The Chargers dominated a Raiders team in flux on New Years’ Eve, ending Anthony Lynn’s first year as the head coach with a 9-7 mark. Almost all aspects of the game went the Bolts’ way against their hated division rival, but even with a whole lot of good, it wasn’t completely sunshine and butterflies.
Of course, this would prove to be the last we saw of the Chargers in 2017, a season marred by inconsistency and key blunders.
Then again, we all signed up for that by choosing to follow the team four months ago, right?
Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen...
You’d expect it when lining up against the worst defense in the league, but the whole Chargers’ offense was hot today. Rivers was slinging it like he was 26, not 36, making some incredible touch throws and deep shots alike. Gates dialed it back some as well, and Keenan Allen contributed in the passing game in a big way.
The offensive line, too, was not only excellent in pass protection but also in the run game. Melvin Gordon ran through some gaping holes en route to one of his best games of the season. Branden Oliver even scampered out for some first downs, too.
This game was a great way for all offensive players involved, as they padded their stats in a big way.
The Big Bear always likes to dominate when playing the Raiders. He notched Sack Number 11.5 today, along with recovering a big fumble on fourth down. The future is certainly bright for #99 as he continues his quick ascension to NFL royalty.
Outside of a fluke play in which Amari Cooper roasted the whole unit for a deep score, the secondary locked down Derek Carr and made him look nothing like the MVP-caliber quarterback many pundits labelled him as before the season. Then again, he was pretty mediocre all year...
Regardless, Casey Hayward and the rest of the secondary looked real good out there in their navy blues, and this group will be exciting to watch should Dez King and Trevor Williams continue to develop. If the team decides to retain Jason Verrett’s rights as well, this should be one of the most dominant groups in the league in 2018.
Anthony Lynn and Co.
Obviously, a coach’s goal is to make it to January every year, but to go out on such a high note after so much negativity and vitriol in September is a real testament to Lynn’s coaching ability. Many of us shook our heads when the hiring was announced, but it’s pretty clear that the first-time head coach has instilled the culture he wanted to instill.
The test will come should Ken Whisenhunt and/or Gus Bradley get signed away to different teams. If the team improves on their 9-7 record next year, the common denominator—Anthony Lynn—should get all the credit in the world for jump-starting the remains of the Mike McCoy Era.
You had one job, Jacksonville, and you blew it.
The Run D
Yeah, the league’s worst run defense certainly looked the part today, giving up 101 yards on 19 carries to a 31-year-old Marshawn Lynch. Luckily, it didn’t affect the game too much. It didn’t affect the season much, either, as the way the NFL is trending, pass defense is becoming more and more vital to a successful defense then stopping the run. After all, the Cleveland Browns had the best run defense in the league this year, good for an astounding 0 wins.
Nonetheless, the interior of the defensive line surely needs an upgrade in the offseason, as Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget certainly ain’t cutting it.
Oh man. The kicking game is obviously atrocious, and this game didn’t inspire any confidence in new guy Nick Rose. Look for the team to spend a lot of time looking at kickers in the upcoming months.
Also, though I felt like special teams as a whole were slightly better than in years past (sans the kicker position), there were too many penalties all season from guys like Rayshawn Jenkins. It just shows how important those mid-round picks are in filling out a roster, and how inept Telesco is at finding talent in the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh rounds.
Honestly, sometimes I feel like he should just trade their whole draft just to accumulate a ton of fifth-rounders. Just a thought if you’re reading this, Tommy.
The Colors Silver and Black
At least the Raiders went down the crapper real quick this season. Otherwise, I might’ve found this to be more annoying.
(But seriously guys, let’s try to do something about this next year. 2018 might be Rivers’ and Gates’ last real shot at the Big One.)
It’s been a helluva ride this season, brochachos. Thanks for sticking with us all the way through the Good, Bad and Ugly, and let’s hope to see the wins stack up in 2018. For updates and takes on the Chargers throughout the offseason, you can follow the blog @BFTB_Chargers and me @nathangl99.