OAKLAND – The Raiders were mired in a three game losing streak heading into Sunday’s AFC West clash with the Chargers. Something had to change.
Head coach Jack Del Rio knew it. And had no problem saying it out loud.
“We need (a win) pretty bad,” Del Rio said. “If there’s a desperation meter, we want it pretty bad.”
The Raiders had to turn things around, with margin for error rapidly heading for zero.
Desire was there. Execution, however, was not.
The Raiders lost another one marked with a ‘W’ on paper, losing 17-16 to the Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Coliseum.
Now they’re in last place in a tough division, with a few days to rebound for a Thursday night game against Kansas City.
The difference, on the score line at least, was Giorgio Taveccho’s missed extra point. Jon Condo sent in a high snap and Marquette King had to rush the hold, and Tavecchio couldn’t put it through.
Derek Carr was okay in his return from a back injury. He completed 21-of-30 passes for 171 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
The Raiders had a chance to put it away on offense, with up two points with roughly six minutes remaining. They went three and out.
The Chargers marched downfield and set up Nick Novak’s 32-yard field goal when time expired.
Defense kept the Raiders in this game early.
Carr’s first pass was intercepted, but the defense held strong and forced a field goal attempt that was missed.
They were strong on third down all day, forced a turnover on downs in the first half.
Carr threw a second pick that ended a long drive without points, but Dexter McDonald forced a fumble and David Amerson got it back.
That held a 10-7 halftime lead into the fourth quarter, with a game in the balance late.
Michael Crabtree’s 23-yard touchdown catch and run opened the scoring and was the Raiders lone offensive highlight. It capped an 11-play drive dominated by Marshawn Lynch’s tough running and short passes, a strategy that didn’t hold strong.
Giorgio Tavecchio ended the first half with a 44-yard field goal. He remains perfect on the year.
Things got tense late. Melvin Gordon – who killed the Raiders as a receiver – scored his second touchdown of the day with a 6-yard screen pass. That put the Chargers up for a bit.
Cordarrelle Patterson responded with a 47-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep where he turned the corner, found space and hit the afterburners to score a vital touchdown. Tavecchio missed the extra point, which put the Raiders up two at 16-14.
Marshawn movin’ well:Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was efficient against a lackluster L.A. run defense, fighting through tackles to set a positive early tone.
He finished with 63 yards on 13 carries, his best performance of the year since the season-opener.
Cooper rets record: Receiver Amari Cooper had four catches for 23 yards in his previous four games. He had 25 yards in two-plus quarters Sunday against the Chargers.
His fourth catch also put him in rarified air. It was the 173rd of his career, more than any Raider over his first three seasons. Running back Marcus Allen previously held that record.
The Raiders got Cooper involved early, with some short passes aimed his way. He finished with five catches for 28 yards, though holding negated a 31-yard strike down the right sideline.
Carr’s return: Raiders starting quarterback missed but one game with a transverse process fracture in his back. His return didn’t start well. Trevor Williams intercepted his first pass, but the Chargers didn’t turn the mistake into points.
He led some successful drives, and ultimately completed 21-of-30 passes for one touchdown and two interceptions.
He wasn’t perfect. Carr seemed off target at times, and struggled working the ball downfield.