Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' Week 7 win over Chargers
Raiders match 2014 win total
The Raiders beat the host San Diego Chargers 37-29 on Sunday afternoon in a contest that was never that close. Takeaways and steady scoring helped the Silver and Black jump out to an early lead they never let go. The Raiders offense scored on seven straight possessions and played strong pass defense after controlling the Chargers run game. It’s well documented Raiders fans took over Qualcomm Stadium and turned this road site into a home game, but the Raiders gave their faithful plenty to cheer about...
5) Pass defense improving
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers had 336 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders. Those totals normally spell trouble and suggest more of the same for one of the league’s worst pass defenses. Sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story. Most of Rivers’ totals came in garbage time. The Raiders pass defense controlled the veteran quarterback early on, forcing errant throws and costly turnovers. The secondary was strong, as was the interior pressure and linebacker coverage. That’s a step in the right direction for a maligned group.
4) Don’t forget about Derek
There was so much focus on young skill players like Amari Cooper, Clive Walford and Latavius Murray that quarterback Derek Carr got somewhat lost in the shuffle. He was efficient and steadily productive, with 289 yards, three touchdowns, no picks and a 137.7 passer rating. Carr found an early rhythm and maintained it with precise passing. These performances are becoming standard, which prevents them from standing out. Plain and simple, he gave those around him opportunities to shine.
3) Cooper’s something special
Amari Cooper put on a show in San Diego, with five receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. His 52-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown was spectacular, something surely replayed on social media and highlight shows. Cooper has shown an ability to make big plays from nothing, and go get deep balls in the air. Weakness is hard to come by with this kid, who has made some top-flight plays in his young career.
2) Raiders respond after bye
The Silver and Black lost two tough contests heading into the bye week. They missed a pair of opportunities to win games and start 4-1, creating frustration among the players and coaches alike. Head coach Jack Del Rio’s staff used the bye effectively and put an improved product on the field. It’s clear that Del Rio’s message is getting through, the staff is making adjustments and that the head man’s coaching style is starting to pay dividends.
1) Closer to a complete game
The Raiders flashed strong play intermittently over the first five games. On Sunday, they played excellent football for three straight quarters in all three phases. Then the fourth quarter happened. The Chargers scored 23 unanswered points, and cut the deficit to eight points. That margin came in waning moments, not good enough after the Raiders built a massive lead. Del Rio will push for four quarters of good football now, keeping the unit motivated heading into next week’s game against the New York Jets.