By Shawn S. Lealos
The Oakland Raiders had little to play for in their final game of the 2017 NFL season—besides pride and a chance to eliminate any playoff hopes for the Los Angeles Chargers. But when all was said and done, the Raiders lost their 10th game of the season and will enter the offseason with major questions about 2018. The loss was a lopsided 30-10 defeat that emphasized everything that Oakland has struggled with over the season.
After almost winning the NFL MVP in 2016 before falling to injury, Derek Carr struggled to an end of the 2017 NFL season. He has problems with his accuracy and scoring this season and this final game was no different. Carr threw one touchdown and an interception while getting sacked twice and throwing for 243 yards. Carr also fumbled once, costing his team two turnovers in the game.
It did help to get his top target—Amari Cooper—back, as he finished with 115 yards on three receptions and the only score of the game. Michael Crabtree struggled with only two receptions for 17 yards. Seth Roberts has also risen to a legitimate receiver, with five receptions for 48 yards.
The biggest signing of the 2017 offseason was when the Raiders brought Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. Lynch carried the ball 19 times in this game for 101 yards. While Lynch struggled when the season started, he finished strong, with 434 rushing yards in the final five games of the season. However, Lynch hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown in the last three games and this might be a one-and-done return for Lynch.
After much-improved play over the last few weeks, the Raiders defense regressed against the Los Angeles Chargers. Philip Rivers carved up the Raiders secondary, throwing for 387 yards and three touchdowns. Navorro Bowman and Bruce Irvin combined for one sack, but that was the only time the Raiders reached Rivers in this game. Bowman was the star of the Raiders defense in this game with 13 tackles, eight of them solo. The Raiders didn’t force a turnover in the game, while their offense lost two.
Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin combined for 229 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and the Raiders couldn’t stop the passing game at all. The Chargers also ran for 115 yards, with Melvin Gordon racing for 93 on his own. This was a game where the Raiders defense failed in every area.
Special Teams: A
Giorgio Tavecchio only had two chances to score in the game, both in the second quarter. He hit his only point after attempt and kicked a 40-yard field goal. Punter Marquette King only trotted out to punt three times, averaging 45 yards a punt, putting one inside the 20. The Chargers never had a chance to return any kickoff or punt.
The Oakland Raiders fired head coach Jack Del Rio after three seasons. Last year, Del Rio had the Raiders lined up for a big playoff run, but an injury to Derek Carr damaged those plans. This season, Del Rio came in and had his Raiders in line for a big year, but made personnel changes before the season started, changing offensive coordinators. That was a bad move as the Raiders couldn’t do anything this year on offense. Furthermore, he kept a defensive coordinator that struggled the year before and fired him last month. The fall of the Raiders led to his termination and this game was a huge example of his struggles on both sides of the ball.
The Oakland Raiders’ 6-10 season has ended and with it, so has the job of their head coach. Now, the search is on for a new head coach and the future for Oakland is up in the air. Right now, the rumor is that the Raiders are planning on bringing back Jon Gruden. This offseason has more questions than answers.