The Raiders first drive was stymied by the Charger’s defense, but Jon Gruden reached into his bag of tricks calling a fake punt where Johnny Townsend went 42 yards to put the raiders in the red-zone. Unfortunately, not only was the team unable to score a touchdown, a 4th and goal try from the 1 was stuffed by the chargers causing a turnover on downs. The Raiders were able to kick a 46-yard field goal after starting their next drive from the chargers 48. The Raiders did not allow the charger a single first down in the 1st quarter, but the star linebacker Melvin Ingram stepped up to strip sack Derek Carr on the Raiders next drive allowing the Chargers offense to score a field goal and tie the game at 3 in the second quarter.
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The chargers biggest play of the half came on a 31-yard reception to Ty Williams at the 3:02 mark of the second quarter. Phillip Rivers would connect with Keenan Allen for an 11-yard TD to take the 10-3 lead. The 4th play of the Chargers first drive of the second half was the highlight of the game with Melvin Gordon juking raiders defenders for a 66-yard TD to increase their lead to 17-3.
The Raiders responded on their next drive with big plays down the field to get into the red-zone, but on 3rd and 9 Derek Carr threw a near interception and the Raiders were forced to kick a field goal.
The Raiders chances in the game were essentially ended when a sack on Phillip Rivers was questionably changed to a rough the passer call with 11:39 left. The result would be 4 minutes taken off the clock and a Charger’s field goal to extend their lead to 20-6.
Final Score: 20-6
With the teams being equal or close to even in first downs (16,16) , total yards (335, 317) time of possession (28:50, 31:10) and turnovers (1,1) the game was clearly much more competitive than the final score indicates. However, big plays are the reason the chargers came out on top. 4 chargers sacks, several of which came in critical moments vs the raiders one made a huge impact on the game. The Charger’s ability to convert in the redzone in the first half and Gordons 66-yard touchdown were the main determiners of the game. Derek Carr had many nice throws in the game and was able to keep the Raiders moving. However, his poor decisions in key moments (near INT in redzone, throwing it away on 4th down on with 5 minutes left) have plagued the Raiders this year and last. The absence of Khalil Mack has put all the weight on his shoulders. Something personnel wise or with Carr must change for the team to get back the success they had in 2016.
The Chargers run defense was poor against a 24th ranked Oakland rushing attack allowing 114 yards. The Chargers are a very good team, but with double digit losses to the Chiefs and the Rams, they seem to be one superstar away from being able to truly compete with the league’s elite teams.