Two years ago, when Derek Carr and Khalil Mack were Raider rookies, and Oakland stumbled to an 0-10 start and lost by 52 to the Rams and got swept by a combined 57 by Denver, Carr would say the same thing so many Sundays to Mack after another debacle. “Look at me,” Carr would say. “It’s gonna get better. I promise. We gotta stick together. It’s on us—me and you. Be loyal to your faith and our families and our team, and we’ll be okay. We’re gonna earn it. Okay?”
The Raiders won a totally bizarre football game Sunday at Tampa Bay. They set an NFL record with 23 accepted penalties for 200 yards. The best kicker ever from 50 yards away, Sebastian Janikowski, missed the game-winner from 50 as time expired, and missed from 52 on the first series of overtime. But on an 86-degree afternoon, the precocious Carr, playing the best game of his life, set the record for this 57-year-old franchise with 513 yards and threw the game-winning touchdown pass 13 minutes into overtime.
Oakland is 6-2 and 5-0 on the road. Next Sunday night: Denver (also 6-2) at Oakland for the AFC West lead. In November.
Totally spent, Carr still walked around his locker room after the game to check on his mates. “When I got to Khalil,” Carr said from the bus on the way to the Tampa airport afterward, “we just hugged, and we just laughed. You think of those times a couple years ago, but there was nothing to say. Khalil and I know where we were, and we know where we are now. We just laughed.”