Derek Carr Not At His Best But Raiders Offense Trending In The Right Direction
Don’t look now, but the Raiders offense is beginning to trend in the right direction. They haven’t reached their 2016 form, but Todd Downing might actually be making progress with his offensive group.
Not buying it? Well, consider this…
Derek Carr and the Raider offense averaged just 184 yards-per-game passing over the first five games of the season. In his last six games, Carr is averaging 301 yards-per-game in the air and it’s probably not a coincidence that the Raiders have a 4-2 record during that stretch.
Marshawn Lynch has also been more effective in recent weeks. In the same six-game stretch, Lynch missed two with a suspension and has been on a tear ever since. In his past four games ‘Beast Mode’ has put up 292 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He’s also been more active as a receiver.
Instead of Lynch’s 31 year-old body wearing down late in games, it’s been opposing defenses that are being worn down by Lynch.
There’s also reason for more optimism around the Raiders receiving corps.
In the absence of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Cordarrelle Patterson has been reintroduced to the offense – and in a good way. Patterson led the Raiders in receiving yards in each of the last two weeks despite only getting only four targets in both games.
Through the first nine games of the season, Patterson tallied just 69 yards on 14 receptions (4.9 yards per reception). In his last three games, Patterson has 214 yards on 11 receptions (19.4 yards per reception) and has been making an impact on more than just short throws.
Carr has benefitted from increased production of his wide receivers and running backs and has a 93.7 quarterback rating over the last four weeks (his season QB rating last year was 96.7).
Still, it doesn’t seem that Carr is fully comfortable. Whether it’s the coordinator change or the recent back injury, Carr is still trying to get back to being where he was a year ago. His accuracy has been an issue and it looks like his throwing velocity might be down a pinch since injuring his back.
The good news is Carr will travel to Kansas City this year much healthier than he did a year ago and the weather on Sunday is forecast to be in the mid-50’s – a welcome adjustment from the freezing conditions (and spidercam wires) that haunted the team a season ago.
If you’re looking for reasons to be encouraged going into Sunday, go ahead and digest all of the above. The Chiefs don’t look like a team that can figure out their left hand from their right, so there’s no reason the Raiders can’t take control of the division on Sunday – even if it has to happen on a field the Raiders haven’t won on since 2012.
Hey, it worked once this season. Let’s try it again.
Chiefs miss a 42-yard field goal as time expires.
Raiders 24, Chiefs 21.