Carr, Murray and Mack Have Been the Difference For the Raiders

Three weeks ago, many didn’t know if the Oakland Raiders were even going to win a game this season. Not only has the team won a game, they have won two out of their last three contests.

Khalil Mack 350

So what’s been the difference between the Raiders that started 0-10 and the team that has won two out of its last three games? The difference has been the play of Derek Carr, Latavius Murray and Khalil Mack.

On Sunday, Carr had his best game as a pro as he finished 22 of 28 for 254 yards and three touchdowns and finished with a 140.2 rating in the Raiders 24-14 win over the San Francisco 49ers. While neither he or the team performed well against the St. Louis Rams in Week 13, Carr has shown signs of improvement.

In the Week 12 win against the Kansas City Chiefs, Carr finished with 174 yards and a touchdown. The most impressive thing about Carr the last two out of three weeks has been the fact that he isn’t forcing the ball into coverage. A big reason why the quarterback isn’t forcing passes is the play of Murray.

The Raiders running game has struggled with veterans Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew this season, but Murray has been solid in his last two games. The running back has rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns in the victories over the Chiefs and 49ers.

Murray has made Carr’s job a lot easier. The running game has brought another element to the Raiders offense. The improvement of the Raiders hasn’t just been about their offense, but Mack and their defense have also made strides.

If you just look at Mack’s stats, then you wouldn’t know the impact he is making on the Raider defense. The linebacker has been a very good run defender this season, but Mack showed his pass-rushing ability last Sunday.

The rookie had two of his three sacks on the season against  San Francisco. Mack also had four quarterback hurries on the day. Everyone knows Mack is going to be a good player, but if he can continue to develop as a pass-rusher, he could become one of the best players at his position.

Yes the Raiders are 2-11, but there should be a lot optimism among Raider Nation. Carr, Murray and Mack gives the team a foundation that they can build around for years to come. It is just up to Oakland to find more players to build around those three key players.

You can follow Antwan on Twitter @blackredsoxfan

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