The Raiders put up a great fight against the Chargers on Monday night in hopes of ending an 11-game losing streak to San Diego stretching back to the 2003-04 season. For 57-minutes of the game, the Raiders were in line to pull off the upset. The Raiders dominated the game on defense holding the Chargers to 74-yards in the first half. The Raiders stopped the pass, contained LaDainian Tomlinson, and established an effective running tandem with McFadden & Bush. The game had the makings of a great upset from the start.
Led by newly acquired defensive lineman Richard Seymour, the Raiders defense contained the potent San Diego offense for the first three quarters until the final stand when the Raiders dropped the safeties and linebackers into prevent, and allowed Phillip Rivers and the Chargers to a final 79-yard game winning drive.
Despite the loss, the Raiders played a solid game and video highlights for the game can be found at the NFL Network.
Last season, the Raiders finished 5-12, and lost games to Miami, Buffalo, and Kansas City in similar fashion by playing a soft in the final minutes of the game. Perhaps, it’s time for the Raiders to believe in themselves and trust their players to do the right thing. Sure playing the team in prevent may be the safe route, but after the first three quarters, trust your players enough to allow them to play the same way they have all game; overpowering. Instead, playing back on the Chargers, Rivers and co. found numerous holes in the Raider defense that were non-existent earlier in the game.
The Raiders walked away Monday night with a very disappointing loss to open the season (though Cincinnati and Buffalo walked away with much tougher to bear late minute losses). But all-in-all, the Raiders showed lots of promise. The wide receiving core as well as Jamarcus Russell’s inexperience showed, but the Raiders defense and run game are the real deal.
So long as the team focuses around what they’re built for, the Raiders can potentially still pull out a solid 7-8 win season.
Next week, the Raiders take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead. Let’s get a win boys.
- Richard Seymour arrived in Oakland and started the game without participating in a single full practice. Seymour didn’t disappoint, contributing to a Raiders run defense that held both Tomlinson and Sproles to a combined 77-yards on the ground. Seymour also sacked Chargers QB Philip Rivers twice in the first half.
- Raiders return man specialist and slot receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins took a hard hit in the 4th quarter on a 3rd and long play and is questionable for week 2 with a shoulder injury.
- Rookie WR Louis Murphy caught a 4th-down 57-yard touchdown pass (first TD in his career) late in the game after having a TD catch overturned by officials earlier in the game.
- Raiders first round draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey had 0-catches in a night where Raiders receivers only made 5 receptions.