Facing their AFC West rivals, the Oakland Raiders’ Week 10 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers perhaps held more weight than any other game so far this season. Both teams are in the mix for a playoff spot, so it was essentially a must-win for Oakland if they wanted it to stay that way.
It wasn’t easy, but the Raiders eventually came away with a 26-24 come-from-behind victory to move to 5-4 on the season.
The Raiders pass rush played a strong factor in the Chargers’ first drive. Phillip Rivers was sacked and eventually threw an interception recovered by Erik Harris for 59 yards. Maxx Crosby was key to putting pressure on Rivers, being partially responsible for the sack and quarterback hit.
The defense made up for more than any misgivings the offense had on the next drive after recording a pick-six. Once again, pressure by Crosby led to Harris’s second interception of the night and the Raiders took a 10-0 lead.
The Chargers offense was finally about to find some success against thanks to nice runs by Melvin Gordon.
Rivers only threw the ball a handful of times on the drive, but Gordon continued to break through the Raiders’ defense. After being forced to a third down with just one yard to go, Rivers connected with tight end Hunter Henry on the first offensive touchdown on the night to cut the lead to 10-7.
The Raiders offense also continued to struggle, converting on just one first down with less than half of the second quarter remaining. As has been the case for many Raiders games, penalties plagued the offense. Heading into this game, the Raiders led the league with 640 penalty yards on 69 penalties, six fewer than the Cleveland Browns’ league-high of 75. Their unfortunate trend continued against Los Angeles, racking up seven before the half ended.
Gordon continued to absolutely tear up the Raiders’ defense to finish out the half as he had 88 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown by the time the next drive was completed, giving the Chargers a 14-10 lead.
Oakland got one last try at it before the half ended and they were finally able to find some offensive success. Short passes propelled the team downfield, eventually being capped off by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Alec Ingold to take a 17-14 lead into the locker room.
The Raiders offense came out in the second half looking much like they did to finish the first. They were taking and converting on deep throws, as compared to the beginning of the first half where they were hardly on the field. Unfortunately, that success did not translate to a touchdown as Carlson came out and drilled a 22-yard attempt, giving the team a 20-14 lead.
It became a battle of the defenses from there as the two teams exchanged a few punts. Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs had 10 carries through three quarters of play but was unable to make much happen, totaling just 33 rushing yards.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Chargers offense finally ignited to end the third quarter. They traveled 74 yards on just six plays, all just to be stopped by the superb Raiders defense. Forcing a fourth-and-long, Los Angeles settled for a field goal to bring the score 20-17 in favor of the Raiders.
Oakland’s offense has been on a roll as of late, but that came to a halt in this one. After another punt to start the fourth, the Chargers put together a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that took 8:05 of precious time off the clock.
Rivers connected with Austin Ekeler for the touchdown, putting the Raiders in a 24-20 hole with four minutes left in the game.
Carr stayed composed though as he looked to put together a game-winning drive. As was the case last week, Jalen Richard was a big part of it, catching some big passes. It was Jacobs that scored though, taking it in from 18 yards out to give the Raiders a 26-24 lead with a minute remaining.
Carlson missed the extra point, so the Chargers had an opportunity to win it with a field goal. The defense came up with one last stop though, forcing a turnover on an interception by Karl Joseph to seal the victory.