Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 26-24 win vs. Chargers


Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 26-24 win vs. Chargers

OAKLAND – The Raiders won their second tense close contest in five days, showing great poise under pressure while surging into the thick of the playoff chase with a 26-24 win over the Chargers on Thursday night.

The Raiders are typically reliant on a steady ground game to control games, but their beleaguered defense came through in a big way with quarterback pressure and key takeaways.

Winning a different way showed impressive in-game resilience, a quality vital to a team trying to secure a playoff spot.

Nobody wants to talk about the postseason right now and rightfully so, focusing instead on another job well done. The Raiders found a way to win a pressure-packed affair against a division rival. That’s what mattered most on Thursday night as the Silver and Black won their second straight game and moved to 5-4 as we move into the season’s second half.

Here’s how the team graded out in our Week 10 Raiders report card:

Rushing offense

The Raiders posted their lowest rushing total of the year on Thursday night, with 78 yards on 21 carries. That number was inflated by a game-winning 18-yard touchdown run by Josh Jacobs, who was averaging just 3.0 yards per carry before that. Jacobs and the typically reliable rushing operation fell on some hard times against a tough Chargers defensive front intent to make Derek Carr beat them through the air.

It wasn’t a great effort, with some odd play calls – DeAndre Washington’s shotgun run on 3rd-and-short was baffling – but the ground game came through when it mattered most.

Rodney Hudson and Alex Ingold sealed off the one side, Richie Incognito locked down the left and Jacobs ran to the end zone untouched to set victory in motion. Still, it wasn’t a great day overall for what’s typically a team strength.

Grade: C-minus

Passing offense

The Chargers pass rush is hard to handle, and Raiders had some setbacks in protection. Carr was sacked three times but did well to evade other pressure and make plays on the run. Carr’s numbers were OK for tough sledding, completing 21 of 31 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown to Ingold.

The most important stat: Zero interceptions for a third straight game. Taking care of the football is vital in close games, and Carr has done an excellent job of that.

Grade: C-plus

Rushing defense

The Raiders run defense is typically solid, but Melvin Gordon gave them fits. The feature back had 108 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, frequently spinning out of tackles near the line of scrimmage. It seemed like the Chargers could’ve been successful running every time, but kept the offense balanced despite that.

Scat back Austin Ekeler was just OK on the ground, with six carries for 19 yards. The Raiders only had a seven-man rotation up front and are always thin at linebacker, but they’d say they should’ve done better, even against a talented back like Gordon.

Grade: C-minus

Pass defense

We all know Erik Harris gets a game ball. He had two interceptions and another negated by penalty that had no impact on the play. Karl Joseph had a pick to seal it, and another lost to a flag. This wasn’t all about the secondary, however.

The Raiders pass rush was ferocious behind rookies Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby and veteran situational pass rusher Benson Mayowa. The Raiders sacked Philip Rivers five times, hit him five more times and forced him into game-changing mistakes. The pass defense normally gets poor marks. Not so on Thursday night. That group was awesome in both rush and coverage.

Case in point: The Chargers threw the ball eight times with a minute left, needing just a field goal to win it. They completed zero passes and gained zero yards. The Raiders certainly hope Joseph and Lamarcus Joyner recover quickly from injuries suffered in this game.

Grade: A-plus

Special teams

Daniel Carlson missed an extra point after the Raiders went ahead with a minute left. The mistake meant the Chargers could’ve won it with a field goal. That huge mistake could’ve cost the Raiders the game. He’s lucky it didn’t.

Grade: F

[RELATED: Carr delivers in Raiders' win over Chargers]


These Raiders are tough. They faced adversity from a quality opponent and never folded. They gave up a late lead, snatched it right back with Derek Carr’s 18th fourth-quarter comeback and the defense made it stand. They won outside their comfort zone, which might be the most impressive part of this whole affair.

That’s a credit to veteran leadership and excellent coaching. Jon Gruden and Paul Guenther did excellent work creating a game plan and adjusting to what didn’t work. That kept these Raiders right in the playoff hunt.

Grade: A

Why Bill Belichick will miss Oakland Coliseum after Raiders' finale

Why Bill Belichick will miss Oakland Coliseum after Raiders' finale

It’s no secret that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn’t a man of many words.

When it comes to his press conferences, answers don’t tend to extend longer than a sentence or two.

But when the six-time Super Bowl champion coach was asked about the Raiders playing their final game at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday, the famously tight-lipped coach opined on the soon-to-be-former home of the Silver and Black.

“Pretty intense fans. It’s like Halloween every Sunday there,” Belichick said to reporters Friday. “So, yeah. I mean, it’s a great environment.

“When I was with the Broncos, of course we played out there, so that was – especially at that time in ’78, if I get that right – I’m pretty sure the Broncos won the division that year. We were right there with the Raiders. It was the Raiders-Broncos. It was a very intense rivalry, so there was a lot of – there was the game, and then there was all the other aspects of the game.

“But, yeah, the Oakland crowd was a lot more intense than the L.A. crowd, and we’ll miss it. We’ll miss it.”

One thing the legendary coach won’t miss is the iconic Black Hole.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Davis discusses end of Raiders' Oakland era]

“I think we kind of warmed up down there, so it’s not really where you want to be as a visiting coach,” Belichick said. “Tell the players not to stand too close to them in case they throw something and miss.”

The Raiders will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in their finale in front of the Oakland crowd on Sunday, as the team will officially move its operations to Las Vegas before the 2020 season.

Related Content from TMZ Sports

Antonio Brown rips Ben Roethlisberger in wild rant
Roger Clemens predicts Gerrit Cole will thrive with Yankees
Jarvis Landry says OBJ 'Doesn't want to leave Browns'
Dodgers' Joc Pederson squashes beef with Nick Turturo

Five Raiders to watch in Week 15: Derek Carr must raise game vs. Jaguars

Five Raiders to watch in Week 15: Derek Carr must raise game vs. Jaguars

OAKLAND -- The Raiders will play their last game at Oakland Coliseum on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It will be an emotional day for everyone involved.

That includes Jon Gruden, as attached to this East Bay fan base as anyone. The Raiders coach has shut off his emotions all week, driving focus into preparation for this game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s the last Oakland moment he can control, and Gruden plans to take advantage.

Gruden desperately wants this win, and a victory might finally provide the opportunity to be emotional about the team’s scheduled move to Las Vegas.

“I wish I had time to stand up here and thank all the fans," Gruden said earlier this week. "I wish I had more time to really sit down and make that the big story here, and thank the fans for their support over the years, and what this franchise has accomplished, and what it means and what Oakland means to the Raiders. So, I’d like to thank everyone that welcomed us back when we came back and I know that they are going to stay with us when we go, but I appreciate all the fans and their loyalty and their support. We’ll try to give you one hell of a show.”

In order to put on a showstopper, the Raiders will need good performances from these five guys.

QB Derek Carr

I generally try to leave the franchise quarterback off these lists, but we’ll make an exception for the last Raiders game in Oakland. He got booed off the field after last week’s first half and again at the end, but this fan base still has a great affinity for the signal-caller who started virtually every game since 2014.

Carr owes them his best on Sunday, and odds are great he’ll put on a show for the faithful. He must improve upon recent performances to execute his plan. Carr will need help from a so-so receiver corps and an offensive line -- Trent Brown’s questionable with a pectoral strain -- that haven’t been at full strength all season.

Emotional Derek Carr is generally the best Derek Carr -- the season opener is a great example -- so we should anticipate him being on top of his game. The Jaguars have struggled mightily this season. but they’re sure to put up a fight during the final game in Oakland.

Carr is capable of putting a team on his shoulders, and he might have to with the Raiders defense playing as it is.

RB Josh Jacobs

The Raiders don’t have much to play for. Their playoff hopes are essentially dead, with the path to the postseason now complicated calculus when it was simple math not long ago. Jacobs is this team’s offensive engine, the player who matters most in what the Raiders do moving the football.

They know that. They believe his fractured shoulder can’t get worse and are hoping to trot him out there Sunday to help win the last game in Oakland. Jacobs' play exponentially increases their chances to win, and Jacobs knows that. He desperately wants to win this game.

The rookie is expected to be active, though it’s unclear exactly how much he will play. A 20-plus carry dose should do the Jaguars in. If he can provide that, the Raiders are in great shape if the defense holds up even a little bit. If not, Sunday could well be a struggle.

CB Isaiah Johnson

There’s no telling how much the fourth-round draft pick will play Sunday. Heck, he might not play at all.

Johnson hasn’t done much since returning off injured reserve, at times a healthy scratch since being activated around midseason. He has sat behind other guys during a playoff push and that made sense, but now it doesn’t. The Raiders are essentially out of the postseason running, with cornerback Daryl Worley either out with a neck injury or moving to strong safety in the base package.

That provides an opportunity to see what Johnson’s got. He won’t be his absolute best, not after missing most of training camp and half the regular season with a facial fracture suffered in the first regular-season game. Rookies can’t make up for that lost time until the following offseason, and Johnson clearly would’ve played earlier had he not been behind.

But it’s time to throw him out there as a test, to see what you’ve got in a talented young player. If he gives up a massive play, so what? The guy has to learn on the job. That’s how Trayvon Mullen has done it, and the Clemson product has thrived despite making some rookie mistakes. It’s time to let Johnson do the same.

DE Maxx Crosby

A devout Raiders follower made a flag to hang over the Oakland Coliseum railing -- enjoy that while you can Raider Nation, the tradition isn’t following you to Las Vegas -- to honor the departing club. He featured a skull and swords as crossbones, with a name filling out the remaining fabric. It said Mad Maxx.

That honors the rookie pass rusher who has already adhered himself to the fan base with one sack and pressure after another. He has proven a better run defender than people have expected. The Silver and Black need him to step up Sunday and generate heat largely missing from recent games.

Crosby currently has 7.5 sacks and would certainly like to reach 10 in his rookie year, needing at least a sack on Sunday to make that happen and give him a chance to compete for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

WR Tyrell Williams

The veteran receiver just isn’t right. Coaches volunteered that Williams' plantar fasciitis has plagued him all season despite it keeping him out just two games in the early going.

Williams simply hasn’t produced at a No. 1 receiver level, which has hurt the offense as a whole. Drops have been a real issue, and his lack of consistent separation can be attributed to his ailing foot.

He is not even on the injury report and is expected to play, and Williams has to produce if that’s the case. He remains the team’s best receiver and has to act like in the final game played in the spot where his grandparents live, in the town where he spent so much time as a kid.