Greetings, Raider Nation! It is I, RaiderDamus, a legend in my own time, a legend in my own mind, and the world's most socialable hermit. I once again bring you tidings of the Raiders' tilt this late Sunday night against the hated rival San Diego Chargers.
Last week we all learned some important things about the Raiders. Firstly, Matt Flynn is sunk cost. I didn't think it was a bad trade at the time, and I still don't think it was, but Flynn is the kind of guy who you can have as a backup on a good team and he can fill in if your starter is out. He is clearly not a guy who can make things happen on his own or put a team on his back and make a bad team better. Terrelle Pryor is that guy, and Matt McGloin might be, but Flynn doesn't belong in Oakland. Secondly, we learned Mychal Rivera does belong in Oakland, not only because he is a legit tight end prospect, but because that means we get to see his sister in a Raiders jersey on television and well, Naya Rivera is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
On to this game. The Raiders defense has played pretty well this year overall. They performed admirably on the road against the Colts, they shut down the Jaguars (no big accomplishment there), they gave up less than 90 points to Denver, and they shut down the Redskins until Matt Flynn decided not to attempt to advance the ball anymore after the middle of the second quarter. The pass rush, which had been a major question mark during the offseason, has been a pleasant surprise. Lamarr Houston is a load and Pat Sims is extremely difficult to keep out of the backfield. He has been one of Reggie McKenzie's best signings so far. If the Raiders can add a beastly pass-rushing end in the offseason in the draft or free agency (coughClowneycough) then the line may end up as one of the best units in football.
The secondary wasn't torched by Andrew Luck, it wasn't torched by Robert Griffin III either. It was by Peyton Manning, but I think the '85 Bears might give up 40 to Manning so, meh. Philip Rivers this week will be an excellent test to see how the unit minus Tyvon Branch performs against a quarterback who is very good, but not quite elite. I suspect the Raiders will do fine against the likes of Eddie Royal and Keenan Allen, but as usual will be completely surprised that Antonio Gates still exists. It's been like eight years guys, he hasn't gone anywhere, but every time the Raiders play him it looks like they say amongst themselves, "Who's this guy over here? Gates? Never heard of him. We probably don't need to worry about him in the passing game." And then Gates catches eleventy passes for threeve hundred yards and the Raiders lose 35-16.
Is Antonio Gates invisible to Raiders coaches and scouts? It's like whenever the Raiders get a copy of the Chargers' depth chart, they replace the tight end position with a sticker of Calvin peeing on a Steelers logo. Maybe he's pixelated out on their game film, like a police informant or something. His voice probably sounds scrambled too. The back of his jersey should read "San Diego area man".
The good news for the Raiders defense is that nobody has really run on them. The bad news is that San Diego doesn't even pretend to try to run the football. That ship sailed away on the tides, with LaDanian Tomlinson hoisting the flag of the New York Jets on its mainsail. The Dolts will probably throw the ball 50 times and complete something like 30 of them. That will be enough.
Chargers win, 30-19.