Despite loss, Carr has Raiders' offense cooking


Forget Sunday's defeat, Raiders fans.

Looking past a crushing 38-35 loss to the Steelers, Oakland's long-battered fan base can take heart in the play of quarterback Derek Carr.

The second-year passer is on pace for the most touchdowns (38) and highest quarterback rating (105.7) by a signal-caller in franchise history.

More than the numbers, though, Carr has impressed his teammates and coaches with an unflappable approach under pressure. We saw that Sunday as the second-year arm dialed up a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns over three final drives to tie the game at 35. Carr wouldn't get a shot to win it, though, as Steelers backup quarterback Landry Jones guided Pittsburgh to a game-winning field goal with four ticks left on the clock.

"During a game, sometimes you don't know how much you've scored," Carr said, per CSN California. "When I think back, I know we could've done so much more. That's the thing that hurts me when we lose a close game like this. I'm hard on myself. I ask what more I could've done, what throw I could've made better and then turn that focus into doing better next time."

Carr overcame an up-and-down day from rookie receiver Amari Cooper -- and a Raiders secondary bleeding points and yardage -- to keep Oakland in the conversation until the end.

It's a far cry from where this team was a year ago. After averaging 15.8 points per game in 2014, second worst in the NFL, the Silver and Black are seventh in scoring after posting 27-plus points in five of eight games this season. The Raiders have scored 34-plus points in three-straight games, something the franchise hasn't accomplished since 1995.

It's no fluke, either, with Carr throwing three or more touchdowns in three-straight games while posting a 27:7 touchdown-to-pick ratio over his past 14 games.

Sunday's loss stings -- "It hurts to be so close," said Carr -- but the Raiders are offering their fans something new: Signs of life on offense and legitimate hopes for a memorable stretch run.