Despite all the talk of how encouraging the season opener was for the Raiders, or all the positive signs, they still lost. Ballers & Busters should do well to call attention to the positive signs while pointing to how it all went wrong.
DE Maxx Crosby
No sacks, sure. But a lot of that had to do with just how elusive Justin Herbert can be. Crosby still got plenty of pressure and was stout against the run as well.
His run-stopping prowess showed up on the first drive in which he made two stops and got in the backfield to help lead to a stop on a third play and the Chargers would end up settling for a field goal.
The second Chargers possession was a three-and-out with Crosby getting pressure on first down to force a short completion and then teamed up to make the stop on third and short for no gain.
On the next drive, he had a couple more tackles and another pressure and the drive after that he ended when he teams up to make the stop on fourth down for no gain and a turnover on downs.
The first drive of the third quarter had Crosby all over it, getting two pressures and a QB hit to force an incompletion, but despite his efforts, the Chargers still scored.
To begin the fourth quarter, he started off a three-and-out with a run stuff. And the next drive he made a tackle for loss and the Chargers would miss a 49-yard field goal attempt to keep the game within reach late.
The offense would get back in the end zone to pull it to a five-point game. All the defense needed to do was stop the Chargers to give them a chance. They did just that, with Crosby making the tackle on a three-yard catch on second down of a three-and-out.
So, yeah, no sacks but Crosby finished second on the team in tackles (10) and added two QB hits and a tackle for loss.
WR Davante Adams
Quite the debut for the All-Pro receiver. He was every bit as advertised, making the first catch of the day and putting up 54 yards on three catches on the first drive alone.
The first pass of the third quarter went to Adams as well as did the second pass with Adams breaking wide open and taking the catch for 41 yards and the Raiders scored their first TD three plays later.
With the fourth quarter winding down, the Raiders were in first and goal at the three. Carr went to Adams on the fade, but overthrew it. Then he threw for Adams along the goal on the right. The pass was wide right, but Adams showed off his insane reach to extend to pluck it out of the air for the touchdown.
Adams finished with 10 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. Nice introduction to the Raider Nation.
CB Nate Hobbs
The final big play of the day for the Raiders to give them a chance to make the comeback came from Hobbs. In third-and-three, Hobbs swatted down a pass over the middle intended for Mike Williams and the Chargers went three-and-out.
That was just the final play for Hobbs, who was all over the place in this one. On a play on the first drive, he shot into the backfield to make a tackle for loss. He did it again early in the second quarter. And a few plays later, he put his helmet into the ball on a tackle to force the fumble that unfortunately went out of bounds.
The Chargers would score on that drive, with Hobbs giving them a first and goal because he hit Justin Herbert on his slide. But that was an extremely tough play to gauge because Herbert hesitated on his slide and Hobbs had already committed.
Hobbs would finish third on the team with nine tackles, adding two tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a forced fumble.
C Andre James, G Dylan Parham — The ground game for the Raiders picked up late in this game and these two had a good deal to do with that.
QB Derek Carr
Every time it seemed like the Raiders might make something happen, things would fall short or fall apart. Their first drive looked great and the connection between Carr and Davante Adams was off to a great start. But in goal-to-go, Carr would throw too high for Adams and then behind Darren Waller and they would settle for a field goal. And a collective ‘here we go again’ for a team that had long had red zone issues.
The Raiders would get the ball with 1:38 left in the second quarter. On the first play, Carr held onto the ball too long and was sacked. The next play he threw over the middle for Darren Waller only to have Drue Tranquill pick it off. Now instead of the Raiders scoring before the half, the Chargers did, driving for a touchdown in two plays.
Down 17-3 to start the third quarter, Carr finally put together a touchdown drive, finishing it off with a nifty pass over the shoulder of Brandon Bolden for the score. But the Chargers answered with a touchdown drive of their own to bring it back to a two-score game.
An 11-point deficit to begin the 4th quarter is very doable. But it got less and less possible with every possession.
Two big completions put the Raiders in Chargers’ territory. Then Carr saw Adams break open deep and threw for him. The pass fell short and was picked off by Asante Samuel Jr who wasn’t even covering Adams but had time to swoop over and get it.
The Raiders’ defense held and Carr came back out and on the second play threw another interception. Carr and the Raiders caught a break with the missing a field goal to keep things in reach.
With some timely tough running by Josh Jacobs and Carr’s best pass of the day for 31 yards to Darren Waller, they were in first and goal. A play later, Carr’s buddy Davante would do him a solid by stretching out to snag his pass for a touchdown. But down five, they needed to go for two and Carr’s pass for Hunter Renfrow was broken up in the back of the end zone.
After the defense once again stepped up to give Carr another shot, this time he couldn’t capitalize. On third-and-three, he held the ball too long and was sacked, fumbling the ball which John Simpson recovered. On fourth-and-eight, he was sacked again and fumbled again. Not that it would have mattered if the fumble lost because it was a turnover regardless. And a game-ending one at that.
S Tre’von Moehrig
The Chargers’ first touchdown drive featured two big catches back-to-back. Both had Moehrig not in position to make the stop. The same was the case on their second touchdown with Herbert fitting the pass in right between Moehrig and Divine Deablo for the score.
Moehrig wouldn’t break up any passes or have coverage on any incompletions and had just two tackles.
RT Jermaine Eluemunor, LT Kolton Miller
The Raiders gave up six sacks in this game, five of which were on Derek Carr. That doesn’t mean Eluemunor and Miller were to blame for those sacks, in fact, most of them were not their fault. Two of them were mainly due to Carr holding onto the ball too long.
Then again, it’s not always about sacks. On the first drive, Eluemunor gave up a pressure that led to a dump-off that was stopped for one yard. And a couple of drives later, Khalil Mack bull-rushed him back into Carr’s lap and sacked him.
Late in the first quarter, Carr held onto it a bit too long and Mack got the inside on Miller to get the sack.
After pulling to within five on a late touchdown, the Raiders went for two to try and make it a three-point game. Their attempt would move out to the six-yard line after Eluemunor was jumped earlier and was called for a false start.
On the next drive, the Raiders found themselves in fourth and eight and Miller gave up the sack by Mack again. His third of the game and the Raiders’ hopes ended there.