Final Oakland Raider Grades @ San Diego Chargers; Week 15:
San Diego Chargers 16 (5-9)
Oakland Raiders 19 (11-3)
A black hole in San Diego? For one Sunday, yes there was.
For the first time in social media history, people could post that the Oakland Raiders were in the playoffs and be right. In what some in the San Diego media called, “The darkest hour in Chargers football history”, Oakland fans took over Qualcomm Stadium pretty much sealing the fate of the Chargers future playing in San Diego. Even with a handful of delusional young Charger fans; and a even a few young Raider fans who just like to argue; trying to convince me there wasn’t that many Raiders fans in attendance, it was obvious this was a black out. It is now impossible to think San Diego will have a football team in the near future which is sad unto itself. I think with all of the politics, losing and moving talk, San Diego is done with the Chargers. Below is a video that shows how the Raider turnout demoralized the Charger players and even the media!
Philip Rivers and the Chargers have had a history of 4th quarter and second half fails and this was another one. Rivers is a good quarterback but when they say he’s great I shake my head. No he is not great.
Rivers also was disgusted and discouraged after the game. “This was like a road game. We had to use a silent count”. The Chargers went 21 minutes to end the game without scoring.
Carr came alive in the 2nd half again with 2 great throws zipping them across the field in tight coverage. He also had a nice pass to Crabtree for his only TD. Carr struggled at times though with the occasional pass rush again. He never really seemed to feel comfortable all game. He stared down his receiver in a terrible red zone interception and again had an off day.
Carr should have an easier time of it next week with a weak Colts defense, but to be honest the Chargers DB’s aren’t that good either. Carr was 19 for 30 for 213 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception. The Chargers sacked him twice and did a fairly good job at making him uncomfortable in the pocket. Saying that I think Derek will come back strong against the Colts.
The Raiders OL dominated at times and the run game was churning again. Murray, Richard and Washington combined for 145 yards on the ground with Murray leading the way with 81 yards. For the second straight week though, the RB’s were not a big part of the passing game. Murray’s fumble deep in Chargers territory can’t happen. Part of the lack of pass production was picking up blitzes from the Chargers but some wasn’t.
Another solid game from this unit. I would like to see them more in the passing game though.
The Raiders did well in the run game and did good in the passing game. The Chargers did get 2 sacks though and even though they didn’t get to Carr often, they made him feel somewhat uncomfortable at times.
A solid game from these guys but not the dominating performance in pass protection that has been the trademark of the Raiders OL. Carr goes as well as these guys go so their level of play needs to get better next week. They have spoiled Carr and Raider fans and have had a great year. Look for a good game against Indy.
The WR’s had a quiet day with only Michael Crabtree standing out. He made an amazing catch to keep his feet in bounds for a touchdown and was solid most of the day. Not much from anyone else though. Amari Cooper caught one electrifying long pass and run but that was it.
Carr was struggling but it was still a disappointing day against a bad and beat up defensive backfield.
Overall a good game. The Raiders struggled a little early with San Diego using a quicker passing game, but in the 4th when the Chargers seemed to abandon it, the Raiders put good pressure on Rivers and stopped the run. The final drive with Rivers looking deep downfield, the Raiders pass rush gobbled him up.
A solid game from this unit. Denico Autry had a sack and 2 tackles for loss and had an overall good game. Mack was quiet until the last quarter and Bruce Irvin had one of his better games as a Raiders.
What has been a weakness for the Raiders all year, the LB’s came out and played well against the Chargers. Perry Riley Jr. had a key strip late and caused a fumble and they were fairly good in coverage.
One of this unit’s better games.
Sean Smith was beaten by 5 yards deep for the long touchdown to Travis Benjamin. He also played too deep at the goal line allowing another TD on a slant to Hunter Henry. Dontrelle Inman also caught 5 passes for 68 yards. The Raiders DB’s have struggled against the long ball all year. Fast WR that can go long have been their weakness. Overall they did not play a bad game, especially in the second half. David Amerson had two jarring tackles on crossing patterns.
Another long pass for a touchdown but overall not a bad game from this unit; not a great one either.
First the Chargers. I think head coach Mike McCoy must think they get 6 time outs a half; he uses them up like candy. Also he abandoned the quick passing game and they fell into the hands of the Raiders pass rush, especially on the last drive. Just not getting what is going on in San Diego with their play calling especially in the 2nd half of games.
The Raiders I felt should have run the ball a lot more. The Chargers could not stop the run and their soft DB’s literally seemed to be avoiding blocks in the first half. Del Rio won a challenge on a spot play which helped get a first down.
Give the Chargers credit; they did have a nice goal line stand and stopped Murray on a 3rd and short but the Raiders got 145 yards on the ground and should have run more.
Janikowski was perfect and King was ok, struggling at times to punt inside the 20. The coverage team was good and the return game didn’t do much.
A solid day from this unit.
Raiders should celebrate for a day and then get back to work which I think they will. This defense doesn’t scare anyone though and still rank 27th in passing, 29th in yards per catch, 27th in sacks, and 25th in run defense. And they aren’t playing offenses like Pittsburgh, New England and Dallas. Still lots of work to do. A good gutsy win in front of a lot of Raider fans was a site to behold.
Next Week the Indianapolis Colts:
With the Patriots final 2 games being against the Jets and a Dolphins team that will probably be without their starting QB, they look to be the first seed team in the AFC. If that happens it’s important for the Raiders to keep winning and that won’t be easy.
Next week the Raiders host the Colts. Andrew Luck has been on fire and they’ve actually begun protecting him some. Their OL has struggled all year at times being a sieve, and their defense has struggled more.
Indy’s defense has been bad. They are 28th against the pass and 21st against the run. They have an average pass rush (17th in the league).
On offense their OL is ranked 29th in sacks and Andrew Luck has been running for his life most of the year. Look for Mack and Irvin to have a big day. Indy does a lot of 5 and 7 step drop passes and that should give the Raiders enough time to get to Luck. Luck is a gun slinger and will take chances so 1-2 picks is my best bet. Don’t underestimate him though. Even with a bad offensive line he can carve up any defense in the NFL. The Colts on paper don’t look to be a great team but they are dangerous and are still in the playoff hunt in a fairly weak division.
The Raiders match up well against Indy and I see a high scoring affair with Indy not being able to stop the Raiders and the Raiders occasionally shutting down Indy’s offense. It should be a good day for Oakland in the friendly confines of the Coliseum. Raiders are in for a dog fight and can’t take anyone lightly. Then on to the cold in Denver.
The Raiders ended a drought that was the worst stretch of win/loss football in the history of the NFL. Those that stood by the Oakland Raiders deserve to savor this. The lows were very, very low. The terrible drafts that some fans tried to defend; the crazy coaching hires that some fans said would bring them back; and the bad free agent signings are all a thing of the past. Those that have endured the pain for years can finally smile. Those that used to pretend, can now be real and look at the truth again. Oakland is in the playoffs.
It’s imperative that the Raiders win out the rest of the way. Winning on the road twice in the playoffs in possible cold weather would be quite a chore.
And the Raider luck or magic; depending on what you believe; continued in 6F weather in Kansas City. In a game that the Chiefs seemed to be looking ahead to Denver, they were stunned by the Tennessee Titans. Alex Smith disappeared in the second half just like in the Raiders game, and this helped Tennessee get back into it.
Titans kicker Ryan Succup; a former Chief; missed a last second 53 yard kick so the Chiefs win, right? Wrong; Head Coach Andy Reid called a time out right before the kick allowing Succup to readjust and kick the winning field goal as time ran out. A 53 yarder in 6F weather. Wow! This allows the Raiders to have first place in the AFC West all to themselves.
Some fans always complain about front running fans when a team starts winning and yes, people come out of the woodwork to get on the band wagon; especially younger fans. Just look at the Warriors. So bandwagon fans if you jump on board make sure to get drinks and food for the regulars first. It’s about seniority.
It was a nice come from behind win in San Diego that shores up a spot in the post season. Raider fans invaded a stadium like no other fan base I’ve ever seen. And for the first time in social media history, Oakland fans aren’t being laughed at for crazy predictions or hope of the post season. They don’t have to talk of the past; it’s the present.
You may see some Raider fans pinching themselves today, but don’t judge them. They just wan’t to make sure it’s not a dream. They’ve been through a lot to get here.