After Week 12 Statement Win, There’s No Denying Derek Carr’s MVP Credentials

Derek Carr's hand looked like the mangled weather vane you find in a field after a tornado splinters the old barn. His pinkie was like a Christmas tree ornament-sized rendering of Joe Theismann's leg. 

"Probably some of the worst pain I've felt in my life," Carr told reporters after his Raiders squeezed past the Panthers Sunday, 35-32. Well, of course, it was. Ruthless criminals in movies break fingers to get information, after all. If Carr's pinkie had fallen off and rolled away with the football that dislocated it, the injury would have been only slightly more gruesome. 

You know how this story ended. Carr missed one series with what turned out to be two dislocations in the pinkie of his throwing hand. He returned to the game wearing a thick black glove that looked like the kind that makes it hard to grip a snow shovel. Instead, Carr gripped a football and began threading needles and pinpointing passes. He led a touchdown drive and threw a two-point conversion to tie the Panthers in the fourth quarter. Then he threw two passes to Michael Crabtree, a bomb and a back-shoulder trickshot along the sideline to set up the game-winning field goal.

As defining moments for a season go, Carr's pinkie pulverization and fourth-quarter comeback are almost too obvious to mention. MVP voters who needed a signature display of toughness and greatness before pushing Carr to the top of the ballot now have one. There's something undeniable about watching a quarterback lead his fifth fourth-quarter comeback of the year when he should be waiting for treatment at the Bay Area Clinic for Digital Reattachment.

Carr shouldn't need a freak injury to punctuate his MVP resume. The comebacks alone should have made his point for him. But quarterback comebacks bring some built-in skepticism. If the quarterback is so good, why does he have to come back in the first place? 

Carr worked ...

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