I heard the other day some NFL analyst say that if games were 58 minutes long, the Chargers would be 4-0. By that same logic, the Raiders would be 1-3. But games are not 58 minutes long. And those last two minutes show two teams on different ends of the spectrum.
While the Raiders have been as clutch as it comes in the final minutes of the game, the Chargers have been wheeling out of control with no brakes.
Two of the Raiders’ wins this season have been of the come-from-behind variety. In both cases that comeback occurred late in the fourth quarter.
In week one, they took the lead on a touchdown and 2-point conversion with :47 seconds remaining. Last week against the Ravens, they took the lead on a touchdown drive with 2:13 remaining.
The Chargers have been anything but clutch.
Entering the fourth quarter of the season opener against the Chiefs, the Chargers held a 27-10 lead. They blew that 17-point lead and the Chiefs tied up the game with 1:03 remaining. The game went to overtime. The Chiefs got the ball first and drove down the field for a touchdown to end it.
In week three, the Chargers held a 22-20 lead over the Colts only to give up a touchdown drive with 1:17 remaining. A fumble by tight end Hunter Henry sealed their fate.
Last week the Chargers held a 13-point lead over the Saints midway through the fourth quarter. Two consecutive drives would end in fumbles by Melvin Gordon and Travis Benjamin would lead to two touchdown drives by the Saints, who took a 35-34 lead with 1:57 remaining. An interception by Philip Rivers would officially end it.
Analysts can point to bad luck all they want, but good teams finish games. Bad teams blow leads and lose games late. The Raiders know that better than most teams.
This match-up doesn’t appear to have the makings of a game where the Raiders would trail the Chargers late, but if that were to happen, a lead will have never been less safe.