Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over San Diego Chargers

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Oct 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) loses a fumble that is recovered by Chicago Bears defensive end Sam Acho (49) in the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Eliminate the Costly Mistakes

The Raiders are currently sitting at 2-3 on the season, but could very, very easily have been 4-1. If not for a couple of miscues in the last two weeks, the Raiders could have very well been sharing a slice of the AFC West division lead with Denver.

Against the Bears, it was Latavius Murray’s inability to hold on to the ball. His botched catch on a short swing pass that turned into a Pernell McPhee interception led to a Chicago field goal as the defense stiffened and kept them out of the endzone. Later in the game, Murray dropped a simple pitch, a fumble that Chicago recovered, killing off a drive that could have potentially produced the game wining points.

Against Denver in week five, it was not one, but two missed field goals from the usually incredibly reliable Sebastian Janikowski, as well as a blown pass by Derek Carr that resulted in a pick-six by Broncos cornerback Chris Harris that produced the game winning points for Denver.

In each of the last two games, the Raiders were not outplayed by either team. They were in a position to win both games. But it was untimely and very costly mistakes – bad turnovers, bad penalties, blown field goals – that led to the Raiders falling below .500, being three full games behind the Broncos, and being in a position that they must beat the Chargers or their chance at an AFC West title goes from very difficult to nearly impossible.

Next: Raiders At a Critical Point In Season

Oakland is playing very solid football. They’re a far better team than most believed they would be before the season started – yeah, how does that taste, Stephen A. Smith?

If they can eliminate those really bad mistakes, and continue playing solid football – and getting better every week – Oakland may be able to close the gap with Denver and make a real run a the postseason. All they need to do is stop beating themselves.