With Matt Schaub missing the final preseason tilt, Derek Carr was given a big opportunity and he made the most of it.
He had a nearly perfect quarterback rating of 152.1 against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. In just over a quarter of play, Carr went 11-for-13 for 143 yards and three touchdowns while leading the Raiders to a 28-7 lead early in the game.
The Seahawks had most of their defensive starters in for the first drive but began pulling them after that. On that first drive, Carr took the Raiders 68 yards on 12 plays for the score. It’s worth noting that he had most of the offensive starters, but James Jones and Rod Streater, the No. 1 and 2 receivers, weren’t playing. Maurice Jones Drew and Darren McFadden sat this one out as well.
Carr also got some help from the Raiders offensive line — which is finally starting to look more like the unit the Raiders thought they were getting — and from receivers who are battling for jobs and made some nice plays for the rookie quarterback. And while his quarterback rating may have been close to perfect, his play was not. On at least two occasions Carr was lucky that his passes were not intercepted and one of those passes ended up being a touchdown. After a Seahawks defender tipped the ball in the air, Mychal Rivera made a nice play to catch the ball as he fell backwards into the end zone.
Carr still has some common rookie issues he needs to deal with. He also needs to learn that while he has a strong arm, this isn’t the NCAA and he cannot get away with nearly as many tight throws. But Carr most certainly impressed and showed more than any other Raiders quarterback has shown this preseason. He struggled under pressure at times, but did not make any huge errors as a result. In general, he played very well and even though he may go through some growing pains during the season, he has done enough to earn a start for the simple reason that he clearly gives the Raiders the best chance of winning.