Three quick takeaways from Raiders' 26-10 loss to Chargers


Three quick takeaways from Raiders' 26-10 loss to Chargers


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 turnaround.

The encore might’ve been the Raiders’ worst performance to date, and eventually became a 26-10 loss to the Chargers on Sunday at StubHub Center.

The Raiders proved deficient in every phase, and were 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 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 Sunday. The Raiders were blown out by a superior team and couldn't 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 without 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

Allowing plays of 20 yards or more have plagued the Raiders all season. They cost the Raiders a win in Denver and again in Miami, and they made last week's 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 defense 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.

Ill-timed turnovers

The Raiders were down 17 points in the third quarter, but they 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 play-action 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 his latest red-zone pick 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 opened up, so Carr threw across his body for Derek Carrier, who was covered well. He never saw Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram, who easily picked off the pass.

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 now has thrown picks in the end zone against the Rams, Dolphins and Chargers, which hurts a Raiders team that can’t afford mistakes like that.

Raiders-Bengals injury report: Interior offensive line in bad shape


Raiders-Bengals injury report: Interior offensive line in bad shape

ALAMEDA – The Raiders offensive line has a huge problem heading into Sunday’s game at Cincinnati. Both offensive guard spots have been decimated by injury.

Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson missed Wednesday’s practice with injury, and it’s possible both missed the Bengals game. Chief backup at both guard spots and center Jon Feliciano is now on injured reserve.

That doesn’t leave much flanking center Rodney Hudson, which is why Denver Kirkland and Cameron Hunt were signed. Hunt was brought in to be the backup center.

Kirkland will join Denzelle Good and Chaz Green in the mix to play guard if their frontline starters remain out.

“I know that both (Osemele and Jackson) are as tough as they come and if there’s a will, there’s a way,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “They have the will, I know that. We’ll just hope for the best. Like we’ve done at other positions on offense, we’ll have to rally around the next guy up.”

Gruden also lauded Jackson’s and Feliciano’s toughness, for finishing the game-winning drive against Pittsburgh despite significant injuries. Feliciano could barely walk down the stretch, and Jackson refused to burn a timeout late to give him time to recover from tremendous elbow pain.

The interior line, by far the line’s strength, is in bad shape and the Raiders must find ways to handle that setback against a tough Bengals front.

“It will be very challenging, especially against a good defense,” Carr said. “Their front, obviously we know they got good players. It just is what it is this year. Guys are hurt, guys are leaving the building and we are getting new guys in. It’s next man up, but just the mentality that coach Gruden and I have together is, however it unfolds we are going to give Cincinnati our best shot.”

Raiders practice report

Did not practice
G Gabe Jackson (elbow/ankle)
LG Kelechi Osemele (toe)
LB Kyle Wilber (hamstring)

Limited practice
C Rodney Hudson (ankle, knee)
DL Maurice Hurst (ankle)
WR Dwayne Harris (foot)
FB Keith Smith (calf)
CB Daryl Worley (shoulder)

Full practice
CB Gareon Conley (groin)

Bengals practice report

Did not practice
LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion)
DE Michael Johnson (concussion)
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle)

Limited practice
OT Clint Boling (knee)
OT Cordy Glenn (back)
CB Tony McRae (concussion)
CB KeiVarae (finger)

Full practice
QB Jeff Driskel (right shoulder)
WR Alex Erickson (shoulder)

Mark Davis weighing 'all options' for Raiders' 2019 home after Oakland sues


Mark Davis weighing 'all options' for Raiders' 2019 home after Oakland sues

The Raiders were a focal point of Wednesday's events at the NFL winter owners meetings in Dallas.

The 2020 NFL Draft was awarded to Las Vegas in the team’s first year there. The Raiders also were attached to a strengthened Rooney Rule after many questioned whether the team ignored the spirit (and letter) of that law when hiring coach Jon Gruden last winter.

But the most pressing concern for the Raiders and their fans is where the team will play in 2019. The Raiders' lease with the Oakland Coliseum expires after this season, and a federal antitrust and breach-of-contract lawsuit levied Tuesday by the City of Oakland puts the team’s plans for next year up in the air.

“We do not have any answer on where we’re going to play next year,” team president Marc Badain told reporters Wednesday, via Pro Football Talk. “We made an offer of $7.5 million in rent to the city, and that’s now off the table. We have a number of options, and when we have an answer we’ll share it with you.”

The Raiders don’t have forever to decide. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a press conference that NFL schedulers would need to know where the Raiders will call their 2019 home in “early January, February.”

The Raiders always have preferred to remain in Oakland until their new Las Vegas stadium is scheduled to open in 2020, but they're starting to look into contingency plans once this lawsuit was approved by Oakland’s city council in early September.

Owner Mark Davis also spoke at the NFL meetings in Dallas, and said, “all options are open,” to where the Raiders will play in 2019. He was specifically asked about San Diego, Levi’s Stadium and other locales including in Nevada -- he doesn’t love San Antonio’s Alamodome turf -- and wouldn’t eliminate any on spec.

Davis wouldn’t even shut the door on Oakland despite pulling the latest Coliseum lease offer off the table.

“Emotionally, I don’t want to pay for my own lawsuit,” Davis said. “But, for the fans, that’s something I’ve got to think about.”