What are the main takeaways we learned from the Chargers’ Week 13 loss to the Raiders?
The Chargers were defeated 27-20 by the Raiders in Week 13 at Allegiant Stadium.
Here are five takeaways from the Chargers’ sixth loss of the season:
Raiders’ pass rush was a handful for the Chargers’ pieced together offensive line
The Chargers entered the game without center Corey Linsley, who was out with a concussion and right tackle Trey Pipkins, who was out with an MCL sprain. As a result, the Raiders’ pass rush got to Justin Herbert early and often.
Will Clapp got the start at center as did Foster Sarell at right tackle. However, it was clear that without Linsley and Pipkins holding down their starting spots, the protection was a mess.
“Yeah, it was tough out there. The rush was coming,” Staley said of the pressure getting to Herbert. “They had a lot of different designer looks. They brought a lot of cover zero tonight. There was a lot of different personnel groupings in there. There was a lot of people in there and I thought that we were good at times and then at times, a little bit leaky.”
The Raiders had 14 quarterback hits on Herbert and sacked him five times. Chandler Jones, who entered the game with 0.5 a sack, produced a season-high five quarterback hits and three sacks.”
After the game, Herbert offered praise to Clapp and Sarell for stepping in despite the outcome being a rough one.
“They did a great job of battling,” Herbert said. “It’s never easy going up against a front seven like that. They’re very talented, they’re very well coached on that side of the ball and it was a tough day for us.”
The third quarter that changed the game
When the Chargers came out of halftime, they led by three points and were receiving the ball to start the second half. But as the Chargers attempted to pad their lead, things took a turn for the worse.
Running back Austin Ekeler fumbled on the second play in the third quarter as the Raiders recovered the ball. One play later, Las Vegas cashed in on a 31-yard touchdown to Devante Adams.
“I’m thinking about the way I played, that’s what I can control. I need to do my job and make more plays for this team,” Ekeler said. “I’ve grown into that role and I need to make sure I’m fulfilling my role. I’m disappointed in myself and need to play better.”
As the Chargers attempted to regain the lead, they went 47 yards on eight plays before attempting a 52-yard field goal in which Cameron Dicker missed wide right. As the Raiders took over near midfield, Derek Carr went back to Adams for a 45-yard touchdown to pull ahead by two scores.
“The third quarter was where the game was decided today,” Staley said. “Coming out of the half, we had a good screen going, fumble and then give up a tough pass in the end zone that was really a good throw and catch. We were right on, give credit to them. And then the next drive, it’s a two-play drive, kind of a one punch on the flea flicker.”
After coming out strong in the first half, forcing two defensive takeaways to go with a touchdown and two field goals, the third quarter saw the Chargers go scoreless. The offense hasn’t recorded a third quarter touchdown in seven consecutive games dating back to Week 5.
Missed tackles haunt the Chargers
The Chargers have been subject to missed tackles this season, but in the second half against the Raiders, they seemed to really pile up. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who leads the league in forced missed tackles, did what he does best, and wore down the Chargers defense.
“We missed some tackles in the second half, which led to most of his yards,” Staley said. “I thought that we were in good run structures but missed some tackles which he does. He forces people to miss. No one’s out there trying to miss. I know that. He’s a good back. You know that that’s going to happen.”
On 26 carries, Jacobs totaled 144 yards and one touchdown with 83 yards coming in the final two quarters. Collectively, the Raiders finished with 154 rushing yards, continuing the Chargers difficulties in stopping the run. They’ve now allowed over 150 rushing yards in seven of their last eight games.
“In the second half, it was a little bit up and down, especially in the run game,” Staley said. “Guys just gotta tackle better, make sure we’re wrapping up and make sure we’re getting more than one guy at the point of attack.”
Playoff chances drop following loss
The Chargers are given a 30% chance to reach the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight, a drop of 9% following the loss to the Raiders.
At 6-6, with five games remaining, the Chargers essentially have to, at minimum, go 4-1 the rest of the season to give themselves a chance to get into the postseason.
“There’s urgency all season because we understand what’s at stake,” Ekeler said. “We have to win games. Where we’re at in the season, games become more and more important.”
The Chargers will face the Dolphins next week followed by the Titans, two teams who currently find themselves in the playoff picture. If they can find a way to weather the storm, the Chargers will face three teams with losing records during the final three weeks of the season.
“We’ve got five games left and the AFC is very tight,” Staley said. “We have to put this one behind us and get ready for Miami.”
The Chargers will play under the bright lights of primetime for the third time in five weeks next weekend when they host the Dolphins.
More injuries for the Chargers
The injuries continue to strike the Chargers in large quantities.
Cornerback Bryce Callahan exited the game in the third quarter with a groin injury and didn’t return. Rookie sixth-round pick Ja’Sir Taylor took his place for the remainder of the contest, playing 11% of the team’s defensive snaps.
Defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter and didn’t return. Staley said after the game he didn’t know the severity, but would have an update on Monday.
Right guard Zion Johnson experienced a shoulder injury that led him to enter the locker room early just before halftime. He missed a small amount of time before returning in the second half.
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Read more from Charger Report:
Chargers’ Banged Up Offensive Line Overwhelmed in 27-20 Loss to RaidersLive In-Game Updates: Chargers at Raiders Week 13Pregame Report: Chargers at Raiders Week 13Chargers at Raiders Week 13 Game PredictionChargers to be Short-Handed in Week 13 Clash Against Raiders
Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.
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