Paul G's Instant Replay: Falcons 23, Raiders 20


Paul G's Instant Replay: Falcons 23, Raiders 20


ATLANTA -- Matt Bryant kicked a 55-yard field goal with one second remaining in regulation to lift the Atlanta Falcons to a 23-20 victory over the Raiders Sunday at the Georgia Dome.This after the Raiders had rallied to tie the score at 20-all with 40 seconds to play and having come back from a potentially devastating pick-six.The Raiders were closing in on the most improbable of victories, over an unbeaten team in a hostile environment, when Carson Palmer made his first mistake of the day. At precisely the wrong moment.Already in field-goal range, the Raiders quarterback tried to hit Denarius Moore on the right sideline when Asante Samuel jumped the route and was gone for a 79-yard pick-six and a 20-13 Falcons lead.No matter, Palmer led the Raiders on an 80-yard scoring drive, punctuated by Darren McFadden's two-yard touchdown run and Sebastian Janikowski's point-after tied the game.But the Raiders defense could not keep the Falcons from getting into field-goal position.Picks galore: After not having a single interception in the first four games, the Raiders secondary picked off Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan three times in the first half. Cornerback Joselio Hanson predicted this week they would come in bunches and he had the first pick across the middle. Later, Michael Huff got one on a long bomb at the 2-yard line and then Tyvon Branch's interception came on a floater when linebacker Philip Wheeler blasted Ryan.Coverage equals sacks, right?: Entering the day with only three sacks in four games, tighter coverage downfield allowed the Raiders to pick up another sack when Matt Shaughnessy broke through in the second quarter. He leads Oakland with 2 12 sacks.McClain finds a role?: Middle linebacker Rolando McClain was mostly a spectator in the first half, when the Raiders went to nickel and dime defenses in response to the Falcons' four-wideout alignments. And the Raiders seemed to respond to the ball quicker. McClain, however, had a huge tackle on 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line that forced the Falcons to settle for a game-tying field goal.Tackles from unexpected sources: Yes, Carson Palmer can tackle, as evidenced by his taking down Robert McClain as he returned Darren McFadden's first-quarter fumble. And McFadden returned the favor by chasing down Ray Edwards and saving a touchdown when Palmer was strip-sacked in the third.Penalties return: The Raiders entered the game with 19 penalties for 143 yards and finished with 12 penalties for 110 yards.Trending: The Raiders last won a game in the Eastern Time Zone in Week 13 at Pittsburgh in the Bruce Gradkowski game, going 0-7 since that day. Since the 2002 Super Bowl season, they are 5-23 in the Eastern Time Zone. Also, the Raiders have lost 10 straight post-bye week games.Up next: The Raiders (1-3) play host to Jacksonville next Sunday at the Coliseum, and the dirt infield should be gone by then.

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr isn’t one for extravagance. The low-key Raiders quarterback already has some nice cars, a house and some luxury items to his name, but signing a $125 million contract extension Friday morning won't prompt a spending spree.

Cornerback Sean Smith suggested he get a Bugatti. That’s a $1 million car.

“Yeah,” Carr said with a smirk. “That’s not going to happen.”

That isn’t the 26-year old’s style. Carr had a his own plan after signing on the dotted line.

“I’ve been eating clean,” Carr said. “I’ll probably get Chick-fil-A.”

That makes sense. This is a guy who celebrated his first NFL victory with a trip through a Carl’s Jr. drive-in.

There will be other purchases. His wife Heather will get something nice in the near future. His family, especially Heather and sons Dallas and Deker, will be taken care of for life.

After all that, Carr plans to spread the wealth.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money is going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands because it’s going to help people. Not only in this country, but in a lot of countries around the world. That’s what’s exciting to me.”

Carr and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray took a missionary trip to Haiti, an impoverished nation had a profound impact on the star quarterback.

“I’ve been down to Haiti and I’ve seen some of those struggles that they have and the kids there, and my heart just… I cry sometimes thinking about it,” Carr said. “So, just knowing that we can go down there and make a difference and help, those are the kind of things that the money makes me kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because now we can really do some things to help a lot of people.”

He plans to support those in that area, in addition to global and domestic charities he has been involved with over the years. Don’t expect a press release accompanying every donation. Carr would rather keep those decisions private.

“I’m going to do my best to make sure no one knows what we do with it,” Carr said. “I’ll just say this, I can assure you that it’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not stingy. My business manager will probably be on me saying, ‘Hey man, that’s enough.’ I won’t get into when, how or why. It’s not all about that for me. It’s about making a difference. That’s what’s exciting for me is that we’ll be able to do that.”

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $25 million in 2017 and $125 million over the life of the deal.

That’s a lot of scratch. Could’ve been more.

Carr received life-changing money. He didn’t want to handcuff the Raiders front office in the process.

“I just wanted to be a Raider,” Carr said Friday in a press conference. “It’s more than just a team to me. It’s family. The way it went down, it was easy. Both sides wanted it to get done, and it was about family members figuring out to get along. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign other guys who are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not to just take every single dime that we could”

That list is long but it starts with homegrown talents Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack. Jackson is up next, and could get locked up before the regular season starts. The Raiders have some time on Mack – his contract doesn’t expire until after 2018 – and Amari Cooper should be a keeper on down the road.

“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”

Carr got the deal he wanted. The 26-year old found market value and upped the ante for NFL quarterbacks a smidge while deferring some cash payouts – his big-time bonuses are broken up over two years -- to create windows of financial flexibility to sign other players. Carr’s percentage of the salary cap should decrease over time and won’t become an insurmountable burden to his employers. His deal won’t prevent the Raiders from keeping Jackson, Mack, Amari Cooper in time, or other vital veterans in house.

With Carr locked up, the McKenzie can work deals and the timing of them around his centerpiece.

Carr understands the NFL business and his role in the market, but he wants to maintain a competitive window as best he can and understands other guys will draw huge paychecks in the near future.

He’s scheduled to draw the NFL’s largest sum next season. A record $25 million is headed his way, though that total will decrease a bit in time and will certainly he surpassed by Matthew Stafford and possibly Kirk Cousins in the near future.

“I don’t care if they all do. We got our contract done, that’s all that matters to me,” Carr said. “The other thing that was important to me is that we didn’t worry about what other people were going to do or doing. I just wanted to get mine done and make sure that the team had, again like we talked about, flexibility to make sure my friends stay around.”

Carr was intimately involved in the negotiation process. Both sides said it was easy, wrapped up well before Carr’s training-camp contract deadline. Common ground was found in short shrift once talks warmed up – preliminary talks started months ago -- and a deal was ironed out that produced smiles on both sides once the deal was formally done.

Even after taking a relatively soft-line stance on dollars and the timing of payments – Carr could’ve been difficult all year and eventually forced a franchise tag – he’s still the league’s highest-paid player. His salary will now be compared with his stats. He was a second-round draft steal before. Now he’s a big-money player. In short, expectations will rise.

Carr insists it won’t add pressure to next year’s proceedings.

“You could give me a dollar, you could give me $25 million, it doesn’t matter,” Carr said. “To me, my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization. There’s no pressure. There’s no we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn (Lynch), I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my No. 1 objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”