Chargers vs Raiders: Here are five keys to the game heading into Sunday’s clash between the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers. The San Diego Chargers take on the Oakland Raiders in Week 5 of NFL action.The Chargers–Raiders rivalry is a rivalry between the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland ….. Jump up ^ “Boxscore finder: Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders vs San Diego Chargers”. Pro-Football-Reference. June 16, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014 …
The Raiders, despite a treacherous 0-3 start, have a chance to climb out of last place in the AFC West with a win against the Chargers on Sunday.
Last time the Raiders visited StubHub Center, they lost by 20 and fired their head coach in the bowels of the stadium shortly after the game.Safe to say Jon Gruden is hoping for better fortunes this time around.
Let’s have a look at three things you’ll want to watch for when the Raiders and Chargers square up for a 1:05 p.m. kickoff on Sunday in Southern California.According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Raiders will start a rookie at both left tackle and right tackle for the first time since at least the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
First-rounder Kolton Miller and third-rounder Brandon Parker will start against a Chargers team, probably much to the Raiders’ delight, without star defensive end Joey Bosa (but still with elite pass-rusher Melvin Ingram).
Miller has impressed all season after the Raiders took him 15th overall in April (he’s played every offensive snap), and Parker provided reason for optimism in his first 57 NFL offensive snaps in place of the injured Donald Penn against the Browns. Penn, after leaving last Sunday’s game early with a groin injury after playing 35 snaps, was placed on injured reserve this week. Despite several other right tackles on the roster, Gruden said Parker will be the guy.Some piled on the Raiders, a team clearly still in need of defensive playmakers, for taking two offensive tackles with their first three picks in the draft. Now that decision doesn’t seem so ill-advised after all.“You don’t feel like you have two rookies because they’re so talented but at the end of the day, they are,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It’s something that we have to do a good job with helping those guys out.”
And without Bosa, the Chargers haven’t generated nearly enough pressure (tied for 22nd in the league with eight sacks) as their head coach would like.
“We haven’t won enough one-on-ones to be honest with you,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “People have given Melvin Ingram a lot of attention, as they should, and it’s freed some guys to go in on the backside and we just haven’t got it done. We’ll make adjustments and we’ll create pressure different ways.”As the Associated Press’ Josh Dubow pointed out on Twitter, the Raiders are allowing 6.79 yards per play this season and no team since the 1970 merger has allowed that many in a single season.
Of course, the Raiders aren’t literally allowing almost seven yards on every play, rather it’s a handful of much longer plays increasing that average. Limiting big plays is priority No. 1 for Paul Guenther’s defense.
“Most of the big plays we’ve given up, we have guys right at the point of attack,” Guenther said ” … To me, if a guy gets through the line, an NFL safety is supposed to stop after 12 yards. We have to do a good job of hemming that up and not letting it get out.”
Against the Browns, the Raiders allowed touchdown runs of 41 and 63 yards. They surrendered a 49-yard touchdown pass a 59-yard catch-and-run to set up another touchdown. Safeties Reggie Nelson, Erik Harris and Marcus Gilchrist, along with cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin and Gareon Conley, just might not be fast enough to prevent those big plays from happening.
Against the Chargers, who boast speedy receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and dynamic running back Melvin Gordon, surrendering large chunks of grass at once will be even harder to prevent.
So Paul, is your defensive backfield even fast enough to plug up these big plays?
“Well we got what we got, so we have to do the best job with what we got right now,” Guenther said. “I think we can. I think if we can just diagnosis the play a little bit sooner. I told the guys the margin of error for us is very minimal.”At 32 years old, Beast Mode is slowing no signs of aging.
Through four games this year, he ranks fourth in the NFL with 300 rushing yards. Last season, he didn’t pick up his 300th yard until Week 9. Lynch also has more receiving yards this season than in his first 10 games last year.
Lynch ran 20 times (his biggest workload this season) for 130 yards against the Browns, his highest single-game total since Nov. 9, 2014, when he ran for 140 yards as a Seahawk against the Giants. If the refs hadn’t prematurely blown dead a Lynch run down the sideline he would’ve tallied almost 200 rushing yards and a touchdown, which Lynch already has three of in 2018.
“If that’s not a Hall of Fame back, I don’t know what is,” Gruden said. “Honestly.”
Lynch is running with the same reckless abandon as he always has, plowing over defenders both bigger and smaller and extracting every possible yard out of every single run. So far this season he’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry, boosted by a 6.5 YPC average last week, which is higher than his career average of 4.3.It’s exactly the kind of fury the Raiders need to revive their season. If they’re able to climb out of this hole, it’ll be behind the legs of Lynch.
“I’ve know about Marshawn. I’ve covered Marshawn. I’ve seen Marshawn play and practice live,” Gruden said. “You watched an 0-3 football team the other day, how much it meant to him. He’s just a great competitor. I think he’s a Hall of Fame back without a doubt. He can catch it. He can run it. He plays with passion. Practices with passion. He’s a great player. I’m happy to be here with him.”