Raiders vs. Chargers: Recap (With Vine Highlights)


In their first game under interim head coach Tony Sparano, the Oakland Raiders fell to 0-5 in a game that came down to the wire. The Raiders went score for score with the San Diego Chargers, but a few too many mistakes caused the potential win to slip away.

The Raiders’ offense came out firing, scoring on a 77-yard pass from Derek Carr to Andre Holmes on the first drive of the game, which was also Oakland’s longest gain of the season. Unfortunately, the Chargers answered quickly with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Eddie Royal.

Both Holmes and Royal created good separation on their respective touchdowns. Holmes burned a very good cornerback in Brandon Flowers for his score and was off to the races from there, while Royal had a step on Carlos Rogers and Usama Young was late coming to help. Credit to Rivers for the throw on the money and Royal who hung on the ball after contact. Vines of each play are below.

The Raiders’ front four did a decent job of pressuring Rivers most of the day, but had trouble finishing plays. The unit didn’t register a sack on the day. Oakland’s defense again had trouble getting off the field on third down. The Chargers were 8-14 on third down conversions.  Before the game, Oakland had surrendered a 50 percent conversion rate on third downs.

Carr’s arm talent was on full display in the loss, but he did not get much help from his receivers. At halftime, the Raiders’ pass-catchers had an astounding five drops, all of which Carr hit his man directly in the hands.

Carr’s line ended up being 18-for-34 for 282 yards, four TD’s and one interception. Carr was brilliant most of the day and the Raiders’ offense looked dangerous for the first time all year, and would have been even better if not for the drops. Coming into the game, the Chargers had the seventh ranked defense in the NFL, but Carr played by far his best game of the season and was the biggest reason why the Raiders were in this one until the end.

The unsung heroes of the game were the offensive line. Carr had plenty of time to throw most of the day, which allowed him to go through reads and find open receivers. No sacks were registered for San Diego’s defense. Coach Sparano has down a great job with this unit.

The next set of scoring plays were similar for each team. Rivers found Malcolm Floyd wide open on a slant route for a score and Carr followed up with a laser to James Jones on a slant route for the Raiders’ next touchdown. The Jones touchdown tied the game at 14-14, and the Raiders had a chance to go up 17-14 at halftime, but Janikowski missed a yard attempt to end the half. This missed field goal would prove to be fatal for Oakland.

The Raiders caught a break thanks to a holding call on what was a converted 54-yard field goal. The Chargers were forced to punt because of this but opted for a fake instead. The ball was directly snapped to Eric Weddle, but his pass down the sideline sailed out of bounds, and the Raiders took over at midfield.

Oakland capitalized in a big way, scoring on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Brice Butler, which was Butler’s first career touchdown. It was 3rd & 1, and Carr hit Butler for a short pass, who turned on the after-burners and blew by everyone on his way to the endzone. The scoring play gave Oakland the lead, 21-14.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as the Chargers scored on the next drive. Gates was open on a slant route in the endzone, which was the second time Miles Burris was exploited in coverage for a score. Tie game – 21 to 21.

The Raiders’ secondary had an up and down day. Rogers was often beat in coverage and Tarell Brown made some nice plays but also gave up several. The same can be said for Young and Brandian Ross. T.J. Carrie was the best player in the Raiders’ secondary, making several big pass breakups and also was solid in run support. Carrie had his best game as a pro so far and should seriously be considered to replace Rogers on a full-time basis.

After a heavy dose of Darren McFadden, the Raiders were again in position to score, and Carr delivered his 4th touchdown pass of the day, this time on a rollout pass to Holmes in the corner of the endzone, which was Holmes’ second visit to pay dirt.

On the next drive, Brown made his best defensive play of the game in which he broke up a pass in the endzone, forcing the Chargers to settle for a field goal. 28-24, Raiders.

This gave Carr and the offense the ball back with more than five minutes left on the clock, but a short drive with an intentional grounding gave San Diego the ball back in less than a minute of game time.

Oakland’s rush defense, which ranked last in the NFL coming into the game, had another bad day. No big plays were given up, but Branden Oliver ended up with 101 yards on 26 carries. When the Raiders needed a stop, the Chargers went to the run game and Oakland couldn’t do anything to stop it. The Chargers punched one into the endzone to take a 31-28 lead with less than two minutes to go.

The offense was just outside of field goal range on the ensuing drive, but Carr threw a deep pass up to Butler, who lost the jump ball opportunity to

Jason Verrett

. Verrett made an incredible play to come down with the interception and managed to keep both feet in bounds. Again, Carr was outstanding most of the day, but this throw was a bad decision. Another short throw or two and Oakland would have been in field goal range with the opportunity to tie the game.

Next week, the Raiders host the Arizona Cardinals.