Chargers safety Eric Weddle dives to cradle a ball he tipped to himself, intercepting Raiders QB Matt McGloin. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
There are losses, and then there are ugly losses.
On Sunday afternoon in San Diego, the Raiders’ 26-13 defeat at the hands of the Chargers was indeed one to make Raiders fans avert their eyes.
The Raiders, who had an early 7-3 lead and were tied 10-10 at halftime, committed 12 penalties for 73 yards – many of them extending Chargers’ drives or wiping out Oakland gains – again missed numerous tackles on defense and also went three-and-out on their only two drives of the third quarter when San Diego controlled the clock and the football to take a 20-10 lead.
The Raiders even were given three Chargers turnovers, yet couldn’t come up with a second victory over San Diego this season.
Nothing went right for the Raiders in the third quarter with the game still in reach. First, San Diego took a 17-10 lead on a Philip Rivers to Keen Allen touchdown pass – a drive fueled by a taunting penalty on cornerback Mike Jenkins. A few minutes later, after a Chargers field goal, Greg Jenkins fumbled the ball away on a kickoff return that led to another field goal to start the fourth quarter.
In that final quarter, the Raiders showed more life, first driving for a Sebastian Janikowski field goal, and then appearing to score a touchdown on a long Matt McGloin pass to Rod Streater. But the ball slipped away from Streater as he rolled over in the end zone, and officials ruled it was not a touchdown. Then, with less than a minute remaining in the game and Oakland still down by 13, fullback Marcel Reece dropped what would have been a touchdown pass – an ugly end to an ugly day.
McGloin completed 20-of-36 throws (but was victimized by several drops) for 206 yards, no TDs and one interception. The Raiders rushed for just 59 yards and compiled just 265 total yards.
The loss drops the Raiders to 4-11 with just one game remaining, against visiting Denver this coming Sunday. It also no doubt turns up the heat on the conversation about whether head coach Dennis Allen – closing out his second season – will get a third.
The victory by the 8-7 Chargers, meanwhile, keeps their playoff hopes alive.