There are a lot of ways for a quarterback to become famous. You can be the crazy gunslinger; you can be the big-brained maestro; you can be the giant fuck who is impossible to sack; you can be the, uh, guy who ran into a butt. Through the first few weeks of this season, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has begun staking his claim to fame: he throws an absolutely gorgeous ball.

Carr went for 317 yards and two touchdowns in yesterday’s entertaining win over the Chargers. His first TD, a 64-yard bomb to a wide-open Amari Cooper was the kind of pass that any functioning quarterback could have made. It was the second score, which came late in the third quarter and put the Raiders ahead for good, that had me fanning myself:

The Carr-Crabtree connection has really taken off this season, and the two have already linked up on a few absurdly pretty touchdown passes. There was this fade route against the Ravens last week:

And then this game-winning over-the-shoulder ball from the same game:


The Raiders were a popular bandwagon pick coming into the season, but that was mostly due to the supposed strength of Khalil Mack and the rest of the defense. The defense hasn’t really held up its end of the bargain, though, and is allowing opponents to score 27 points per game. The team has to rely on Carr’s ability to sling the ball to Crabtree and Amari Cooper in order to stay in games, and that formula has produced a 4-1 record.

I’m thankful for both Raider’s scuffling defense and Carr’s ascendance, because it’s produced some of the most entertaining football of the season. There are a lot of bad teams playing bad games every Sunday, but as long as the Raiders keep getting into shootouts and Carr keeps throwing balls with homing devices in them, there will be at least one game worth watching every week.

Now let’s look at some pretty pictures of those touchdown passes: