Oakland Raiders’ Young Talent Signaling a New Era of Hope

The Oakland Raiders have been a fun punch line over the years, but no one is laughing anymore. For the first time in over a decade, this franchise is a legitimate contender for the playoffs.

While the last few minutes were a little too close for comfort, the Raiders went up 37-6 Sunday against the San Diego Chargers and held on for a 37-29 Week 7 win. This put the team at 3-3 for the year and squarely in second place in the AFC West behind the undefeated Denver Broncos.

There were certainly negatives as the Chargers scored 23 in a row to make a blowout competitive. Considering the team had only three wins all last season, however, there is reason to celebrate any victory. Head coach Jack Del Rio chose to focus on the positives after the game:

The wins are great, but the more exciting part is how well the team has played and where the contributions are coming from. With young stars already producing at a high level, this is a squad that could be good for a long time.

Sunday's victory showcased the best of Derek Carr, who finished with 289 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions on 24-of-31 passing. His 137.7 quarterback rating was his best of the season. Beyond the numbers, he appeared to be in complete control throughout the game to help the Raiders move the football and match a season high with 37 points scored.

Carr made some big-time throws in this one, including on the first touchdown to Clive Walford:

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated was impressed at the throw:

Although Walford hasn't had his name called often this season, the rookie third-round pick has good size (6'4", 250 pounds) and has a lot of potential going forward. Of course, you can say that about a lot of players in this organization.

Amari Cooper also had yet another big day as the first-round pick topped 100 receiving yards for the third time already th...

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