Entering Sunday's game against the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was on the cusp of history. All he needed was 81 yards passing in order to pass Ken Stabler as the all-time passer in franchise history. Carr had 18,998 yards and 123 touchdowns, just behind Stabler and his 19,078 yards and 150 touchdowns.
Carr achieved his goal early on Sunday. He threw for 44 yards on the opening series of the game to draw closer to Stabler, and then broke the record prior to halftime. The record-breaker was a 12-yard completion to tight end, Darren Waller.
The Raiders former second-round pick from 2014 now sits solely atop the Raiders record books in terms of passing yards, and he just needs 26 touchdown passes to tie Stabler's record.
As a little-known rookie, Carr took the starting job from journeyman Matt Schaub with a strong preseason performance. He started all 16 games in 2014 while throwing for 3,270 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Carr also became the first Raiders quarterback to start all 16 games in a season since Rich Gannon back in 2002, breaking trend of injured or benched signal-callers.
Carr continued to make key plays for the Raiders in his sophomore season, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2015 as an alternate before leading his team to a 12-4 record in 2016. Carr was named to the Pro Bowl for the second time after throwing for 3,937 yards, 28 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. Unfortunately, his promising season ended in week 16 after suffering a broken fibula against the Indianapolis Colts. This injury forced him to miss the season finale as well as the wild-card loss to the Houston Texans.
Carr was able to return to the starting lineup in 2017 after recovering from his injury. However, he struggled at times during the season, only throwing for 22 touchdowns while increasing his interception total to 13. Carr still earned another Pro Bowl nod as an alternative to Tom Brady, but the Raiders finished 6-10 instead of heading back to the postseason. Owner Mark Davis fired Jack Del Rio after the season and brought in Jon Gruden, AKA Chucky.
Once the former head coach-turned-ESPN analyst came to town, Carr was immediately faced with comments about a dysfunctional relationship and how he would soon be the latest in a long line of quarterbacks dismissed by Gruden. However, the pair had a solid relationship overall during the season as Carr posted a career-high 4,049 yards and 68.9 completion percentage. His touchdown total did dip to 19 after Gruden traded away starter Amari Cooper and the other wide receivers bounced in and out of the rotation with injuries.0comments
Based on this 4-12 season, the prevailing thought was that Gruden would cut or trade Carr and select Kyler Murray in the 2019 NFL Draft. This rumor permeated all offseason, but the Raiders stuck with their sixth-year quarterback while the Cardinals selected Murray.
So far, this has been the correct move by Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock. Carr has been extremely efficient throughout the first two games, leading the Raiders to a victory to open the season and throwing two touchdowns to new wide receiver Tyrell Williams. Even with the drama created by Antonio Brown's trade and subsequent departure, Carr has continued to produce for his team while proving to be the best quarterback from a draft that featured Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel.