Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders knocked off defending Super Bowl Champions, The Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, and it has a lot of fans wondering about a playoff run for Vegas. In fact, between the consistency that Carr showed throughout the afternoon, and the defense holding on key plays, this could be the beginning of something great for the team.
How did it happen, though? How did the Las Vegas Raiders go from a middle-tier team that would be lucky to limp into the playoffs to a threat to the title? While fans might be getting ahead of themselves with all this title talk, especially with 11 games still to go in the season, their win over the Chiefs showed flashes of brilliance from a previously floundering team.
Let’s start with the obvious and say that Derek Carr proved all the haters wrong today. Whether that lasts or not remains to be seen, but Carr came up clutch in this game. With four touchdowns, 347 yards, and only one turnover, Carr proved that he can dismantle a top-tier defense and score in critical situations. He also proved that with receivers like Henry Ruggs III, Darren Wallner, and Nelson Agholor, who all scored against the Chiefs, there should be no problem spreading the ball around when everyone is healthy.
Another thing that went right for Carr and his wide receivers are their completion percentages. For example, Carr had a 70% completion rating during Sunday’s game, and his key wide receivers also turned in great performances. Henry Ruggs III caught two of his three targets Sunday, Nelson Agholor didn’t have a drop all game, and Darren Wallner caught 5 of his seven targets.
Then there was Joshua Jacobs, who had 23 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s game and contributed in the air with 25 yards as well. Although he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry and wasn’t much help in moving the ball, he did put points on the board twice and did a decent job as receiver.
Finally, the defense held the high-powered Kansas City offense to zero points in the third quarter and eight points in the fourth. Jeff Heath also intercepted Mahomes late in the game, which set up an easy score for Joshua Jacobs one play later. The Raiders even forced the Chiefs to punt four times during the game and held Mahomes to only two touchdowns.
The key components of this win are Carr’s consistency, Joshua Jacobs stepping up, the wide receivers getting better, and the defense doing their job. Whether they can accomplish all of this again or not remains to be seen but beating the Chiefs is a great sign.