The roller coaster ride known as the Oakland Raiders 2019 season will continue for one more week. I apologize for getting this piece out in the afternoon rather than the morning, but I spent all of last night and this morning trying to wrap my head around how this team is still alive in the playoff hunt.
Four straight loses that came in extremely embarrassing fashion, and now with one week remaining you are telling me there’s a chance?
The Week 16 five-team parlay came through, and nobody was a bigger winner than the Raiders. They will need luck on their aside again in Week 17 if their minuscule playoff dreams are to come to fruition.
Before we talk anymore about Week 17, let’s first reflect back on what went down against the Chargers.
What a difference a week made for Derek Carr. After the second half collapse in the finale at the Coliseum, Raider nation let him know of their displeasure, reigning boo birds on him as he left the field. On Sunday, with his starting right tackle and running back both out, he put the team on his shoulders and led them to a must-win game.
Carr played with surgeon like precision, finishing the game 26 of 30 passing with 291 yards, a touchdown pass, adding a rushing score as well. Having come up short in recent weeks with playoff hopes in the fold, the sixth year signal caller finally delivered when his team needed it most.
You have to give him credit where it’s deserved. The fan base has been calling for his head, and deservedly so, but for this week he silenced his skeptics.
Hunter Renfrow returned after missing two games with rib and lung injuries, and he immediately picked up where he left off prior to the injury. You can see he and Carr clearly have a chemistry together and he’s developed into the most reliable option after Darren Waller.
Carr’s 56-yard touchdown strike to Renfrow on the opening drive set the tone for the game. Renfrow would finish with a career high seven catches for 107 yards.
DeAndre Washington was the workhorse in Josh Jacobs absence, carrying 23 times for 85 yards and a big third quarter touchdown Washington ran hard, and although his numbers don’t jump off the page at you, he was critical on the opening drive of the second half, which resulted in a touchdown. That drive was the turning point in this game.
The long, 13-play drive lasted nearly nine minutes, with Washington carrying the ball seven times for 32 yards. The big play was a 20-yard pass down the middle to Waller.
The defense again played quite well, especially in the first half as they forced five punts across the Chargers first seven possessions. Will Compton, who was given an opportunity last week to start, has made the most of his chance, leading the defense in tackles again with 12. The defense has been noticeably better since he was inserted into the lineup.
Clelin Ferrell, who is quietly getting hot down the stretch, had himself another good day with a sack and two tackles for loss.
The sack was a huge moment in the game, as the Chargers were trailing 24-14 with 7:24 remaining. On 2nd and 9, Ferrell got through for a sack, which resulted in a big loss and put the Chargers in an unmanageable 3rd and 20 situation.
Clelin with a huge sack on 2nd down pic.twitter.com/ASseS7MINV— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) December 22, 2019
One big concern in the game was Trayvon Mullen being taken off on a stretcher with and apparent neck injury. Mullen was beat up pretty good in the game. Earlier in the contest he was slow to get up, dealing with what looked like a stinger in the neck/shoulder area.
Keisean Nixon stepped up and filled in admirably with Mullen out. The status of Mullen will be a major question mark heading into Week 17.
One other concern has to be with the offensive line. They did not play well, particularly the right side of the line with Gabe Jackson and Brandon Parker. Parker was benched after allowing two sacks and David Sharpe finished the game.
For now, sit back and enjoy this one Raider fans. It’s been an emotional ride. You deserve it.