One of the things that stood out to many Raider fans about the Raiders’ Thursday night win over the Chiefs was the play of WR Amari Cooper. He’s been having a quiet season to this point, but exploded for 210 yards and two scores against Kansas City.
However, after the game, Derek Carr said he didn’t see any difference in Cooper from this game and the earlier ones.
“You guys are going to think I’m crazy but there was no difference,” Carr said of Cooper. “We put him in positions to make plays, obviously. We knew that there were certain things that we liked. Nothing changed in his demeanor or his mentality or the way he worked or anything like that. We just stayed the course. We know what we have here and we know that if we just stay the course and work and grind through the tough times… Even today was tough. That’s a tough time against, probably one of if not the best team in football right now. For ‘Coop’ to just continue to grind and get on the other side of it, I just felt good for him. You guys know Amari. I think we all felt good for him.”
Carr went on to describe the special attributes Cooper has that make him a top-tier receiver and how he used them against Kansas City.
“When he was making the plays, the way he finished after the catch was really special,” Carr continued. “Obviously, we all know he can go up and get a ball and all those things. That second touchdown where he came across, the burst that he had, that’s freakish now. Not a lot of guys have that. I think No. 10 [Tyreek Hill] has that. I think Coop has that. To turn the jets on like that and just out run the angles of the defense, that was really special. I think just after the catch he just played with some dog in him, which we know he has. We were able to get him the ball and let him shine and do what he does.”
I’ll take Carr’s word for it that there was no difference in Cooper in this game. Carr’s on the field with him and I’m not. But there most certainly was a huge difference in results. Cooper seemed to do less with more in the early part of the season, and he made the most of nearly every opportunity against the Chiefs. It’s this type of effort from Cooper that makes the Raiders a truly dangerous team and one that will help Oakland get back into the AFC playoff picture.