The last three weeks of Oakland Raiders losses have sucked, to put it bluntly. The team hasn’t played well as of late and got handled to varying degrees in each of those games.
But this one hurt because of one giant factor: the Raiders should have won. The Los Angeles Chargers walked away with the win, but it was served on a silver platter by their silver (and black) clad opponents.
The Chargers won 17-16 in Oakland yesterday, getting the victory on a Nick Novak field goal as time expired. This came after the Raiders had scored a go-ahead touchdown from a Cordarrelle Patterson end-around, but missed the point after try in the process.
It’s hard to blame Giorgio Tavecchio for the failed kick. The snap from Jon Condo was high enough that holder Marquette King had to leap out of his stance to snare it in, leaving he and Tavecchio little time to get the ball down. As a result, the kick sailed wide left.
All of a sudden, the Chargers were playing for a potential win instead of a tie to go to overtime. The Raiders got a three-and-out immediately afterward but gave the ball back after a failed drive of their own. With just over 4 minutes left on the clock, the Chargers marched down the field, largely with Melvin Gordon runs and two long completions to Hunter Henry. By the time Novak’s final kick flew through the uprights, the Raiders literally had no chance to respond.
Philip Rivers was efficient against a shaky Raiders defense, though the latter did look improved from previous performances. It was the same old things that hurt them, however. Passes to tight ends and running backs. Long pass plays. Giving up third down conversions. Someone could make a drinking game out of the Raiders defensive lapses (please don’t, people might die).
Rivers went 25 for 36, 268 yards and a touchdown to Gordon. The running back had a whopping 9 catches for 67 yards. Henry led the team in receiving with 5 catches for 90 yards. Keenan Allen had the same amount of catches for half the yardage, a result of great coverage from T.J. Carrie.
Gordon also scored on a one-yard leap on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, though he averaged just over 3 yards a carry. The Raiders front-seven did extremely well against the run before the final drive; Justin Ellis and Mario Edwards Jr. stood out in particular.
On offense, the Raiders had their moments, but they have yet to recapture the firepower they flashed in their two wins. Derek Carr opened the game like he did in week 3, throwing an interception to Trevor Williams. He also got picked by Hayes Pullard on a short throw to Marshawn Lynch in the third quarter. Neither turnover resulted in a Chargers score though (Novak actually missed a field goal after the first).
Carr had 171 yards and a TD on 21 for 30 passing otherwise. The team went conservative with their QB still dealing with the after-effects of his back injury. His longest pass was 23 yards, on the TD incidentally.
Michael Crabtree was the recipient of said score. He had the team high with 5 catches for 62 yards. Amari Cooper had a quasi bounce-back game after three awful games, though he was limited yardage-wise by some stellar Casey Hayward coverage, finishing with 5 catches for just 28 yards.
Lynch had his best game of the season on the ground, carrying the rock 13 times for 62 yards. Patterson touched the ball four times for 59 yards and the previously mentioned end-around TD.
Pullard had the best all-around game on defense for the Chargers, getting 10 total tackles and Carr’s second INT. Former Raider Korey Toomer was behind him with 8 tackles.
Both teams are now 2-4, with the Raiders in last place in the AFC West. They’ll have to recover in time for a Thursday night tilt against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers will host the other AFC West team, the Denver Broncos, on Sunday.