Derek Carr returned from an injury to lead the Raiders to a thrilling win over the Carolina Panthers

Derek Carr returned from an injury to lead the Raiders to a thrilling win over the Carolina Panthers

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has proven to be the team's franchise quarterback over and over again since being drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft and he had another moment in Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. 

This time his moment involved a piece of history, used by his coach to help him relax in what may be a tense moment. 

Carr had his team rolling to a 24-to-7 lead heading into halftime but then took a snap from under center awkwardly while jamming his finger. The ball would be fumbled over to the Panthers, but more importantly, Carr suffered a finger injury and had to go to the locker room missing the next series. 

After coming back out of the locker room wearing a glove to protect his hand, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio tried to loosen his quarterback up with a reminder of former New York Knicks center Willis Reed who came back from an injury to lead the team to a victory in a critical Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

"You know what's hilarious, my coach said 'Willis Reed' to me on the sideline - just to make me laugh and get me in the mood," Carr said after Sunday's victory. "I looked at him and was like, 'who?' What's crazy is that I know who Willis Reed is, and then I realized and said 'never mind I got it...'"

Carr said after the game that he had never felt pain as bad as the moment the ball hit his pinky finger. 

"Yeah, probably some of the most pain I've ever felt in my life," Carr said. 

Still, Carr managed to finish the game and lead the Raiders to another come-from-behind win, the 10th of his career and the fifth of this season. 

Despite the "Wills Reed moment" for Carr, offensive lineman Donald Penn knows he will have many more moment that add to an already-building legacy. 

"It doesn't have anything to do with his legend," Penn said of his third-year quarterback. "He's in his third year now, he is going to do so much stuff in his career. It's not even fun. Not just this year but years to come. He has a hell of a career ahead of him." 

The team's defensive playmaker Khalil Mack knows the team is always in a position to win when Carr is on the field, even if he's battling a finger injury.

"Talk about clutch, MVP," Mack said. "Coming back after having that little knickknack and throwing strikes. He's a hell of a player and I'm glad he's my quarterback. All you can think about is his toughness, how tough he is. He's a hell of a player."


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