It wasn't exactly in the same stratosphere as what Joe Namath guaranteed, but Derek Carr did make his defense a promise on Monday night. Locked in a critical Week 15 battle with the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium, and with both teams in a must-win situation to massively help their respective odds of making the playoffs, the Las Vegas Raiders found themselves facing a potential one-point loss after backup quarterback Nick Mullens engineered a 14-play, 80-yard touchdown drive with only four minutes remaining in regulation -- giving the Browns a 14-13 lead.
In attempting to reply with a touchdown of his own, Carr dropped back and heaved a throw downfield to speedy wideout Zay Jones, but it was instead intercepted by safety Greedy Williams. And there it was, an opportunity for the Browns to potentially bury the Raiders, but only if they could string together some first downs.
That's when Carr channeled his inner Namath.
"After that interception, it was like, 'I promise we'll win the game," Carr admitted to telling his defensive counterparts, via The Las Vegas Review-Journal. "'Just get it back.'"
And so, they did.
The subsequent drive by the Browns was quickly uprooted when, on third-and-3, they handed the ball off to Nick Chubb (who continually impacted the game en route to 91 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries) and the All-Pro running back was met by defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins for no gain.
"We expected them to run there," said defensive end Maxx Crosby. "They did a good job in the second half. Nick Chubb was running that thing hard, but it doesn't surprise me. Hank is one of the best run-stoppers in the league.
"He always comes up in big moments."
The Browns then punted, but never again touched the ball afterward. Carr led the Raiders on an eight-play, 41-yard drive that culminated in a game-winning field goal by Daniel Carlson, a blow made extra potent when factoring in a missed 47-yard field goal from Browns kicker Chase McLaughlin in the second quarter that would've changed the entire dynamic of the Raiders final drive.
Instead, Carr went on to make good on his promise as Carlson made good on his final kick, and the Raiders are back in the AFC playoff discussion at 7-7 while the Browns, who were just a few seconds away from sitting in the top spot in their division, fall to the same 7-7 mark, which puts them in last place in the AFC North.