Allen: 'We've got to play smarter'
With Sunday's loss in San Diego, the Raiders have only emerged victorious in one of their last eight games. (USATSI)
SAN DIEGO – The Raiders continue sliding down toward season’s end. The brakes, it seems, have gone out.
Sunday’s 26-13 loss to the host San Diego Chargers wasn’t the train wreck of previous weeks, but it was a loss just the same.
It featured turnovers and penalties aplenty, with enough missed opportunities to complete what has become a signature Raiders defeat.
They fall to 4-11, just one loss away from matching Dennis Allen’s first season as head coach. Allen’s case for progress has holes, with one remaining chance to patch them. That shot comes in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos, who beat the Raiders handily in Week 3.
The Raiders have lost five straight and seven of their last eight, which has placed Allen’s future with the team in doubt.
The Chargers jumped out to an early lead, but the Raiders tied it 10-10 by halftime with a 5-yard touchdown run from Darren McFadden and a 20-yard field goal from Sebastian Janikowski.
The Raiders fell behind by two scores when Nick Novak’s 28-yard field goal made it 23-10. That score came after Greg Jenkins lost a fumbled kickoff in Raiders' territory and continued a run of 13 unanswered second-half points.
Sebastian Janikowski’s 42-yard field goal on series later ended that run, but the Raiders couldn’t climb all the way back.
Down by 10 with six minutes remaining, McGloin found receiver Rod Streater near the goal line. He seemed to catch the ball and took two steps into the end zone. The ball came out at the end, and officials ruled the pass incomplete on the field and after review.
The Raiders continued that drive deep into Chargers territory, but Marcel Reece dropped a sure touchdown catch. That ended slimcomeback hopes.
More ill-timed turnovers: The Raiders have a habit of losing possession in their own territory. McGloin threw an interception at the Raiders’ 20 – it was McGloin’s fifth from the 20 on in – and Jenkins lost a kickoff return at the Raiders’ 13-yard line.
The Chargers turned those opportunities into 10 points in a game the Raiders lost by 13.
The Raiders got a takeaway off a muffed punt and intercepted Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers – the Raiders assumed possession on their own 10 - and scored seven points off that.
Third-down woes continue: The Chargers had the NFL’s best third-down offense entering Sunday, and the Raiders defense is one of the worst at allowing conversions.
Those rankings held strong on Sunday. The Chargers converted 6-of-11 third downs – a few of them via Raiders penalties – that gave scoring drives life.
Penalty prone: The Raiders hurt themselves time and again with penalties on crucial downs. They had 12 for 73 yards, a total which doesn’t include THREE penalties declined by the Chargers.
Some were questionable, like a roughing the passer call on Miles Burris. Others, like Mike Jenkins’ penalty for taunting, showed a real lack of discipline.
The Chargers, by contrast, were flagged only once in the first half and three times throughout the game.
Sitting it out: The Raiders weren’t missing many active players on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium. Darren McFadden returned from an ankle injury and Vance Walker was cleared to play after suffering a concussion two weeks ago.
The Raiders had several healthy scratches, including offensive lineman Andre Gurode and receiver Jacoby Ford.
What's next: There’s one game left on the schedule this season, against the Denver Broncos at Oakland Coliseum. The Broncos clinched the AFC West on Sunday, and could lock up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a victory over the Raiders.
Quarterback Peyton Manning is also in line to break the NFL’s single-season passing record, assuming he plays.