With the Chargers game in the rearview mirror and painfully part of the past, we take one last look at three key plays that resulted in the loss. Looking back sometimes help you learn and move forward. Will the Raiders?
The Raiders played another “home” game in Los Angeles but, in a familiar refrain, lost again. Oakland dropped to a disappointing 1-4 on the season and 0-2 in the AFC West and for the first time this season, Oakland did not control the opening half and the first time they trailed going into halftime. Analyzing the film, there were a few key plays that stood out that really scuttled the Raiders chances to win this game.
4:14 2nd QTR, Score 3-3
With about four minutes remaining in the first half, the Chargers had driven to the Raiders 44-yard line. This game had been a field position battle up until this point. The snap was poor but Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was able to corral it and get it out to his running back in the flat. What started out looking like a golden opportunity for the defense almost expectantly turned into a disaster.
Oakland sent safety Reggie Nelson on a blitz, though cornerback Daryl Worley and linebacker Tahir Whitehead were in a position to make the tackle at the 40. Worley took outside leverage to force the ball back inside but unfortunately, Whitehead over-pursued and the running back broke back inside. Instead of about a four-yard gain, LA went up 10-3 on thanks to yet another long play surrendered by the Raiders defense. This defense isn’t shutting anyone down and must make open field tackles to have a chance to force punts.
4:04 2nd QTR, Score 10-3
Oakland could not have responded more poorly to their defensive lapse than they did on Sunday. On the first offensive play of the following drive, quarterback Derek Carr hit wide receiver Martavis Bryant on a play action curl concept. Bryant pushed off at the top of his route and would have been flagged for offensive pass interference if he didn’t end up fumbling the ball.
In a one-possession game, the Raiders could ill afford to turn the ball over to an offense as potent as the Chargers, especially while in plus territory. Rivers would go on to drive his team down the field for yet another touchdown. The ensuing 17-3 score would stand into halftime with both teams missing late field goals.
1:13 3rd QTR, Score 20-3
With the third quarter coming to a close, and the Raiders down three scores, this was basically the nail in the proverbial coffin. After an end zone pass interference call on Chargers safety Derwin James, the offense had the ball at the LA 1 yard line. In what has comically become a trend for any team that has running back Marshawn Lynch on its roster, the Raiders opted for a play-action pass that ended in a red zone turnover.
Carr clearly could not see lurking Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram in traffic. He threw a beautiful pass right into his breadbasket. The Chargers would go on to drive the length of the field and after a touchdown and missed the extra point to take a commanding 26-3 lead. Oakland went from an opportunity to cut the lead to two possessions, to trailing by 23 points with 9:36 left in the game.
Turnovers cannot happen if the Raiders are going to have any chance of winning. They don’t have the talent on defense to shut down opponents and the offense is producing yards but not putting points on the board. The two times they handed the ball over in this contest, it cost them dearly. If they intend to right the ship this week when they take on the Seattle Seahawks in London, they need to protect the ball and get a few takeaways of their own.