After a massive win against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, the Raiders are now tied for suckiest team in the league with the Jags. This may seem like small news to the casual NFL fan, but for fans of the Raiders (or just casual fans of the underdog), this was a huge moment in the season, representing a new era in Raiders football.
The win against the playoff bound rival Chiefs was not just the first win of the 2013-2014 season, but also the first win in a streak of 16 straight losses. Sure, it took Derek Carr chucking the ball 35 times and only completing 51.4% of those attempts, a huge 90 yard run from Latvius Murray, and a game saving timeout by Justin Tuck, but they got the job done.
This victory against a division rival that they rarely succeed against was one hell of a game. Nobody picked the Raiders to win this one, especially after the Chiefs were riding the momentum of a big win over the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
While impressive, this victory may very well end up the last of the Raiders season. And, you know what, that is OK.
The Raiders don’t have a lot of talent. They have a young quarterback who is unpolished but has lots of raw potential. They have a bright prospect (Murray) at running back who is buried behind two bad contracts (Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden). They have some nice options at receiver, with James Jones leading the youth (Denarius Moore and Andre Holmes), and a exciting new tight end (Mychal Rivera). They actually do have a promising defense, though, with Justin Tuck, Carlos Rogers, Charles Woodson, D.J. Hayden, Usama Young, Tarell Brown, and most of all Khalil Mack.
This team is a project that isn’t ready to be turned in yet. It has a lot of good pieces and moving parts, but they haven’t and likely can’t come together this season. It is just how development in the NFL works. Each and every game is a battle out there, and these players need every opportunity to learn.
One of the players who needs it most is Derek Carr, the Raiders’ rookie quarterback out of Fresno State. He has had a very impressive rookie year so far, posting 2,249 yards and 14 touchdowns in 10 games so far. His best game came in week 6, where he carved up the San Diego defense for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns in a narrow loss.
Carr has shown extraordinary development this early in his NFL career, and I strongly believe he will be one of the top quarterbacks in 2 or 3 years. He just needs time, along with the whole Raiders roster (except maybe Charles Woodson, man that guy is old).
Carr, along with the whole Raiders team, managed to come together and put all their skills they have learned to work last night in their victory. If they can do it again this season, that’s great, but I am sure with a few more draft picks and games of development they will be in a position to do it many more times on a much more consistent basis in the next few seasons.
These guys can be winners, and they aren’t as far off from being so as you think.