The Oakland Raiders began their 2016 season on a high note, capturing an impressive 35-34 victory over the New Orleans Saints on the road. In head coach Jack Del Rio’s second season opener with the franchise, the team went step for step with elite quarterback Drew Brees.
While Del Rio did a magnificent job in preparing his team heading into Week 1, the last drive feel into the hands of quarterback Derek Carr. With little time remaining, Carr led the silver and black down the field, attempting to possibly tie or take the lead.
After entering the red zone, Carr connected with Seth Roberts on a 10-yard touchdown to bring the Raiders within one point. In the first week of the season, teams on the road have a difficult decision to make when attempting to go to overtime or go for the win.
However, Carr remained composed and directed the offense to stay on the field. While coach Del Rio stated the team was in agreement on going for a two-point conversion, the 25-year-old quarterback showed leadership in gathering the troops to be in unison.
With the pressure on, Carr connected with veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree and converted the two-point conversion for the lead, and eventual victory to start the season.
While Carr has emerged into a top-notch NFL quarterback, his road to success was a long one. With many mentors during his career, the California native succeeded behind the fuel of motivation.
That fuel is similar to that Kobe Bryant, a 20-year legend for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant, known to many as the black mamba for his killer instincts, has provided mentorship to many athletes across multiple sports.
During those difficult late-game drives, Carr alluded to Bryant’s ‘mamba mentality’ and the preparedness that goes with it, via Raiders.com:
“In my head, I’m a big Kobe fan, so that mamba mentality. You got to go out there, and you’ve got to do it. I’ve studied him, watched him forever, and that’s always been my mindset when I get in those situations.”
Carr, who grew up in Bakersfield, California, grew up a Bryant fan and idolized him and his clutch performances during his legendary career.
For Week 1, Carr connected on 24 of 38 passes, for 319 passing yards and one touchdown. The upset victory in Week 1 is a strong standpoint to build off of, as the Raiders enter a Week 2 matchup at the Oakland Coliseum against the Atlanta Falcons.