After a subpar start, the Oakland Raiders were able to muster 29 unanswered points on path to their 38-24 comeback over the Buffalo Bills. Led offensively by quarterback Derek Carr and defensively by Khalil Mack, Jack Del Rio’s unit put forth a perfect ending to their 10th win of the season.
The Raiders continue their one-game lead in the AFC West and have officially topped the New England Patriots as the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The teams remain tied at the top, but the Raiders have statistically surpassed the Patriots, giving them the edge.
Upon dislocating his pinky in Week 12, Carr hurried to the locker room and came back in after missing only one series. His determination and leadership have captivated this team, as he and Mack have stood out as captains.
Coming into the matchup against the Bills, Carr and Del Rio consulted on a small, but impactful change on offense. Carr went from getting the ball under center to receiving it in a shotgun position.
When asked why the sudden change, Carr stated that it was precautionary to avoid further injuring the pinky, via Raiders.com:
“It’s just one of those things that why would you do again? Why risk it? Let’s give it another week to calm down a bit. I thought that was awesome, that our coaches had that mindset and came up with a great plan, especially in the run and play action game.”
The quarterback stated that the initial dislocation was some of the worst pain he has ever felt. However, he understood it wouldn’t stop him from returning to the Raiders.
Carr finished the game against the Bills by completing 19 of 35 passes, for 260 yards and two touchdowns. The 25-year-old also seemed to injure a finger on his other hand, during a play he rushed towards the outside.
While heading for the sideline, a Bills’ defender went for a low tackle, which knocked Carr off his feet. He used his left hand to impact the landing, then fumbling the ball on the jolt of pain during his landing. Fortunately for the Raiders, the injury was deemed non-serious after the trainers checked on him.
As a franchise quarterback, he understands that his effort and determination to succeed will set an example. When asked what is the driving force for the success the Raiders have had, the third-year player stated that the entire roster cares for one another:
“We have a great group of guys that we just believe in each other. That’s the biggest thing. You know, as a good unit, you have to always believe in one another. Someone is going to make a mistake, it’s inevitable. We just always have guys in this locker room that encourage one another and always believe that ‘hey, Derek is going to come back right to you.'”
It seems as though that has proven to be a lingering feeling with this team. Even when the Raiders are knocked down, they always stand back up and keep fighting, as a unit, until the end.