If the Raiders hope to win in San Diego Sunday, they’re going to need to do what they did in their first meeting this season, a 31-28 Chargers victory:
Throw the ball downfield.
In that first meeting on Oct. 12, Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr completed 18 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns. That’s an average of 15.6 yards per completion.
Among those plays were a 77-yard strike to Andre Holmes and a 47-yarder to Brice Butler.
But since that Oakland game, the Raiders offense has been committed more to dinks and dunks than bombs. In last week’s loss to the Broncos, for instance, Carr threw 31 passes that went just 5 yards or less, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Carr also had some success two weeks after the Chargers game against the Browns, throwing for a career-high 328 yards, but on almost twice as many completions (34). Over the past two games, losses to Seattle and Denver, Carr has 54 completions in 88 attempts – a respectable 61 percent – but that figures to just 7.1 yards per catch.
As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com noted this week, it’s a must for the Oakland offense to open things up.
“Unless the Raiders show they can succeed with the long ball – they need to try it early in the game to establish a presence – San Diego will control this game on defense,” he wrote.
Though the Raiders are 0-9, this week Carr was upbeat in talking about the rematch with San Diego. He said he couldn’t recall ever playing the same team twice in one season, so this will be a first for him and he sees a positive to it.
“One thing you know is their personnel,” he told reporters Wednesday. “You’ve played against them, you’ve seen them.”
For the Raiders, too, this might be the best shot to come up with a victory this season. The Chargers have been banged up and have lost three straight to fall to 5-4. San Diego is coming off a bye week after being hammered in Miami by the Dolphins 37-0 on Nov. 2.
The Raiders’ losing streak is up to 15 games, dating to November of last year. Oakland would like to avoid becoming just the second team to go 0-16. They still are four consecutive losses away from the franchise record of 19 consecutive losses by the Raiders of 1961-62.