Raiders

Derek Carr delivers in Raiders-Chargers 'bloodbath' Coliseum finale

Derek Carr delivers in Raiders-Chargers 'bloodbath' Coliseum finale

OAKLAND -- It was everything it was billed to be. 

After all the battles the Raiders and Chargers had waged in the Coliseum over the years, their final meeting in Oakland was one worthy of the storied AFC West rivalry. 

The 4-5 Chargers entered the Coliseum on Thursday night riding a two-game winning streak and a wave of momentum after their Week 9 win over the Packers. A win over the Raiders would get them back to .500, erasing a horrid 2-5 start and setting them up for a playoff run. 

The Raiders, with playoff dreams of their own, wanted to make sure the final primetime game at the Coliseum was one to remember, one that ended with them on at 5-4 and looking at a favorable schedule the rest of the way. 

Oakland jumped out to an early 10-0 lead, but the Bolts came right back, scoring two straight touchdowns to grab a 14-10 lead and take hold of the momentum. Right before the half, quarterback Derek Carr found fullback Alec Ingold for a 9-yard touchdown to take back the lead, 17-14 at the half. 

The Raiders held the lead for the entire second half until Philip Rivers hit Austin Ekler for a 6-yard touchdown to give the Chargers a 24-20 lead with 4:02 remaining. 

Looking to snap a four-game losing streak against the Chargers, Carr drove the Raiders down the field with surgical precision, dicing up the Chargers with ease. With the ball at the LA 18-yard line, Carr handed it off to running back Josh Jacobs and the rookie did the rest, bursting through a hole on the left side and waltzing into the end zone to give the Raiders the 26-24 win

"Man, I'll say this about that game," Carr said after the win. " That was an old-school, AFC bloodbath basically. Just two defenses playing out of their mind, and we just found a way to win, you know?" 

That way to win? Carr going 3-for-4 for 44 yards while driving the Raiders 75 yards in three minutes to knock off their rival and send the Coliseum into delirium. He didn't find the end zone, but it was Carr carving up the Chargers with bullets to Hunter Renfrow and Jalen Richard with the game on the line. 

The win was important for team goals, yes. But it was even more meaningful to give the Black Hole a proper primetime send-off. 

"It's unbelievable," Carr said of the Coliseum crowd. "I love this place, it's special. Very said this is the last time, right? It's weird. I've spent more years here than I have on any team in my life. So, it becomes home, it becomes family. The smells, the atmosphere, the noises, the things you can hear, those are the memories you keep forever. 

"So we can win in front of our home crowd, it means a lot because I can only speak for myself personally, they've just given so much for this organization. I just want to see our fans happy."

[RELATED: Grading Raiders' offense, defense in win vs. Chargers]

The win put the Raiders to 5-4 with games against the Bengals and Jets on deck. They also sent the rival Chargers to 4-6, almost entirely out of the playoff picture. The final night game at the Coliseum saw Rivers run for his life, as the Raiders young pass rushers came alive. It saw safety Erik Harris record two early interceptions, including a pick-six. 

It saw Carr, in front of the crowd that watched him grow up, lead one final game-winning drive under the Coliseum lights. With the building still shaking, Gruden ran over to the Black Hole and celebrated with those who bleed silver and black. 

"No, I never think about that," Gruden said when asked if he gets worried the postgame celebrations are too wild in the Black Hole. "Every win, I'm going down there. I get face paint all over me. I get to see some costumes I have not seen before at any football games. Awesome."

Bloodbath. Awesome. Old school. 

Raiders-Chargers one final time at the Coliseum was all of that.

Why reported Darius Slay trade from Lions makes sense for Raiders

Why reported Darius Slay trade from Lions makes sense for Raiders

The Raiders were on the verge of the playoffs this past season, but their passing game took yet another step back. Besides the emergence of rookie Trayvon Mullen, the Silver and Black have plenty of question marks at cornerback as they move to Las Vegas. 

There could be help available, though. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday that the Detroit Lions have talked to multiple teams regarding a trade for their Pro Bowl cornerback, Darius Slay. 

Between need, their slew of draft picks and available cap space, the Raiders could be a perfect fit for a trade with Detroit. Let's start with how Slay would fit in the defense. 

Mullen is expected to man one side of the defensive backfield at cornerback, while the other side is a bit of a mystery. Daryl Worley is a free agent this offseason, but Nevin Lawson, Nick Nelson, Keisean Nixon and Isaiah Johnson all are options. None are Slay, though. Not even close. 

Slay, 29, made his third straight Pro Bowl Game this last season. He also was a First Team All-Pro in 2017 when he led the NFL with eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed. Since 2014, Slay has recorded at least two interceptions and 13 passes defensed every season. 

Per advanced analytics site Pro Football Focus, Slay has been the fifth-best cornerback in the game since 2014. 

The Raiders also have the draft picks to get a deal done. They own two first-round picks -- Nos. 12 and 19 -- this April, as well as three in the third round, one in the fourth and one in the seventh. They have plenty of leverage to make a move. 

Las Vegas also lands right in the middle of current available salary cap space going into next season. According to Spotrac, the Raiders have slightly over $51.5 million in salary cap space. Slay, who has a $13.4 million cap hit in 2020, wants a new contract as he's set to hit free agency after this upcoming season. 

[RELATED: Ex-Raider Nnamdi Asomugha talks about his life on Broadway]

He likely would cost more than a few extra pennies, but it's clear Slay still can be a solid corner in a division where everyone is chasing QB Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. 

The Raiders could target a cornerback early in the draft. That's not out of the question at all. If the Lions are taking calls on Slay like Schefter reported, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock would be wise to listen. 

How ex-Raiders star Nnamdi Asomugha transitioned from NFL to Broadway

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USATSI

How ex-Raiders star Nnamdi Asomugha transitioned from NFL to Broadway

Nnamdi Asomugha finds himself under a new set of bright lights. The former Raiders star cornerback, who ended his 11-year NFL career with the 49ers, now finds himself on Broadway

"I started the decade at the Pro Bowl, and I ended the decade on Broadway," Asomugha said in a recent interview with CBS' Dana Jacobson, which aired Friday. "I was like, 'This was really surreal.' This is not a dream that I ever had. And now, this is so clearly what I should be doing." 

Asomugha, now 38 years old, first dabbled in the entertainment business while still playing in the NFL. Towards the end of his career, he started working as a part-time NFL analyst when Jacobson worked at ESPN. He also did a commercial for Dick's Sporting Goods in 2009, and the director gave him words of encouragement regarding his acting skills. 

The three-time Pro Bowler said he started thinking about his post-playing career long before he was done playing football. He saw early on just how quickly your career can end. 

"You better start thinking about that long before you finish your career," Asomugha said. "I mean, I started noticing really my first year in the NFL that you can go down with an injury, your career can be over. You can get cut within moments. And then what are you gonna do?" 

The Cal product soon turned his focus to acting and producing. He said he "was a rookie again" and took acting classes.

Asomugha now has a long list of credits when looking at his IMDB page. The former football star was the executive producer for Netflix's "Beasts of No Nation" in 2015, and he starred in Amazon's "Crown Heights" in 2017.

But it was the Broadway stage where Asomugha found his true calling. He felt the same kind of rush he did on the football field when he made his Broadway debut in the award-winning "A Soldier's Play" earlier in February.

"They announce you, everyone's cheering," Asomugha recalled. "I kind of ran on to the stage and began our work. And I remember at that moment just being like, 'This is where I'm supposed to be.' ... That's football, isn't it? It's live. You don't get a second take, you better get it right.

"I developed that muscle so much, I'm at my best when I'm in the fire."

[RELATED: Why Raiders signing Brady could make sense for both sides]

Asomugha finished his football career after playing three games for the 49ers in 2013. He then retired as a Raider in December of that same year. And though he has found his new calling, he admits he misses the game that first brought him so much joy.

"That was a great time," Asomugha said. "Football is definitely my first love. Now finding this world in entertainment through acting and producing -- I didn't think I would love something as much as I did, but I'm so grateful now that I do."