CARSON – The Raiders finally won a game last week. It was a nail biter for sure, when the Raiders finally finished strong.
Turns out that game was an individual entity, not something that kick started a season.
The encore might've been the Raiders' worst performance to date, and eventually became a 26-10 loss at StubHub! Center
The Raiders proved deficient in every phase, and got flat beat by a good Chargers team.
Here are three quick takeaways from this result:
Blown out by the better team
The Raiders played four close games with only one victory to show for it. They hung tough against all comers, including an L.A. Rams team that is a bonafide juggernaut. They blew second-half leads in each one, but struggled to finish strong.
That wasn't the case on Sunday. The Raiders got blown out by a superior team, and were unable to bridge the talent gap clear in most contests.
The Raiders went down 20-3 late in the third quarter, dominated on most fronts by an explosive offense and a defense making do with Joey Bosa.
The season's in peril – not that expectations were high to begin with – at 1-4 with a trip to London next week. Things could get worse before they get better, especially if the Raiders keep making similar mistakes from week to week.
Big plays still a big problem
Plays of 20 yards or more have plagued the Raiders all season. They cost the Raiders a win in Denver, again in Miami and made the Browns showdown close well into overtime.
That has frustrated defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to no end, and he has vowed to fix the problem. One issue: he might not have enough defensive talent to stem the tide. He definitely doesn't have enough speed on the second level to prevent significant yards after the catch.
The Silver and Black gave up three 20-plus plays in the first half alone, with countless chunk plays that didn't quite reach the mark.
The unit can be effective at times, forcing three-and-outs on a regular basis. Lapses have proven costly, and make life hard on the Raiders offense.
The Raiders were down 17 points in the third quarter, but used a nice length-of-the-field drive to set up an ideal scoring chance. They had a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, and chose a playaction pass that was intercepted.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has thrown three interceptions in the end zone over the first five games. That's as costly as it gets, and put this game to sleep at the start of the fourth quarter.
Carr's throw was ill advised. There's no doubt about that. Lee Smith was the primary target and never open up, so Carr threw across his body for Derek Carrier, who was covered well. He never saw Melvin Ingram, who picked it easily.
Mistakes happen. That one was on Carr. But one has to wonder why Marshawn Lynch doesn't get the football three times from the 1-yard line. The veteran running back was visibly upset after the turnover. Faking to throw his helmet after the play.
Carr has thrown picks in the end zone against the Rams, Dolphins and Chargers now, which hurts a team that can't afford mistakes like that.