If the Raiders aren’t the biggest overachievers in the NFL this season, then they’re darn close to it.
Pride and Penalties has no business to be 6-2 right now. No business at all. Based on their plus-12 point differential — one point worse than that of the last-place San Diego Chargers — they should have a 4-4 record right now.
So isn’t it time for the Derek Carr for Most Valuable Player bandwagon to get on a roll?
In terms of production and leadership, no NFL player has been better than Carr thus far. The quarterback just won’t allow his team to lose. He did it again in Tampa on Sunday, when he willed a come-from-behind, 30-24 victory over the Buccaneers in overtime. On a day when he passed for a team record 513 yards. And the Raiders were guilty of a record 23 penalties. And their defense coughed up at least 24 points for the sixth time this season.
Mind you, Carr has done this with two Pro Bowl-caliber receivers, an offensive line that blocks better for the pass than the run, no feature back to speak of and a defense that provides no wiggle room whatsoever.
Let’s see if Carr and the Raiders can take the next big step. The Denver Broncos will invade O.Co Coliseum for an AFC West showdown this weekend, the most significant game in the East Bay in years.
ALL ABOUT TOM: Yeah, Carr has been even more valuable than Cheatin’ Tom Brady.
No sooner did Brady return from his four-game suspension than many had him pegged as the MVP favorite already. Except that the Patriots already were 2-0 with Jimmy Garoppolo at the controls. The two have comparable numbers, which again proves that coach Bill Belichick and his system make Brady, not the other way around.
NBC knucklehead Rodney Harrison is the latest to go to bat for Brady, not that the ex-Patriot is biased or anything. The two spent six seasons together, yet another example why jocks-turned-broadcasters shouldn’t be allowed to shill for former teammates on the air.
HEY, LOOK … The Raiders just got penalized retroactively for 14 men on the field!
FEELIN’ CRISPY: Who says the Athletics don’t do happy endings?
Veteran Coco Crisp told Balls that he was given a choice of teams to be traded, an offer that came after a public spat about his contract. The 36-year-old outfielder picked the Indians, not because he liked Cleveland but because they likely represented his final chance to play in the World Series.
Now guess who has emerged as one of the most unlikely success stories in October?
“B-Mel [Bob Melvin] pulled me aside, and we went over some trade possibilities,” Crisp said in the reference to A’s manager Bob Melvin. “ It was nice that they gave me some options. I spent a lot of years in Oakland, so I guess that worked in my favor.”
Yeah, it worked out pretty well for the Indians, too.
In Game 3 of the ALDS, Crisp hit a two-run home run for what turned out to be the game-winner. In Game 5 of the ALCS, he went deep in another victory. In Game 3 of the World Series, his single drove in the only run in the game.
Now, Crisp is in line for a World Series share, which will amount to nearly a half-million more bucks in his pockets.
“My career in Oakland didn’t finish as well as I would have liked, but this isn’t the time to look back,” Crisp said. “I’m in the World Series. It’s a time to be happy.”
THIS JUST IN: The Fall Classic may come down to a best-of-two chokes between the Indians and Chicago Cubs, who have gone a combined 172 seasons without a championship.
To commemorate the event, 96-year-old Dr. Harry Heimlich will throw out the first pitch before Game 6 on Tuesday.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE … Dave Duncan and George Hendrick for Ray Fosse and Jack Heidemann?
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