A week after not being targeted once against his former team in Kansas City, Smith was lit up like a Christmas tree by Philip Rivers. Smith was roasted like a chestnut over an open fire by Travis Benjamin to give up a 47-yard touchdown on the Chargers’ opening drive.
The next time the Chargers scored was late in the first half and the drive included Smith in the spirit of giving up an 11-yard catch on third and ten. Then some good coverage by his teammates late in the drive was able to help hold them to a field goal.
The very first play of the second half, Smith was delivering holiday cheer to the Chargers, giving up a 21-yard catch. Then he landed squarely atop the naughty list by giving up a 7-yard touchdown to tight end Hunter Henry to give the lead back to the Chargers 16-13.
Derek Carr was sacked twice in this game. Once by Joey Bosa and once by Melvin Ingram. Both were courtesy of Austin Howard.
The first sack he gave up came with the Raiders having started their drive in San Diego territory. The sack pushed them back out of plus territory and forced a three-and-out. The other sack came late in the game with the Raiders in third and 8 at the Chargers’ 19-yard-line. They settled for a field goal which was luckily enough to hold on for the win.
Before that, Howard was beaten by his man to give up a stuff for a loss with the team in third and goal from the one which had them settling for another field goal for the tie, instead of taking the lead earlier.
How does a guy who averaged 6.2 yards per carry land on the Buster list? I’ll tell ya. First off, by fumbling the ball twice – once for a four yard loss that killed the Raiders first drive, and another for a turnover in the red zone.
Murray was able to get most of his yards on two plays – a 33-yard run and a 27-yard run. I am in no way discounting his yards per carry total based on this fact. Those runs count. But while that second one was huge to start out the Raiders game-winning drive, Murray’s part in it just doesn’t sit too well with me.
That run was one of those situations where the Raiders called the perfect play and the Chargers were out of position to stop it. The defensive tackle went for the rush in the C/RG gap. Gabe Jackson gladly helped to lead him on his path because Murray’s hole was the RG/RT gap. Once through, Murray had nothing but open field in front of him. Once he got into the secondary, he suddenly stopped running downhill, and ran right into a tackle.
There’s a saying; “Good is not good when better is expected.” There was a lot more yards to be had on that run, which, had Murray just kept his head of steam and kept running, he would have had. He may have even scored. That’s yards left on the field. And those two fumbles left points on the field. Not to mention being in first and goal at the one and getting stuffed twice and losing a yard. It can’t always fall on the blocking.