Chargers vs Raiders – more than just a win at stake.

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West / AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

The Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) took a short trip up the coast to face the Oakland Raiders (4-4) for Thursday Night Football. While both teams will tell you that it is just another game, the loser of this match up faces a serious uphill climb to stay in the playoff race.

These teams know each other well. The divisional match up has brought Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to more times than we care to count, but this is a different Raiders team. While the Chargers have struggled this year, this game was going to be a test for the normally dominant Chargers.

The first series of the game brought some fireworks. The Chargers had the ball for the first series. There was an almost interception by Raiders safety Karl Joseph.  To Los Angeles’s pure luck, the refs had called pass interference on the play and the drive continued. Then following a play that was challenged Gruden, the Raiders did get that interception, a badly overthrown pass that was picked by S Eric Harris. The Raiders got a field goal off the turnover.

And on the next series… picked again. Rivers throws it right to Harris again, who this time runs it back for a touchdown. With just 6 minutes left in the first quarter, of the 5 passes thrown by Rivers, 2 were picked off.

That was quite an impressive first couple of series. Things settled down a bit after that.

The rest of the first half was marked by penalties, mostly by the Raiders, including one that invalidated another pick. The Chargers offense finally started to click, getting 2 touchdowns in 4 minutes. At the half, the Chargers trailed 14-17.

The third quarter brought a pair of field goals, one for each team, but it was the defense who outshined the offense for both teams. Stout defensive play calling held both teams out of the end zones. Both Rivers and Raiders QB Derek Carr were running for their lives, with each defense getting multiple sacks.

Los Angeles had a nice 65-yard drive in the fourth quarter, taking over 8 minutes off the clock, ending with a touchdown. This left  Oakland 4 minutes to take back the lead. It only took 3 of the 4 minutes to accomplish, as rookie running back Josh Jacobs ran in the go-ahead touchdown. However, the extra point was missed, making it just a 2 point game. That left 1 minute left for the Chargers offense to at least get down the field for a field goal. But it wasn’t to be.

Final score: Raiders 26 – Chargers 24

This game had great moments. There is a lot that both teams need to work on (Hello penalties) but both defenses were on fire. This was a divisional battle between two teams who really needed this win. With the Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) getting QB Patrick Mahomes back, it will be quite the task to pull the Chiefs out of the top spot in the division. However, the Chiefs have shown they can be beaten, so this divisional win by the Raiders keeps them right in the mix.

This was the last scheduled prime time game in Oakland. Next season they will be playing in Las Vegas. The fans at this game came to show the world that Oakland fans shouldn’t be dismissed. They were loud and impacted the game. I think we all know the atmosphere won’t be the same in Las Vegas. Huge props to you, Oakland fans.

Next up for the Chargers (4-6), they will host the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. As for Oakland (5-4), they will host the zero win Cincinnati Bengals.

 

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