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Raiders week 15 Ballers & Busters vs Chargers

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Another hard fought, come-from-behind win for this Raiders team that has had so many already this season. Once again, things didn’t start out so great, but the Raiders hung around and chipped away at this vulnerable Chargers team until they came away with victory.

The Chargers jumped out to a lead with a game opening touchdown drive. Then the Raiders defense stiffened up for a while until they gave up another drive for a field goal late.

It was a similar story for the Raiders offense. They responded to the Chargers opening TD drive with a drive for a field goal. Then their offense stalled -- in part due to two turnovers in the red zone – until the final drive of the first half when they finished with a touchdown drive and the two teams headed into the locker room at half time tied at 10-10.

The second half started just as the first half did; with both teams driving for scores. Again it was the Raiders driving for a field goal and the Chargers putting it in the end zone. A missed extra point kept it a three point game at 16-13. From there the Raiders defense stiffened up again while the offense tied it and took the lead on field goals for the final score of 19-16.

Ballers

Bruce Irvin

His performances of late have been leading up to a game like this. He began with a run stuff on the opening drive. He would then end the Chargers next drive with a sack on third down, end their third drive with a forced fumble that went out of bounds short of the sticks, and ended their final drive of the first half with a hit on Philip Rivers to force and incompletion on third down. They settled for a field goal to keep it a one-score game and the Raiders tied it up on the ensuing drive.

Once the Raiders took the lead late, it was up to the defense to keep the Chargers from driving into scoring range. They did that and more. The Chargers drive started at their own 14-yard-line and they went backward. On the second play, Irvin came around the edge to get his second sack of the day. An incompletion on third and 15 set up 4th and 15 for the game. Once again Irvin got around the edge and hit Rivers as he tried to throw which caused it to be picked off by Reggie Nelson to end it.

Irvin finished the game with 2.0 sacks (7.0 on the season), 3 QB hits, one forced fumble, and his six combined tackles (5 solo) was tied for the most on the team.

Khalil Mack

Irvin stepped out of Mack’s shadow for this game. But Mack still put up a fantastic performance. Even without an official sack, Mack was getting a good deal of pressure. According to stats compiled by Pro Football Focus, Mack had a league high 8 pressures this week on 3 hits and 5 hurries. But Philip Rivers’s ability to elude pressure and his quick release had Mack just a hair away from extending his 8-game sack streak.

The first drive of the game, he had a run stuff and a pressure to force an incompletion. The second series he had a tackle for three-yard loss, helping result in a three-and-out. He added another run stuff early in the second quarter and added two more pressures on the final drive of the first half, including the final third down play along with Irvin.

The final series by the Chargers was owned by Irvin, but Mack helped as well. On third and 15, he got pressure up the middle on Rivers to hit his arm as he threw and knock the pass down to set up the crucial 4th and 15 to end it.

Gabe Jackson

In the second half of this season, Jackson has looked like he has settled into his new role at right guard. More and more the team either runs through his position or pulls him as a blocker through the left guard spot.

On two consecutive short yardage plays on the Raiders first drive, they pulled Jackson from right to left and picked up the first down behind him. Those first downs helped the Raiders to drive into field goal range and put points on the board early.

The Raiders’ second possession featured a 23-yard run to the San Diego 14-yard-line and again it was Jackson doing the heavy lifting. A fumble by Latavius Murray on the next play would keep them from scoring again.

With the ball back late in the first half and down by seven, the Raiders went on a drive. The first play Murray went for 9 yards behind a Jackson block. The next play he broke off his biggest run of the day, going for 33 yards through a hole opened up by Jackson and Rodney Hudson. That play put the Raiders in scoring position and three plays later, they scored their only touchdown of the day.

Jackson was later the key block on the 27-yard run by Murray that started the Raiders game-winning scoring drive.

Sebastian Janikowski

Four attempts, four field goals. Two of them were not chip shots, either. The first was from 45 yards out. The other three all came in the second half, resulting in the only points the Raiders scored. The final, game-winning kick was from 44 yards out. Don’t look now, but after a rough patch this season, ol’ Seabass hasn’t missed a field goal since November 6; a stretch of five games.

Nate Allen

Continuing his fine play in relief of the injured Karl Joseph, Allen had a very solid game both in coverage and against the run.

He had a pass defended to lead out the Chargers’ second series which was a three-and-out. Late in the first half, he had perfect coverage on tight end Hunter Henry in the end zone to force an incompletion. In total, he didn’t give up a catch in the game.

In addition, he tied for the team lead with 6 combined tackles. That’s exactly what you want from your strong safety.

Michael Crabtree

Full disclosure, Crabtree’s addition here comes a day late. He was supposed to be here originally, but somehow was left off. Better late than never?

Crabtree led the team with 6 catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. He had the first and second catches of the game for the Raiders for 8 and 9 yards as they drove for a field goal on their opening drive. He also had a drop on that drive on a ball that was slightly behind him, but very catchable.

He set about to make up for that drop by making a brilliant 13-yard touchdown catch along the right sideline and getting what the official called “a slice of blue” between his heel and the sideline after review. It tied the game at 10-10 at the half.

He had a 6-yard catch to lead out the second half with the Raiders driving for a field goal and their first lead of the game. He later had a 19-yard catch as well.

Honorable mention

Derek Carr – The Raiders went 1-6 in the red zone in this game. One of those was a Carr interception and another was nearly intercepted to force a field goal. But Carr kept it together, let his running game do its job, and added a 22-yard completion and an 8-yard scramble for the first down on the game-winning drive.

Reggie Nelson – He has a team-leading 4 interceptions, three of which sealed the win, including one in this game. At some point you have to figure that’s more than just a coincidence.

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