The conversation, itself, wasn’t unusual. Before any two-minute or crucial game-management situation, Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio walks up to quarterback Derek Carr before the opponent’s kickoff to give his thoughts.
“That way, him and I are in the same page,” Carr recalled for Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on Late Hits.
‘When we score, we’re going for two’
What was different about what Carr heard as the Raiders were about to get the ball with 6:03 left in their season-opener at New Orleans was Del Rio’s bold directive on what he wanted at the end of the drive.
“He looked me and said, ‘Hey, when we score, we’re going to go for two,'” Carr said. “And he didn’t need to tell anybody else. He just wanted me to know. And I said, ‘Yes, sir.’
‘I had to calm everybody down’
“And as soon as we scored that touchdown (on Carr’s 10-yard pass to Seth Roberts with 47 seconds left), I didn’t even need to look over. I already knew what he wanted. I had to calm everybody down and grab them and say, ‘Hey, we’re going for two.’ And there wasn’t like a, ‘Oh, wow!’ There wasn’t like a, ‘Oh, man!’ It was, ‘OK, let’s go back and get in our huddle and execute the way we know we’re capable of.'”
Carr found Del Rio’s confidence in him that he would lead the Raiders into the end zone, and the game-winning conversion pass to Michael Crabtree, plus his teammates’ response gratifying.
“It makes me so happy to be able to be in a situation like that and say, ‘Hey, guys, we’re going for two’ and everyone just look at me and say, ‘OK,’ and just come back and get in the huddle,” Carr said. “It’s a really good feeling as a quarterback.”