SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Chargers kicked a third quarter field goal to establish a 10-point lead. Might as well have been a 100.
The Raiders offense was that bad. The Raiders’ attack couldn’t do much of anything in a 13-6 loss to the Chargers on Sunday afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium, though a late fourth-quarter surge produced some drama. It was an effort made in vain, as the Raiders dropped to 0-10 this season.
It also marked the team’s 16th straight loss, a full season’s worth of sorrow spread out over two campaigns. The Raiders’ last victory came on Nov. 17, 2013, meaning it’ll be more than a year between victories.
That’s a wide gap for a long-suffering fan base desperate for anything positive.
The Raiders offense floundered in a tough game to watch. They went 3-and-out with shocking regularity. The running game struggled, receivers failed to get consistent separation and quarterback Derek Carr looked out of sync. You could call that business as usual these days, but Sunday was somehow worse.
It also wasted possibly the team’s best defensive effort this season. The Raiders were generally strong on third down, stout on interior runs, and created enough pressure to disrupt Philip Rivers’ rhythm.
Antonio Smith and Charles Woodson were particularly effective. DJ Hayden was no slouch. Khalil Mack finally got his first sack.
The Raiders’ only touchdown allowed came after Carr fumbled a snap he wasn’t ready to receive. The Chargers scored a touchdown two plays later, but scored only field goals after that.
The offense showed some late life, per their custom. The Raiders first reached the red zone with a 35-yard reception by Kenbrell Thompkins, which set up a Sebastian Janikowski field goal to make it 13-6.
The Chargers extended the ensuing drive long enough to eliminate a comeback attempt. The biggest play came on 3rd-and-2 with tight end Antonio Gates securing a first-down catch that Woodson nearly intercepted.
False start: The Raiders screwed up the game’s first play. Quarterback Derek Carr tried to delay the snap to account for a late blitzer, but center Stefen Wisniewski didn’t get the message. He snapped the ball when Carr was approaching the line to call new signals. He clanked off Carr’s hand and the Chargers recovered.
Rivers threw a 22-yard pass to Malcom Floyd to plays later to put the Raiders in an early hole.
Three-and-out too often: The Raiders offense struggled yet again against the Chargers, with dismal showings in the first half especially. They went 3-and-out four times and had a turnover in the first half alone, when they amassed 90 yards and three first downs.
It didn’t get much better in the second half. The Raiders had six 3-and-outs on the day.
Field position troubles: Chargers punter Mike Scifres put the Raiders in a bad spot all game long. The Raiders started inside their own 10-yard line four times, a real detriment to an offense sputtering to produce. Scifres also pinned the Raiders back to their own 12-yard line with a minute to go and the game on the line.
Murray sighting: Raiders running back Latavius Murray didn’t get many opportunities to play through nine games. He got a few carries in the third quarter that sparked a moribund offense. He ran for 14 yards and then 23, the team’s first 20-plus run by a running back this season.
All told, Murray had four carries for 43 yards. That was better than Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew combined, who had 12 rushes for 27 yards between them.
Sitting it out: The Raiders were happy to include cornerback TJ Carrie and defensive end Justin Tuck in the lineup.
They didn’t have the services of quarterback Matt McGloin, cornerback Carlos Rogers, safety Jonathan Dowling, receiver Vincent Brown, guard Gabe Jackson, tight end David Ausberry and guard Tony Bergstrom, who were ruled inactive before Sunday’s game.
What's next: The Raiders have no time to rest this week. The play the Kansas City Chiefs at home on Thursday night. The Chiefs are on a roll. They’ve won five straight, including a 24-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.