Jack Del Rio Has Derek Carr and the Raiders Gambling on Greatness

Jack Del Rio had faith in his offense, even though it spent nearly three quarters giving him no good reason to.

Del Rio had faith in quarterback Derek Carr despite an early interception thrown straight into the arms of a 310-pound defensive tackle. He had faith in an offensive line that jumped offsides as if every snap count was the first it ever heard. 

He had faith in the deep ball even after Carr and receiver Amari Cooper, the pitch-and-catch duo tasked with ushering in the next great era of Raiders football, twice came within sideline tippy-toes of touchdowns, forcing the Raiders to settle for field goals and play from behind against the lowly San Diego Chargers.

Del Rio had faith in Michael Crabtree, who had already dropped two passes, if you consider a would-be touchdown caroming off a receiver's facemask a "drop."

It was 4th-and-3 late in the third quarter, the Raiders trailed by five points and even though the red zone was lava for the Raiders all game, Del Rio had no interest in kicking a field goal to narrow the gap.

"You make the call, what you think is best for the team, and then you count on your guys going out and executing," Del Rio told reporters after the game.

The "call" became a 21-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Crabtree. After missing on fade routes to Cooper all game, Carr delivered a raindrop. After playing like he was made of granite for much of the afternoon, Crabtree made like a rain barrel. The result was a go-ahead touchdown and turning point in a wild 34-31 Raiders victory over the Chargers.

It may also have been a turning point in Raiders history. Or at least part of an early season that is turning into one big turning point.

The Raiders are 4-1 for the first time since their Super Bowl season in 2002. In the 14 years since 2001, they have won four games or fewer in the entire season seven times. This is big ...

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