When Derek Carr suffered a broken bone in his back against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 1, no one really knew when he’d play again. The only thing that seemed certain: it’d be a while.
An injury diagnosed as a transverse process fracture should have meant an absence of at least two and maybe as many as six weeks. Except for the ex-Fresno State star.
Carr miraculously resumed practice three days after his injury, sat out one game but came off the injury report this week and helped the Oakland Raiders to a miracle of their own – a come-from-behind 31-30 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
How did he do it?
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“It’s the worst thing,” Carr told NFL Network. “You can’t walk. The only thing I can tell you is, it was God. I got down and I prayed and I said the only way I’m going to be able to come back is if you can help me.
“Within a couple of days I can absolutely do everything and I was able to play.”
Carr capped the comeback by hitting Michael Crabtree with a 2-yard touchdown with no time left – after a defensive penalty allowed for a final untimed play – and Giorgio Tavecchio’s extra point gave the Raiders the victory.
92: career touchdowns for Carr, who is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least 90 with less than 40 interceptions in his first 53 games
The Raiders marched 85 yards in the final 2 minutes 25 seconds. Carr has engineered 13 fourth-quarter comebacks and 13 game-winning drives dating to 2014. His 12 fourth-quarter comebacks since 2015 are the most in the NFL.
Almost lost in Carr’s recovery and the late-game dramatics was just how important the win was for the Raiders, who had slipped two games under .500 after a 2-0 start.
Falling to “2-5 didn’t sound good. That didn’t sit well with us,” said Carr, who completed 29 of 52 for 417 yards and three touchdowns – two of those TDs to Amari Cooper. “… We just kept looking at each other and kept believing because the only thing that is going to get us out of the situation is the guys in that locker room. No one is going to come save us, no one is going to do some magic thing and go our way. We have to earn it.
“We wouldn’t want it in any other way, and we have a tough road to go. We’re 3-4 and we’re not happy. We can’t look at this and say, ‘Oh man, we did it.’ We have a long way to go to reach the goals we want. We’re headed in the right way.”
By the numbers
Some of the big figures posted by Raiders’ players in Thursday night’s comeback.
- 417: Passing yards for Derek Carr, second most in his career
- 210: Receiving yards for wide receiver Amari Cooper, most in club history since Art Powell’s franchise-record 247 in 1963
- 6: New season touchdown total for wide receiver Michael Crabtree, tied for most in the NFL
- 11: Game-high tackles for new Raiders linebacker NaVarro Bowman, signed after being cut by the cross-bay 49ers, including six solo
- 12: Carr’s career 300-plus-yard games in the regular season, moving past Clovis native Daryle Lamonica for second on the Raiders’ all-time list (Rich Gannon had 20)
- 0:00: Time remaining when the ball was snapped to Carr for his winning pass (set up by a defensive penalty with no time left) to Michael Crabtree, the first such touchdown pass in the NFL since Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary in 2015 to beat Detroit
Raiders 31, Chiefs 30
KC — FG Butker 53, 10:14.
Oak — Cooper 38 pass from Carr (Tavecchio kick), 8:11.
KC — Kelce 10 pass from A.Smith (Butker kick), 4:17.
Oak — Cooper 45 pass from Carr (Tavecchio kick), :40.
KC — Hill 64 pass from A.Smith (Butker kick), 8:51.
KC — FG Butker 39, 1:06.
Oak — Washington 4 run (Tavecchio kick), 10:45.
KC — A.Wilson 63 pass from A.Smith (Butker kick), 7:08.
KC — FG Butker 37, :47.
Oak — FG Tavecchio 26, 11:53.
Oak — Crabtree 2 pass from Carr (Tavecchio kick), :00.
A — 55,090
Total Net Yards
Time of Possession
RUSHING — Kansas City, K.Hunt 18-87, Hill 2-7, A.Smith 1-0, Spiller 2-0. Oakland, Washington 9-33, Richard 9-31, Carr 1-15, Lynch 2-9.
PASSING — Kansas City, A.Smith 25-36-0-342. Oakland, Carr 29-52-0-417.
RECEIVING — Kansas City, Hill 6-125, Robinson 5-69, Kelce 4-33, K.Hunt 4-30, D.Harris 2-16, A.Wilson 1-63, Travis 1-3, Thomas 1-2, A.Hunt 1-1. Oakland, Cooper 11-210, J.Cook 6-107, Richard 4-45, Crabtree 3-24, Washington 3-7, Roberts 1-15, Patterson 1-9.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Oakland, Tavecchio 45.