“James Harden!”: Derek Carr is the king of the audacious audibles in 2020

A byproduct of the NFL playing its games to few or no fans due to the new coronavirus is that viewers can hear all quarterbacks loud and clear shouting out their calls, cadence and creeds.

Packed in top secret code along with all those audibles.

And Derek Carr is the biggest star of this pandemic phenomenon.

Carr fell short on Sunday night in his showdown with Patrick Mahomes at the empty Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, where the Raiders lost a 35-31 thriller to the Kansas City Chiefs.

But the Raiders QB was the social media darling for his audible audibles, especially when he called “James Harden!” before handing in for a 6 yard gain.

Oh, the delightful irony of Carr not playing the ball on that play, something even the official Raiders Twitter account pointed out.

Other audibles included:

“Chris Mullin!”

“Pete’s gun!”

And, still scratching our heads about this one:

“Purple Walrus!”

Without roaring crowds, some salty language is occasionally broadcast, as in the Dolphins-Broncos match on Sunday.

With the game clock running out, Denver had to request a timeout just 37 seconds after the first ride, and left guard Dalton Risner threw his hands in the air in frustration and dropped an f-bomb that everyone could hear.

Yes, even after the uproar of 5,351 fans, the last crowd to be admitted to Empower Field at Mile High this season due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Colorado.

But the most entertaining lines come from the mouths of quarterbacks, and Carr is king.

In the season’s first Raiders-Chiefs matchup, Carr shouted “Bruce Springstein!” and “Joe Montana!”

In Las Vegas’ opener, he shouted, “Tiger Woods!” and “Cindy Gruden!”, the wife of his head coach.

Jon Gruden joked that: “I don’t know what he has been up to when it comes to scrimmage, but I better keep my wife out from now on.”

Other noteworthy phone calls from week 11:


Two quarterbacks had their first victories as pros on Sunday after their coaches chose them over seasoned backups.

Ex-XFL signal-caller PJ Walker threw for 258 yards and a score in leading Carolina past Detroit 20-0 for the Panthers’ first shutout since 2015.

Walker turned heads in the XFL by throwing 15 touchdown passes when the Houston Roughnecks won five in a row before the league folded due to the pandemic. He signed with Carolina after Matt Rhule, his coach at Temple, took the Panthers job.

Rhule made Walker the starter for Will Grier less than two hours before kick-off when Teddy Bridgewater was officially ruled out with a knee injury. Rhule said Bridgewater was “prepared like a monster” and wanted to play, but he didn’t feel right playing him, especially given Bridgewater’s history of knee injuries.

With Drew Brees out with broken ribs, Taysom Hill rushed for two touchdowns and passed for 233 yards in his first NFL start at quarterback, and the Saints extended their winning streak to seven games with a 24-9 win over the Falcons.

Coach Sean Payton gave Hill the nod to taking over free agent Jameis Winston, and Hill responded by completing 18 of 23 passes and rushing for a team-high 51 yards.

The decision meant a lot to Hill, who persisted through an injury-ridden college career at BYU before starting his NFL career as a 27-year-old undeveloped rookie in 2017. And because Hill initially thrived in an unconventional utility role, with duties ranging from From quick QB option to tight end and special teams, he played in 46 previous NFL games before finally getting his first start below center.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this week reflecting,” said Hill.


The calls of the referees who always get the most attention are the head scratchers, but sometimes a team earns every flag thrown in their path. Take the Colts, who got into a rut and were whistled for five hold calls and an illegal motion penalty in an eight-snaps period against Green Bay on Sunday.

Just before that sad streak, the Packers were flagged for back-to-back fouls, making it eight flags in a span of 10 times.

All that stoppage gave the Packers a minute, 25 seconds to drive to the tying run in the diminishing seconds before losing in extra time after Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s fumble.

Valdes-Scantling tweeted after the game that he had received death threats. On Monday he said that he was not really afraid of his life, but that he wanted ‘to make people understand that we are human too, and that we are not just any number on a sweater’.


Broncos coach Vic Fangio awarded a match ball to Hall of Famer Floyd Little after Denver’s 20-13 win over the Miami Dolphins. The former Broncos and Syracuse who are in great decline have cancer and have recently entered hospice care.

“We talked about him, one of the greatest greats in Broncos history,” said Fangio. “No. 44, I remember him as a kid growing up, I was an Eagles fan growing up, but from afar I was a Floyd Little fan too. We did give him one and we’re going to send it to him. . “

The Broncos rushed for the season’s best 189 yards, followed by Melvin Gordon’s 84 yards on 15 carriers and Phillip Lindsay’s 82 yards on 14 runs. That was the seventh time since the merger that two Broncos had at least 15 carriers and were rushing 80 yards.

The first time it happened was on November 7, 1971, when Little and Bobby Anderson got it done.

With contributions from AP Sports Writers Brett Martel and Steve Reed.