OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — With a fabulous finish to the preseason, rookie Derek Carr created a big question for the Oakland Raiders heading into the regular season.
Carr threw three touchdown passes to make a case he should be Oakland’s starting quarterback as the Raiders beat the Seattle Seahawks 41-31 on Thursday night.
Carr was almost perfect in the start in place of Matt Schaub, completing 11 of 13 passes for 143 yards and led Oakland (2-2) to four touchdowns in four drives.
Schaub was anointed the starter after being acquired in an offseason trade from Houston. Coach Dennis Allen hasn’t deviated from that plan even as Schaub struggled in the preseason before resting this game with a sore throwing elbow.
Now the question will be if Carr’s strong performance that included one touchdown drive against Seattle’s first-team defense will be enough to change that plan before the opener against the New York Jets on Sept. 7.
The Seahawks (2-2) have no questions about their starting quarterback. Russell Wilson made the most of a brief cameo, completing three passes for 77 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to Luke Wilson on a four-play drive to open the game.
The bigger question for the Super Bowl champions coming into this game was whether former Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor could show enough to earn a spot on the roster as a third quarterback.
Pryor, booed by his former fans, played his best game of the preseason, going 11 for 17 for 134 yards and a 33-yard touchdown pass to Phil Bates. He also ran for 12 yards on four carries.
DeShawn Shead also scored on a 55-yard interception return on a pass thrown by Matt McGloin.
But this night was all about Carr. The second-round pick out of Fresno State made the most of the starting assignment. He completed five passes on the opening drive, including a third-down conversion to Denarius Moore, who was covered by All-Pro Richard Sherman. Latavius Murray capped the drive with a 5-yard TD run.
Carr was just getting started, leading back-to-back one-play touchdown drives following big special teams plays.
After a fumbled kickoff by Bryan Walters, Carr threw a 36-yard TD pass to Moore on the following play to give the Raiders a 14-7 lead.
TJ Carrie’s 45-yard punt return set up Oakland’s next drive at the Seattle 20. On the next play, Carr threw a TD pass to Mychal Rivera, who made a great adjustment on a pass that was deflected by Malcolm Smith.
Carr ended his night with an eight-play touchdown drive, capping it with a perfectly placed back-shoulder 11-yard throw to Moore. That gave Oakland a 28-7 lead and sent the crowd into a frenzy rarely seen in the preseason.
That ended Carr’s night and started what could be more than a week of questions about the opening day starter. If Carr does get the nod, it would be the second straight year the anointed starter in Oakland lost the job in the preseason.
Matt Flynn struggled last year in the exhibition games before sitting out the final game with a sore elbow. That opened the door for Pryor to start, a job he kept for half the year. He eventually lost the job and was traded to Seattle in the offseason.
That deal came shortly after Oakland acquired Schaub to be the starter, only to see a repeat this preseason.
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