Derek Carr slays cold-weather dragon in Cleveland, leads Raiders to physical victory

Derek Carr, cold-weather warrior?

Three weeks after exorcising his Arrowhead Stadium demons, the Las Vegas Raiders quarterback slayed another bugaboo in the Raiders' 16-6 win in blustery Cleveland on Sunday.

Because before beating the Cleveland Browns, Carr had been just 1-10 -- averaging 204 yards per game passing with 9 TDs and 11 INTs -- in games where the temperature was 45 degrees or cooler at kickoff. Sunday in the Dawg Pound, it was 43 degrees with a wind chill of 31 degrees, wind gusts of 35 mph and rain showers mixed with snow flurries.

The dragon was slayed, with Carr directing a conservative but dominant ground game that not only chewed up clock, but also wore the Browns down as the Raiders improved to 4-3 while the Browns fell to 5-3.

Describe the game in two words: Ground [and] pound. As efficiently as Carr was throwing and taking care of the ball, the Raiders' running game was even better in rushing for 208 yards, with Josh Jacobs grinding out 128 yards and Carr and Devontae Booker adding 41 yards and 29 yards, respectively, behind a dominant offensive line.

Promising trend: The Raiders' defense showed up. Because while they entered the game ranked 31st in the NFL in points allowed (32.8), 31st in takeaways (3) and 29th in sacks (7), the Raiders did not allow the Browns to score a touchdown (slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner's Jack Tatum-esque hit on Jarvis Landry to keep him from hauling in a fourth quarter TD is a season highlight) and actually had a takeaway with their first fumble recovery of the season.

QB breakdown: A quick glance at Carr's stat sheet might garner an audible meh, but he was much better than the 112 yards (the second fewest of his career) on 15-of-24 passing with a TD pass to Hunter Renfrow he turned in. Besides, as The Associated Press noted, the Raiders had three drives of 10 or more plays in a game for just the fourth time in the last 30 seasons (2013 opener at Indianapolis, 2002 finale vs. the Chiefs and in Week 12 of the 1995 season against the Dallas Cowboys). Behind Carr, the Raiders won the time of possession by more than 15 minutes -- 37:43-22:17.

Pivotal play: Booker picking up Carr's fumble at the Browns' 2-yard line with more than six minutes to go after Carr picked up 19 yards on a read-option run. Retaining the ball allowed Daniel Carlson to kick a game-sealing 24-yard field goal with 4:24 to play.