January 20, 2018

From First To Worst

Week six matched the Raiders up with the Los Angeles Chargers.  After dropping three straight games, the Raiders were in a must win situation against a team with a 1-4 record.  Well, things didn’t get off to a good start as Carr threw an interception on the second play of the game.  It looked like Carr and Crabtree weren’t on the same page.  That is highly unusual.  But the Chargers missed a field goal attempt so there was no harm done there.

But as this game wore on, I was becoming more and more frustrated.  Just about every pass was a screen or a short pass across the middle.  I always thought Carr liked to go deep.  Instead, it looked like the offense they ran when Rich Gannon was the quarterback 20 years ago.  Carr did hook up with Crabtree for a 23-yard touchdown.  That was his longest completion of the game.  Crabtree led the team in receptions with six and yards with 52.  Carr completed 21 of 30 passes for 171 yards and was picked off twice.  We also had an Amari Cooper sighting.  He caught five passes for a whopping 28 yards.

The ground game did see some success as Marshawn Lynch led the way with 63 yards on 13 carries.  Why only 13 carries?  He’s a workhorse and should get a minimum of 20 carries.  He was averaging nearly five yards every time he touched the ball.  Patterson also got a few carries and took one of them to the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown.  All totaled, the Raiders rushed for 109 yards on 22 carries.

T.J. Carrie had himself a good game.  He led the team in solo tackles with seven and knocked down two passes.  The Chargers like to run lots of crossing routes.  Rivers is good at hitting his receiver in stride and those short throws can go for long gains.  That didn’t happen in this game.  Almost immediately after a receiver caught a pass, Carrie would be there to make the stop.  That’s the good part.  The bad part is they have gone six games without an interception and Rivers was sacked only once.  There was ample pressure and they threw in a few blitzes as well.  Still, Rivers had a good day as he completed 25 of 36 passes for 268 yards and one touchdown.

The one player the Raiders couldn’t stop was Melvin Gordon.  He rushed for 83 yards on 23 carries and scored one touchdown.  He also caught nine passes for 67 yards.  He was definitely the go to guy in this game.  Speaking of the game, the Raiders had a 10-7 lead at halftime and that was definitely not enough to get a win.  When the second half started, the Raiders put together a nice time consuming drive.  But on second and seven from the Los Angeles 15, Carr was picked off again.  The pass hit Lynch in the hands, but he couldn’t control it and the ball bounced into the hands of linebacker Hayes Pullard.

I am going to fast forward to the fourth quarter.  After Patterson gave the Raiders the lead, they set up for the extra point.  The snap from long snapper Jon Condo was very high.  King managed to catch it and put it down.  But the timing was off and Tavecchio missed it wide left.  With eight minutes to go, the Raiders had a narrow 16-14 lead.  The defense did a great job and forced the Chargers to punt on their next possession.  That gave the Raiders the ball with six minutes remaining.

It was time to kill the clock.  Run the ball with Lynch, Richard and Washington and put this game on ice!  That’s what I wanted them to do.  It certainly made sense.  Well, you can’t always get what you want.  An illegal formation penalty moved them back five yards.  So?  Run the damn ball!  Lynch got a carry on first down for three yards.  That was followed by an incomplete pass to Cook.  There sure was a lot of contact between Cook and the defender while the ball was in the air!  But like usual, the zebras were blind to the obvious and no flag was thrown.

On third and 12 guess what they did?  Did Carr throw a perfect pass to Crabtree for a first down?  No.  He completed a short pass to Crabtree who lateraled the ball to Patterson.  Wow! That sure was fancy!  It’s too bad you ended up two yards short of the freaking marker!  This was idiocy in its finest fashion!  They took a grand total of 1:59 off the clock.  King got off a nice punt and the Chargers would take over at their eight-yard line.

All the defense had to do was get one stop.  Stop the Chargers here and you win 16-14.  But on first down, tight end Hunter Henry got loose and hauled in a pass for a gain of 34 yards.  If Henry had more speed, that play may have been a 92-yard touchdown.  Henry caught another pass and Gordon ate up the clock as the Chargers moved down the field.  With three seconds to go, Novak made a 32-yard field goal attempt and that gave the Chargers a 17-16 win.  The loss dropped the Raiders to 2-4.  In just four short weeks, the Raiders have gone from first place in the division to last place.  Congratulations!  Job horribly done!

This loss infuriated the living hell out of me.  There were so many things wrong.  First, what’s up with offensive coordinator Todd Downing?  Why did he change the offense?  If it’s not broken, don’t try and “fix” it to satisfy your needs.  What’s with the zone blocking scheme?  All these short passes aren’t working.  They need to go back to what they were doing in 2016.  You know why?  BECAUSE IT WORKED!!!

As for the defense, it’s the same old garbage.  Players were out of position in crucial situations.  They couldn’t stop the Chargers in third and long situations and they couldn’t get to the quarterback.  They signed NaVorro Bowman yesterday.  Maybe that will help.  What also would help is if some of the draft picks would contribute.  Conley missed another game and I am hoping Melifonwu will be back pretty soon after having knee surgery.  Up next is a home game against the Chiefs on Thursday night.  Forgive me if I don’t sound too confident that the Raiders will win.  If they keep doing what they’ve been doing the past four weeks, the Chiefs will win by 28 points.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

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