Let’s look what some keys to the game as the Raiders suffered their first loss of the season, dropping to 3-1:
Poor start: After coming back from 14-0 deficits in Week 1 and Week 3 to win, Las Vegas tried to go one further as it was losing 21-0 at halftime. Yes, they cut the Chargers lead to 21-14, but the three-touchdown hole was too much for Las Vegas to recover from. The post-game theme in Jon Gruden and Derek Carr’s pressers Monday night was about the team having to fix their early-game issues. The Raiders have not scored on their first possession of the game for 10 straight games. It must be a point of emphasis this week as the Raiders prepare to host Chicago on Sunday.
Couldn’t run: The Chargers entered the game with the NFL’s worst ranked run defense, allowing 170 yards a game on the ground. Yet, they shut down Las Vegas’ ground game. The Raiders had just 48 yards rushing on 18 carries. Starter Josh Jacobs, who played for the first time since Week 1, didn’t look to be 100 percent. He had 40 yards rushing on 13 carries and has 74 rushing yards on 23 carries in 2021. Backup running back Peyton Barber hurt his foot and had one carry. The Raiders are ranked 31st in the NFL in yards per carry. This needs to change.
Couldn’t stop the run: Meanwhile, the Chargers ran the ball down the Raiders’ throats. They sealed the win in the fourth quarter by just grinding down the clock on the ground. Chargers’ running back Austin Ekeler had 168 yards on the ground and averaged 4.9 yards a carry. The Raiders defense has some good things going for it, but if you can’t stop the run, it’s an issue.
Cornerbacks get ravaged by injuries: Raiders’ cornerbacks Casey Hayward (undisclosed), Trayvon Mullen (foot), Damon Arnette (groin) and Nate Hobbs (concussion) all got hurt. That’s a big problem if some of these injuries linger. This will be a storyline this week.
Chargers are really good: On paper, this game looked like the Raiders’ toughest test of the season so far and it turned out that way. The Chargers are 3-1 and no fluke. They have wins over the Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. Barring major injuries, this unit, will stick around all season. The Raiders host Los Angeles in the regular-season finale January 9.
And, wow, look what Joey Bosa said about Carr. This will be interesting.
Joey Bosa on Carr: "We knew once we hit him a few times, he really gets shook. And you saw on (Covington's) sack, he was pretty much curling into a ball before we even got back there. Great dude, great player...but we know once you get pressure on him, he kind of shuts down."— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) October 5, 2021