ALAMEDA – Derek Carr hasn't been back to MetLife Stadium in quite some time. The Raiders quarterback has played 87 NFL games since his last trip to East Rutherford, N.J., all of the starts and all of them in silver and black.
That 2014 contest remains fresh in his memory, as well it should. It was, after all, Carr's first NFL start.
This week provided opportunity to get nostalgic about it, given the Raiders are going back there to play the Jets on Sunday.
"I do remember a lot of it," Carr said after Wednesday's practice. "I remember them blitzing 100 hundred guys from one side and only two from the other and I got hit. As a rookie quarterback, they can mess with you quite a bit. I think it was [creative head coach/defensive mind Rex Ryan leading the Jets] at the time, too. I do remember throwing two touchdowns, so that was fun. But I also remember missing 12 passes, and that still bugs me."
Carr rattled those facts off the top of his head, and quite a few others. He remembered slipping while competing his first NFL regular season pass to Marcel Reece. He remembers checking to a different route before throwing his first touchdown pass to Rod Streater.
Then Streater absent-mindedly tossed the ball into the crowd, where the New Jersey native's family was sitting. The receiver had his aunt bring the ball down after the game and given is meaning for the Raiders 2-14 second-round pick, who took the starting gig from Matt Schaub as a rookie.
Carr remembers throwing a late touchdown to James Jones and feeling overwhelmed by a confusing blitz Jets package.
"They blitzed and didn't cover somebody, and I thought, ‘there's no way they did that on purpose,'" Carr said. "And then got hit in the back of the head."
Carr also remembers the score: Jets 19, Raiders 14.
The Raiders wouldn't get Carr's first NFL win until Nov. 20, after a fired head coach and 10 straight losses.
Carr completed 20-of-32 passes that day – he remembered the incompletion count five-plus years later – for 147 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He averaged 4.7 yards per completion on a day where Ryan made his head spin.
Carr's far better, smarter and more efficient, with confidence that he can compete with anybody. While the revisiting memories are nice, he has no interest in watching that first start on tape.
"Uh, no. I don't want to see what I was then," Carr said. "I just remember going out there and throwing fastballs. My thought was that, if I guess wrong, I'm going to throw it hard and hopefully they won't catch it. There's not much for anybody to learn off of that tape. I had a good time, and it's certainly a game I remember. I have the football that was my first touchdown. I remember that stuff, and I'll tell those stories to my kids a hundred times. You have good memories but we ended up losing the game, so that wasn't too fun."