Jon Gruden, Derek Carr, Paul Guenther
Each week leading up to this week we could look at one or two things at least that worked for this team. And it had you wondering if they could put it together when it mattered most. They answered that with an emphatic no.
In the first half, the defense gave the game away. The Chargers drove for an opening score to take a 3-0 lead. The offense got on the board to begin the second quarter, but even that was a failure.
After driving into first and goal at the 5-yard-line, Gruden called for Carr to put the ball in the air on three consecutive plays. The first play he threw incomplete into triple coverage for Jared Cook. A false start by Jon Feliciano didn’t help matters, but even on that play, it was going to be a play fake to Marshawn with Carr rolling out. A dump off to Jalen Richard was not going to come close to picking up the 12 yards needed for the score. The result was a field goal and more red zone problems, of which the Raiders were already among the league’s worst red zone teams.
Back to the defense; on consecutive drives late in the second quarter, they went for a touchdown. The first was Philip Rivers getting the ball away to running back Austin Ekeler in the left flat and since the Raiders went on a blitz, there wasn’t much out there to stop him. He made one move to get past Tahir Whitehead and Daryl Worley and was gone 44 yards for the score.
The other drive was a similar story. The Raider rushed and Rivers threw a screen pass to Melvin Gordon who went 34 yards, stopped only by tripping over his blocker’s foot. But he would score anyway a few plays later. Little did we know at the time, but that would be plenty for the Chargers to win this one.
The Raiders got the ball back with 1:39 on the clock but no timeouts. So, they would need to work the boundaries as best they could. The first pass was great, with Carr finding Seth Roberts for 20 yards and he got out of bounds. They were still not to midfield yet though. Then a series of short dump passes drained the clock significantly and picked up just 16 yards. Carr spiked the ball for the second time on third down with :06 left and undrafted rookie Matt McCrane was brought out to try a 57-yard field goal. He missed it short.
That is an example of terrible clock management.
What they couldn’t do in 99 seconds, the Chargers did in 6 seconds. They moved the ball into range for a Hail Mary pass, it fell incomplete, but Bruce Irvin was flagged for roughing the passer to put them in range of a 48-yard field goal which, fortunately for the Raiders, he missed.
After falling to 20-3, the Raiders mounting a drive that would be the last best hope to make a comeback. They would get a pass interference call in the end zone that put them in first and goal at the one. So, what does Gruden do? He calls for a pass. Carr scans the field, feels pressure, backpedals and throws it right into the hands of Melvin Ingram for the interception in the end zone. Threat over. Game over.
Before all was said and done, the Chargers would gouge the Raiders one more time on a screen for a 13-yard touchdown early in the fourth.
It was an utterly miserable day for Miller. Carr was sacked three times in the game. All three were surrendered by Miller. And that wasn’t all.
The first sack came on the first third down to start the day with a three-and-out. Early in the second quarter, with the Raiders in third and 3, Miller gave up a pressure that had Carr running from the pocket and throwing incomplete up the sideline. The next drive, Miller gave up a tackle for loss on a Doug Martin run and then had a false start on third and 2 leading to a third and long and an incompletion for a three-and-out.
The first third down of the second half and Miller gave up his second sack. The next drive, on third and 7, he gave pressure on Carr who nearly had the ball stripped, but managed somehow to get it away to Jalen Richard for a 32-yard gain. Two plays later, Miller gave up another pressure which Carr was again luckily able to pull away from for a 5-yard scramble.
Just for good measure, Miller would give up one more sack on Carr on the drive after the Chargers went up 26-3, forcing the Raiders to have to go for it on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Miller has an injured leg that had him wearing a brace all game and he said affected his play all game. It sounds as if he maybe shouldn’t have been playing. See the Top Buster for that.
There were three scores by the Chargers in the first half. They were able to move into scoring position because of a 16-yard run in which Lee was out of position, arrived late, and was blocked when he did arrive. The next drive he gave up a 10-yard dump pass.
That second touchdown drive by the Chargers was brutal for Lee. He gave up an 11-yard catch on the first play. The next play, he blitzed and Paul Guenther said he wasn’t supposed to. The result was a perfectly executed screen play with no one to stop it. It went for 34 yards and had Gordon not tripped on his blocker’s foot, it would have been a touchdown. Three plays later it was a touchdown, with Gordon punching it in right through Lee’s position.
Gareon Conley, Rashaan Melvin
The second play of the game, Melvin gave up a 17-yard catch. The next play Conley was blocked on a 16-yard run that led to a game opening field goal.
The next drive, Melvin gave up a 19-yard catch on third and four.
Early in the second quarter, the Raiders started their drive at their own 11-yard-line because Conley lost his block on the return team to get Dwayne Harris tackled as soon as he fielded the punt.
Melvin Ingram returned his interception of Derek Carr’s in the end zone to the 4-yard-line, giving the Chargers a long field. They cut that field in half on one play with Conley getting burnt for a 48-yard catch. A few plays later, Melvin gave up a 26-yard catch that put the Chargers in scoring position. They would eventually score the touchdown to run away with the game.
Arden Key, Bruce Irvin
If there was ever a game in which these two should have gone off it was this one. Both of the Chargers starting tackles were out for this game. And yet it was just another game that saw the Raiders make one sack in the first half and nothing else. Irvin was the one who got the sack, giving him 3.0 on the season. That’s great, but he joins Key here.
Irvin lands here for his boneheaded roughing the passer penalty that handed the Chargers a chance at scoring with no time left on the clock at the end of the first half. It was only a missed 48-yard field goal that kept the Chargers from being up 20-3 at the half. Just dumb.
Key also had a roughing the passer penalty. It offset a holding penalty that would have taken the Chargers out of field goal range on their first drive. He missed the tackle in Gordon’s 9-yard run to reach the one-yard line and the Chargers scored two plays later. Key also overran the play on the Chargers’ final touchdown. Rivers simply tossed the ball over his head on the screen that went 13 yards for the score.
His 91 yards receiving are some of the most useless, garbage time yards you’ll see. His biggest catch went for 47 yards after the game was out of reach. His 21-yard catch in the second quarter he fumbled away to set up the Chargers second touchdown drive off a short field. This after that horrible drop on the deep pass last week. He is just not dependable.