Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders have built themselves an identity as they have raced out to a 3-0 start.
The Raiders have been both comeback kings and overtime heroes. Carr has led the way as he is leading the NFL in passing yardage and is an early MVP favorite.
In both of their home games — Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens and in Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins — Las Vegas overcame 14-0 deficits and won both games in overtime. Carr made huge plays in both overtimes.
The eight-season veteran said his mindset for excelling late in games was established in college at Fresno State.
“Yeah, you know in college we use to say, ‘Let’s go play for four quarters or as long as it takes to win.’ And that’s just been something I just bought into,” Carr said. “From when Pat Hill (his head coach at Fresno State) and coaches were saying that from Fresno State. We have a good football team. We have yet to play great on all three phases, all together. We haven’t even played our best football.
“You know, I’m sitting there with [Head] Coach [Jon] Gruden in the locker room after the game, after he talked to us, I’m like, ‘Man this play, that play. I messed that up.’ And he was like, ‘Dude you’re alright, we threw the ball well, we’ll correct that tomorrow.’ But that’s, just the mindset. Keep the process, keep going, and that we and we try to do everything it takes to play as long as it takes to win the football game. So far we’ve been able to win three of them and that’s a good start.”
On 2nd & 15 with 2:43 left in overtime, Derek Carr finds Bryan Edwards 28 yards downfield with only 0.6 yards of separation from #29 Brandon Jones when the ball arrived.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 27, 2021
The #Raiders win probability increased from 43% → 62% as a result of the play.#MIAvsLV | #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/kFnNRNDvAI
Carr, who had a record 20 fourth-quarter comebacks in his first seven NFL seasons, said he’s always wanted to deliver in the clutch.
“It’s something as a little kid, you know my brother would always joke with me, it’s my favorite moment,” Carr said. “I was a little kid on our hoop that my dad cemented in our house on a driveway like this, I would always count down 3…2…1 for hours. I wanted the last shot. I wanted the last throw. After I threw the routes, I would go play receiver even. I’d be like “Dad last play, game is on the line, throw it, make me dive.”
“I just always loved that moment because I’d miss some, obviously, but I’d also hit some. And it’s such a cool moment. I really feel like those moments bring your team together because you look after Bryan Edwards catches that ball, I think it was the second drive in overtime, he catches that ball and everybody is fired up for him. It just brings everybody together. I’m just happy I get to be in those situations. Obviously I would want to win them early, but I always just enjoy that. I’ve never been perfect, but you just got to love that moment. It starts in the mind I think.”
I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of these Carr-led moments in the 2021 season.