Saints QB Derek Carr leaves game vs. Vikings; Winston rallies team and then throws late INTs

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr has been one of the NFL’s most durable QBs in his 10 years. After being forced out of Sunday’s game at Minnesota because of a shoulder injury and a concussion that came from a jarring hit by two Vikings defenders, Carr’s status going forward is uncertain.

With the bye week upcoming, NFC South leader New Orleans hopes he can make another quick recovery and not have to miss the next game.

Carr completed a 15-yard pass to Chris Olave after sliding forward in the pocket midway through the third quarter as the rush closed in during the Saints’ 27-19 loss. He was hit by Danielle Hunter around the shoulder and brought down low by Jaquelin Roy as he fell to the turf. The offensive linemen who came to check on Carr quickly motioned to the sideline for the medical staff.

Carr walked off the field without assistance, but he was eventually taken away on a cart for further examination. Jameis Winston came in and completed the drive for the Saints’ first touchdown of the game.

Winston provided a spark with two touchdown passes, but he also threw two late interceptions as the Saints tried to tie it. Winston finished 13 of 25 for 122 yards passing, and coach Dennis Allen wasn’t entertaining any thoughts of making a change at quarterback for anything other than injury.

“We’re not in a competition there,” Allen said. “I thought Jameis did some good things. But Derek Carr is a tough quarterback.”

Carr, in his first year with New Orleans, started 15 or more games in each of his nine seasons with the Raiders. He’s dealt with various injuries but only missed three games in his career due to injury.

A broken leg ended his season after 15 games in 2016, which also caused him to miss a playoff game. He missed just one game in 2017 after sustaining a fracture in his back. He was also benched his final two games with Las Vegas last season before signing a four-year, $150 million contract with the Saints.

“We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow,” Allen said.

Allen had a positive review of Winston’s performance after being thrust into the game down 27-3.

“It’s obviously a tough situation to come into when you’re down that many points and the team really kind of knows you’re going to throw the ball,” Allen said. “I thought under all those circumstances, I thought he did a good job.”

It's Winston's second action in relief of Carr this season. Carr was knocked out in Week 3 against Green Bay with an AC joint sprain in his shoulder. Allen said he didn't have any information on whether this latest injury to Carr's shoulder is the same as the injury against Green Bay.

Winston was 10 of 16 for 101 yards against the Packers.

Against the Vikings, Winston finished off the drive in which Carr got hurt with a 14-yard touchdown to Olave. Winston also had a touchdown pass to rookie A.T. Perry, throwing all the way across the width of the field as Perry outleaped cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. for his first career touchdown.

“I’m grateful every time I get out there,” Winston said. “I just want to finish.”

Winston was lamenting the two late interceptions, which has been the biggest knock against him in his career.

“Jameis has been a starter in this league, so you know what he brings to the table,” Vikings safety Harrison Smith said. “He’s going to give his guys opportunities, which he did. With that comes opportunities for us. So that’s just kind of what it is.”

Trailing by eight points with 3:13 remaining, Winston lofted a pass deep down the sideline for Olave on third down, and Vikings cornerback Mekhi Blackmon pulled in his first career interception. On the next drive, on first down at the Minnesota 46-yard line with 1:56 left in the game, Winston’s deep pass over the middle for Rashid Shaheed was intercepted by Murphy.

“In that case, take what the defense gives you,” Winston said of the second interception. “Got a chance to tie the game and that’s what I said, we've just got to finish. I've got to finish.”