The Raiders trailed 20-3 in the third quarter, but had moved to a first-and-goal on the Chargers’ 1-yard line. With a touchdown, Oakland could be back in the game with plenty of time left.
Would they hand it off to hard-running back Marshawn Lynch? Not a chance.
Instead, quarterback Derek Carr threw an interception in the end zone and the Chargers immediately marched the length of the field for a touchdown.
Though the Chargers dominated from the outset, that key swing in the second half was huge as the Raiders lost to the Los Angeles Chargers in Carson at the Home Depot Center Sunday afternoon, 26-10, to fall to 1-4 this season.
The Raiders, coming off a 45-42 overtime victory over the Browns last week, couldn’t keep the momentum rolling in an AFC West matchup. The Raiders turned the ball over twice – both leading to Chargers touchdowns – and never got anything going consistently on offense in a lackluster performance in Southern California. In the second half, with a big deficit, head coach Jon Gruden never spurred the Raiders’ offense to a faster pace, when time was crucial. Instead, the Raiders looked sluggish and ineffective until finally scoring a late TD (and then not recovering an onside kick).
Playing without left guard Kelechi Osemele and right tackle Donald Penn, the offensive line had trouble opening holes for Lynch and his mates, who managed just 41 yards on the ground.
Carr, meanwhile, was 24-of-33 for 268 yards and a touchdown, as well as his eighth interception in five games. As Josh Dubow of the Associated Press noted, too, Carr has thrown five of those interceptions on first-down plays -- a particularly painful stat. Wide receiver Amari Cooper fell out of the game plan once again, with just one catch for 10 yards.
Veteran Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was terrific, completing 22 of his 27 throws for 339 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.
The Raiders will fly to England this week to play the Seahawks Sunday. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. (Pacific).