | sportsspectrum.com