Marek Warszawski

What pressure? Comeback king Derek Carr showing he can handle it just fine

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr celebrates after throwing the tying 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 35-32 comeback victory over the Panthers.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr celebrates after throwing the tying 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 35-32 comeback victory over the Panthers. AP

Enter the Warzone, first and untenable.

▪ Until Derek Carr came along, no quarterback in Raiders history had led the team to five fourth-quarter comebacks in one season (according to the Elias Sports Bureau).

And to think the knock on Carr coming out of Fresno State was he couldn’t handle pressure …

▪ Not sure we’d put Carr’s latest comeback, shrugging off a painful dislocated right pinky, on the same level as Willis Reed in the 1970 NBA Finals.

But if Raiders fans want to, go right ahead. They’ve waited long enough for something to feel good about.

▪ Teammate Khalil Mack (who might be the NFL’s best defensive player) compared Carr’s mental and physical toughness to that of Kobe Bryant.

“He’s got that Mamba look in his eye,” Mack said.

No higher praise.

▪ Not sure if Carr was more excited to clinch the Raiders’ first winning season since 2002, or for the frameless, wrap-around shades he and son Dallas were gifted by wrestling legend Bret Hart.

▪ The Rams were the fourth-most watched football team in Los Angeles over the weekend behind Raiders-Panthers, Broncos-Chiefs and USC-Notre Dame.

Which is why Stan Kroenke will never let the Raiders move to L.A. He’d be second fiddle in his own $2.6 billion stadium.

▪ If Colin Kaepernick was making strides and leading the 49ers to wins, the off-the-field distraction he has become would be worth the headache.

But he isn’t. So it’s not.

▪ Fresno State finished 1-11 and ranked No. 128 out of the 128 FBS teams by CBS Sports.com.

Truly nowhere to go but up.

Fresno State finished 1-11 and ranked No. 128 out of the 128 FBS teams by CBS Sports.com. Truly nowhere to go but up.

▪ A little surprising Jeff Tedford elected to jettison every member of the 2016 coaching staff. Then again, see above.

▪ Can’t say why Tedford did not retain tight ends coach Joe Bernardi. Surely Tedford has his reasons. But if he thinks he can find another coach who breathes as much Bulldog spirit, good luck.

▪ In Sunday’s column we ID’d Tim Skipper as a “top candidate” for the defensive coordinator job. Hearing that’s not going to happen.

▪ The first commit of the Tedford era is a quarterback: Jorge Reyna of West L.A. College.

Not sure what that means for Chason Virgil and the other returning QBs, and they’re probably wondering, too.

▪ Sign No. 836 of how messed up recruiting was under the previous regime: It took until late November for Fresno State to offer a scholarship to Ronnie Rivers Jr., son of the Bulldogs’ second all-time leading rusher.

▪ Never a good thing when the free safety leads the team in tackles. Nor when the 270-pound inside linebacker leads the team in sacks.

Even though Stratton Brown and Jeff Camilli are two of our favorite Bulldogs from this year’s senior class.

115 total tackles this season by Bulldogs free safety Stratton Brown

▪ In addition to Fresno State, San Jose State and Nevada will have new coaches next season.

Guess beating the Bulldogs doesn’t count for much anymore.

▪ Fresno State has a basketball doubleheader Wednesday night at Save Mart Center with the men playing Menlo College at 5 p.m. and the women facing Cal State Dominguez Hills at 7.

Plenty of good seats are still available.

▪ The Bulldogs’ road win over Oregon State, the program’s first win over a Pac-12 school since 2011, doesn’t quite cleanse the palette of the loss to Prairie View A&M. But the aftertaste isn’t as yucky.

▪ If anyone wondered why Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, consider the ease in which he’s averaging 27.2 points: by shooting 44.6 percent beyond the 3-point arc and 62.6 percent inside.

Basketball is supposed to be more difficult than that.

▪ For no particular reason: Maurice Cheeks.

▪ Why even have a College Football Playoff committee? Just put in two teams from the Big Ten and two from the SEC. You know they want to.

▪ Jim Harbaugh was fined $10,000 by the Big Ten for compromising sportsmanship and criticizing the officials.

Harbaugh makes $9 million a year, so $10,000 amounts to little more than khaki money.

The Warzone prefers jeans to khakis, just as long as they’re relaxed enough to contain him at 559-441-6218, marekw@fresnobee.com or @MarekTheBee.

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