This was really the first game that was a joy to re-watch this year. Here are a few fun bullet points before moving onto next weeks game against that other Bay Area team with a way, way, way worse record.
The Positive Pile
Masters of the Inches
- This team still makes dumb mistakes, but they are not for lack of effort and that effort is winning them the game of inches. Nowhere was this more evident on three fumble plays.
- The first was one sliding under the radar. On the Raiders last scoring drive, Zach Miller fumbled. He may have been down he may not have. It didn't matter though, because Jacoby Ford recovered it. Ford was roughly 15 yards down-field from Miller when he caught it, but he came running back looking for someone to block even though Miller was getting tackled by 14 or 15 Chargers. He was just kind of bouncing around trying to figure out how to make himself useful when the ball came out. Then he stole the Chargers thunder and beat 3 of them to the ground and the ball to recover.
- The Unholy Roller: Daniel Loper...this is the only way an offensive lineman should ever advance the ball. A heads up play displaying the team's do-what-it-takes attitude.
- The other has not slid under the radar. Tom Cable pointed it out in his Q&A and TheRaiderWay posted it below. The Raiders defense was hungry for blood and it showed on that play. First, when the ball came out there were roughly 12 Raiders and Chargers closer to the ball than Tyvon Branch. Only one Charger went for it, while Tommy Kelly was diving and Branch were flying for it. Noticing this, Chris Johnson lit up the Charger going for the ball and Branch beat Kelly to the ball. There was literally a circle of 3 Chargers just standing around watching--all of whom, could have had the angle on Branch had they not been standing around. The one Charger who did try to get the angle was Rivers and he was alertly blocked by Huff. Rivers responded by throwing his arms in the air and whining for a block in the back. That play was a thing of beauty. The Chargers were Raiderhandled.
Things Masked By Victory
- The Big Plays
- Again the Raiders had two plays, this time in pass D, where they try to hand the opponents TDs. Thankfully, Rivers overthrew one of them.
- Pass Coverage Secondary
- Too many instances of confusion in assignments. Chris Johnson looks a little confused, which given the time he missed is somewhat understandable, but he needs to improve in assignment recognition.
- Pass Coverage LBs
- The Chargers are a tough task for any LBs with Sproles and Gates, but the LB were continually not even close. It was what was feared when the LB corp was expected to be Wimbley, Scott and McClain.
- Clock/TO management
- Some plays the Raiders just seem lost. It is hard to tell if they aren't getting the play soon enough or if guys aren't lining up right, but this needs to get better. They were lucky when the refs gifted them consecutive TOs, but what the hell? Why would an NFL team ever be confused lining up coming out of a TO?
- The other issue I had was on their final scoring drive. Once they crossed midfield the Raiders should have begun taking as much time as possible or go in a hurry up mode. Instead they were consistently running plays with 4 to 10 seconds left. They could have killed about another minute of game time.
- Blocking a 3-4 Pass Rush
- 2 of the 3 Chargers sacks came virtually untouched as the Raiders were confused as to who to pick up. Veldheer on the first and Carlisle on the second. Overall, the line was as solid as they have been, but the 9ers were fairly vanilla in their pass rush and the Raiders a steady diet of 3-4 teams coming up.