Carr's faith rewarded as Raiders sneak last-gasp win over Browns
Derek Carr did everything he could to keep the Raiders' minds in the game in the closing minutes against Cleveland.
Derek Carr was afraid he might have squandered the Las Vegas Raiders' last chance to win Monday when he threw an interception deep in Cleveland territory with the Browns leading by a point. The quarterback pleaded with his defense afterward to get him the ball back, vowing to win the game if they did, and that's exactly what happened.
After Las Vegas forced a three-and-out, Carr drove the Raiders downfield and set up Daniel Carlson for a 48-yard field goal that gave the visitors a 16-14 victory as time expired.
"After that interception, I told the guys 'Please, I promise we’ll win it, just get the ball back,'" Carr told reporters afterwards. "And the defense did, and we were able to go back down the field and win the game."
Carr was trying to hit Zay Jones deep down the field when Greedy Williams picked it off, and Jones was frustrated on the sidelines after the play, but Carr made sure the receiver knew there was still football to be played. "I went to him right after that pick and I said, 'I'm coming right back to you and we're gonna win this game,'" Carr said. "I knew I needed him, and I wanted him to know, not only do I need you, but I believe in you."
Sure enough, Jones was Carr's main target on the game-winning drive, catching a 12-yard pass for a key third-down conversion, then seeing a 17-yard reception called back by a holding penalty before a 15-yard connection in the closing seconds set up Carlson for the winning kick.
"I trust him," Carr said of Jones. "I'm just happy that we got the ball back not for my own sake, but so that he could get the ball back in his hands. He won the game for us. It was awesome."
Victory was especially sweet for the Raiders after several players had publicly aired their displeasure with the NFL moving the game back two days due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Browns facility. Cleveland were missing eight starters, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, not to mention head coach Kevin Stefanski, but the Raiders desperately needed a win having lost five of their previous six games.
The victory left them at 7-7 and level with the Browns, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos in the AFC playoff picture, but they own the tiebreaker over those teams for the 10th spot and are within a game of the six teams ahead of them. "It's been a long time coming to win a game like that in the end," said Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. "We understand the situation we're in and what the playoff race looks like."