Post-game recap of the Oakland Raiders Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Oakland Raiders came into Week 6 limping, both literally and figuratively. Following three consecutive losses, the Raiders were a mess on both sides of the ball and were in desperate need of a win to get back on track. But with a stockpile of injuries, including Derek Carr returning from a fractured back, getting that win would be easier said than done.
First-round pick Gareon Conley missed his fourth game of the year with a shin injury, starting inside linebacker Marquel Lee was out with an injury and so was Jamize Olawale. Tyrell Adams got the call in place of Lee.
But the main story, of course, would be the return of Derek Carr. After missing just one game following a transverse process fracture in his lower back, the Raiders needed him to play like the Carr of the first two weeks in order to win. But on his first pass attempt of the game, he threw an interception.
The interception came after the Raiders defense got a stop on the opening possession, to make matters worse. Oakland had a chance to go up 7-0 after starting the game on defense, but instead, turned it over. Carr and Michael Crabtree were not on the same page on the play, as the ball was thrown earlier than expected. Also, the ball sailed over his head by a few yards, right into the hands of Trevor Williams.
On the ensuing drive, the Chargers would have a zero-yard gain and two incomplete passes, and were forced to settle for a 48-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide right. T.J. Carrie was excellent in coverage on the 3rd down attempt, and the defense had now started the game with two impressive sequences.
On their second effort of the day, the offense got rolling. Todd Downing’s game plan was clear — short, quick passes to get Carr and the receivers in rhythm, and a heavy dose of the run game. Oakland put together a 62-yard drive that spanned 11 plays and and ate up 6:05 of game clock, capped by a Crabtree touchdown. The Raiders converted three first downs on the drive, and two of them were on 3rd down. 7-0, Raiders.
— Only 1 Nation (@Only1Nation_) October 15, 2017
The next two drives for both teams would be anti-climatic. The Chargers had a 4th down conversion attempt that was broken up by T.J. Carrie and then another drive where they punted. The Raiders punted on consecutive drives.
Action would pick back up towards the end of the second half via a Los Angeles scoring drive of 15 plays, 82 yards and 6:41 of game clock. The Chargers converted four 1st downs on the drive, and three of them came on 3rd down. Los Angeles was stopped on the 1-yard line but then punched it on 4th down for the score. Tie game, 7-7.
The Raiders responded just before halftime, getting the ball back with 1:34 to go in the second quarter. The offense used 7 plays to move 34 yards, which was far enough to put Giorgio Tavecchio in field goal position. The Italian Stallion drilled a 44-yarder right down the middle to put Oakland up 10-7 going into halftime.
On this drive, Carr finally connected with Amari Cooper on a beautiful deep throw and catch. Amari had to climb the ladder and made a tough jump-ball grab, but it was called back due to a holding penalty. It was a 31-yard gain that would have put the Raiders on the Chargers 16-yard line with 46 seconds to go.
Starting with the ball in the second half, this was a great opportunity to extend the lead to a two-score game. The Raiders seemed primed to do just that, using 13 plays to march down to LA’s 13-yard line, but a bad throw by Carr to Marshawn was tipped in the air and intercepted.
The game got boring for the next several drives, with a one drive that ended in a punt by each team, a lost fumble by the Chargers and a failed 4th down conversion by the Raiders.
Following the failed 4th down conversion, early in the fourth quarter, the Chargers began a drive to take the lead. It took 10 plays and 59 yards for them to find the end zone for the 14-10 lead, which was capped by a Melvin Gordon touchdown on a short screen pass.
The Raiders would respond, though. A Cordarrelle Patterson sweep went 47 yards to the house, putting Oakland back on top. But a bad snap by Jon Condo led to a missed PAT, and instead of a 17-14 lead, they were only up two points. That missed PAT would prove to be on the difference on the scoreboard, as the Chargers would drive 78 yards and kick a field goal to win as time expired.
— Only 1 Nation (@Only1Nation_) October 15, 2017
With the loss, the Raiders have now dropped four straight to fall to 2-4. The Chiefs are up next on Thursday night.
Carr was 21 of 30 for 171 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs in his return. The game plan was for him to get the ball out quickly, and for much of the game, it was effective. But ultimately, the lack of pushing the ball down left points off the board. Also, he and his receivers were clearly not on the same page, as miscommunications led to incomplete passes and multiple turnovers.
Marshawn Lynch had his best game since Week 1, carrying the ball 13 times for 63 yards. He looked explosive and was tough to bring down, picking up a small handful of carries above 10 yards. Patterson pitched in 3 carries for 55 yards, with one being the 47-yard touchdown.
Crabtree had 6 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Amari Cooper had 5 for 28, and he had two long-ish receptions that were called back. Still not a great game, but it was a better performance than the box score indicates.
T.J. Carrie might have been the best player on defense in this one. He made several really impressive pass breakups, and a couple of them were on third down, and he was an effective tackler as well. Bruce Irvin got a sack and Dexter McDonald forced a fumble that was recovered by the Raiders. But six games into the year, the Raiders are the only team in the NFL that does not have an interception.
Rivers was 25 of 36 for 268 yards and 1 touchdown. He didn’t exactly shred the secondary, but the defense was content to leave Hunter Henry and Melvin Gordon wide open all game long. Henry posted 5 catches for 90 yards while Gordon picked up 9 catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers had 343 yards of total offense, compared to 274 for the Raiders.
This loss is squarely on the offense. The Chargers boast a dynamic offense with a wealth of weapons, and the Oakland defense holding them to just 17 points is an accomplishment. They didn’t get a stop when they needed it the most at the end of the game, but it was only a matter of time before “bend but don’t break” would no longer be sustainable. They gave this team multiple chances to make it a two-score game, and multiple times, the offense failed to capitalize.
Four straight losses should put the crosshairs on the coaching staff. As a team that had Super Bowl aspirations, it’s shocking and embarrassing that the Raiders will have to win six straight to even get to 10-4. Because even going 5-1 the rest of the way might not be enough to get into the playoffs.
We’ll see you on Thursday night.