ALAMEDA -– Derek Carr’s second season has been as statistically strong as any in Raiders history.
He needs just 204 passing yards to become the third Raiders quarterback to reach 4,000. He is three touchdowns from matching Daryle Lamonica’s franchise mark of 34 touchdowns in a single season.
His next game above a 100 passer rating would be his seventh, and a Raiders record through the first two years of a career. Another six completions and Carr sets a record in that category through a player’s first two seasons. His next TD pass will be his 53rd, second only behind Dan Marino by a quarterback through two seasons.
Carr would certainly trade those numbers for a playoff spot, but it’s easy to argue that the Raiders have a franchise quarterback of the future following a solid season.
Sunday’s game against Kansas City will be his final imprint on the 2015 season, one where he showed significant improvement but still learned some hard lessons.
“He’s nearing the franchise record for touchdowns thrown,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s thrown for a bunch of yards. He’s done a great job bringing us back in several games. I think he’s had a really strong year. It’d be great to end that year on a high note.”
Carr would like to close the season strong, especially after getting into some trouble in December. He threw three fourth-quarter interceptions in a Week 13 loss to Kansas City that essentially torpedoed the Raiders’ playoff hopes.
Carr had seven touchdowns to six interceptions in the month of Decemeber, with his worst completion percentage of the year (54.9) and a dismal 69.6 passer rating. He has also taken more sacks (13) in December that the rest of the season combined.
Carr has some memorable interceptions in the fourth quarter, but has a 133 passer rating, eight touchdowns and no picks in the last two minutes of a half.
Carr doesn’t pay much attention to those statistical breakdowns. He cares more about the end result.
“I just want a win,” Carr said. “That’s my main goal, is going in there and making sure we come out with the victory. I’ve had some big stat games that have resulted in losses, and that’s not why I play this game. I just want to go in and do what I can, do my part as the leader of the offense, of the team, help us any way we can to get a win.”
The Raiders were reliant on Carr to win games early, but the defense and has improved and is peaking at the end of the season. He is also working with an offensive line struggling some since Austin Howard was lost for the year and a top receiver in Amari Cooper hampered by a foot injury.
The Raiders don’t run consistently well run to make teams pay for keeps safeties back and preventing the big-play passing attack, which has also made life a little harder on the second-year pro.
Carr hopes to end the season right, with a strong day against the Chiefs that would bring the Raiders back to 8-8 for the first time since 2011 and match the team’s best record since 2003.
“It would be huge. I don’t know the last time it’s happened, so it would be pretty cool,” Carr said. “It didn’t happen last year, I know that. Everything has been better than last year, so that’s nice. It would be cool, but at the same time, it’ll push you, because no matter what we finish, it’s not where we want to be. It’s not where I want to be, I know that, so it’s just going to drive me and push me to work hard this offseason.”