Programming note: Watch Raiders Press Conference Live with Tony Sparano today at 2:00 p.m. on CSN California, or streaming live right here.
The Raiders weren’t looking for silver linings after Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
That’s a good thing.
Tony Sparano understands that winning is everything in the NFL. He also knows that there were moments to build on in this practice week.
Here are a few positives to take from yet another disappointing result:
1. Raiders open up the offense: The Raiders did some intense self-scouting during the Week 5 bye and determined that the passing game needed to open up some and take advantage of quarterback Derek Carr’s strong arm.
That certainly happened on Sunday, when the Raiders connected on several big plays downfield.
Carr entered the game with 5.5 yards per pass attempt, the lowest among NFL starters. He ratcheted things up with some explosive plays beyond 20 yards, which in turn opened up some room for the ground game.
It also showcased Carr’s true talent in his best game of this early season.
He made accurate throws all over the field and spread the ball to eight different receivers.
The Raiders ultimately came up short, but the game plan was sound and the play calling spurned production.
[RELATED: Carr 'keeps getting better and better']
2. Running game kicks in: The Raiders entered Sunday’s game ranked dead last in rushing offense.
They didn’t play that way against the Chargers.
The offensive line opened holes on the inside and Darren McFadden crashed through them in his best effort since Week 2 of last season. He had 80 yards on 14 carries, and remains a big-play threat in the defense’s second level.
Maurice Jones-Drew was a solid accent piece – probably could’ve taken more carries – with 30 yards on four rushes.
3. Offensive line continues solid play: The Raiders offensive line has given up just four sacks in five games. Carr has only been dropped three times, and was never sacked on Sunday. That’s a positive considering how much better he is when protected well.
The interior line opened up holes for the running game and really asserted itself as the game’s dominant force. They controlled tempo and rarely got beat by the Chargers front seven. There were a few plays the line wants back, but the front five can lead a stout offense with a bit more consistency.