FanPost

Can Derek Carr-Led Raiders Win At Denver?

The question has been raised: what will happen to the Las Vegas Raiders following the tumultuous resignation of erstwhile head coach Jon Gruden?

That question is immaterial to Raider fans. Can the Silver and Black win in Denver? That is what we want to know--and all we want to know. 2021 Raider fortunes may well rest upon the outcome.

If one is trying to prove a Raider rise-from-the-ashes mentality, isn't Denver the perfect place to test such a result? What, in our disheveled mind, would that victory look like?

To gain a better understanding of future Silver-and-Black fortunes, one needs to look no farther than their quarterback's arm--as in Derek Carr.

There are dozens of possible outcomes concerning Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders. Here are four such outcomes:

1) Derek Carr goes to Denver, lights up the scoreboard, and Raiders win;

2) Derek Carr goes to Denver, plays marginally well, and Raiders win;

3) Derek Carr goes to Denver, plays marginally poor, and Raiders lose;

4) Derek Carr goes to Denver, stinks up the stadium, and Raiders lose.

Let's go to the archives and see how Derek Carr has fared historically in the Mile-High city of anger toward all things Silver and Black:

2014: Denver 47, Oakland Raiders 14 (week 17)

C/ATT

YDS

AVG

TD

INT

SACKS

QBR

RTG

Derek Carr

18/36

158

4.4

1

1

3-26

9.9

59.7

2015: Oakland Raiders 15, Denver 12 (week 14)

C/ATT

YDS

AVG

TD

INT

SACKS

QBR

RTG

Derek Carr

12/29

135

4.7

2

0

3-36

18.2

79.0

2016: Derek Carr did not play (broken leg)

(What week was that, Raider fans?)

2017: Denver 16, Oakland Raiders 10 (Carr suffers broken back) (week 4)

C/ATT

YDS

AVG

TD

INT

SACKS

QBR

RTG

Derek Carr

10/18

143

7.9

1

0

2-12

45.6

100.0

2018: Denver 20, Oakland Raiders 19 (week 2)

C/ATT

YDS

AVG

TD

INT

SACKS

QBR

RTG

Derek Carr

29/32

288

9.0

1

0

1-7

82.0

114.6

2019: Denver 16, Oakland Raiders 15 (week 17)

C/ATT

YDS

AVG

TD

INT

SACKS

QBR

RTG

Derek Carr

29/46

391

8.5

1

0

2-11

53.0

97.3

2020: Oakland Raiders 32, Denver 31 (week 17)

C/ATT

YDS

AVG

TD

INT

SACKS

QBR

RTG

Derek Carr

24/38

371

9.8

2

2

3-12

58.3

91.0

Derek Carr, during his career, is 2 - 4 against Denver at Denver. Could it be argued that Derek Carr cannot defeat the Denver Broncos at Denver?

Not so fast, Kemosabe. Before one relegates Derek Carr to the scrap-heap of Mile-High history, go back and look at the last three Raider-Bronco games in Denver: all one-point games (two Raider losses and one win). Look at Derek Carr's passing statistics: he threw for an average of 350 yards per game in those three games.

Denver is not an easy place to win. The fans are loud and unruly, there is rarified air, and the officials will blithely make calls for the home team (who remembers the Rob Lytle fumble in the 1977 AFC Championship?). The orange-and-navy jerseys will swarm the field like wild banshees—Bob Chandler had his spleen lacerated in 1981 and nearly died.

In spite of all this, the Las Vegas Raiders must find a way to win. Others have tried, with varying degrees of success. Ken Stabler was 5-1-1 in Denver (1973 – 1979), while Jim Plunkett broke even at 2-2 (1980 – 1984). If Derek Carr needs comfort, he can shake his head vis-a-vis Rich Gannon’s at-Denver record: 1-5 (1998 – 2003).

Victory can be won. Tom Flores said it best: when the Raiders play in Denver, just try to escape with a win. A victory puts the Silver and Black in the catbird seat at 4-2 (.667); a loss drops them to a level of mediocrity last seen in, well, 2020 Denver.

Regardless of who makes the big play(s), it is safe to assume: Raider fortunes in Denver will go as far as their quarterback’s arm.

Las Vegas Raiders 23, Denver Broncos 21.

Craig Parker

Author, Football’s Blackest Hole

Sarasota FL