Ex-Fresno State star Derek Carr made a strong case for the 2016 NFL Most Valuable Player award.
He helped guide the Oakland Raiders to a 12-4 record and their first playoff berth since 2002 before his season was ended prematurely by injury.
The league’s highest honor, however, came down to the two quarterbacks who will square off in Sunday’s Super Bowl – and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (25 votes) topped New England’s Tom Brady (10) as The Associated Press handed out its honors during the primetime NFL Honors show in Houston.
Carr, with six votes, tied for third with Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Carr wasn’t shut out. He was named the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Year.
Here is a recap on how Carr ended up in the MVP discussion:
▪ Week 1: Passed for 319 yards and a touchdown, including the 2-point pass to Michael Crabtree in a comeback victory over the New Orleans Saints
▪ Week 2: Finished with 299 yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons.
▪ Week 3: Totaled 249 yards and a TD against the Tennessee Titans.
▪ Week 4: Threw for four touchdowns on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.
▪ Week 5: Against the San Diego Chargers, Carr threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns, recording his ninth 300-plus yard passing performance of his career.
▪ Week 6: Carr threw a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs, extending his streak to 12 games with at least one TD pass. He finished with 225 yards.
▪ Week 7: Passed for 200 yards and a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
▪ Week 8: Set a single-game franchise record, throwing for 513 yards against Tampa Bay to break a mark that had stood since 1964. Carr also became just the third quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in a game. He earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
▪ Week 9: Threw for 184 yards, but didn’t record a touchdown against the Denver Broncos.
▪ Week 11: In Mexico City, Carr threw for 295 yards and three TDs against the Houston Texans.
▪ Week 12: Finished with 315 yards and two touchdowns against the Carolina Panthers.
▪ Week 13: Against the Buffalo Bills, totaled 260 yards and two TDs in another comeback win.
▪ Week 14: Limited to 117 yards without a TD against the Chiefs.
▪ Week 15: Rebounded with 213 yards and a touchdown at San Diego.
▪ Week 16: Passed for 232 yards and three TDs before a broken right fibula ended his season in a game against the Indianapolis Colts.
NFL.com writer Adam Schein explained his vote for Carr.
“Matt Ryan and Tom Brady enjoyed statistically dominant seasons,” Schein wrote on NFL.com. “Aaron Rodgers’ final six weeks were dreamy and iconic. Ezekiel Elliott gave the Cowboys’ offense and defense a huge lift, leading Dallas to the No. 1 seed. But Derek Carr got my AP vote. He meant everything to a Raiders team that was in major need of a great player and leadership at quarterback.”
Carr started 15 games and earned his second Pro Bowl selection. He completed 357 of 560 passes (63.8 percent) for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns and six interceptions for a passer rating of 96.7.
Second in the NFL with seven fourth-quarter comebacks, Carr joined Rich Gannon as the second player in Raiders history with multiple 3,500-plus-yard passing seasons, becoming the 15th NFL player to do that in two of their first three seasons.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta
Tom Brady, New England
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
Derek Carr, Oakland
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Dak Prescott, Dallas
Offensive Player Voting
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay
David Johnson, RB, Arizona
Tom Brady, QB, New England
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh
Derek Carr, QB, Oakland
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans