For what feels like the third game in a row, the Chargers didn’t seem to have the ball all that much in this game, although the final box score says the time of possession was split pretty much down the middle with Oakland having the 31:10 to 28:50 edge.
Obviously the Chargers’ sluggish start didn’t help anything as they started the ball game with two three-and-outs. In fact, Philip Rivers didn’t even complete a single pass until almost five minutes into the second quarter.
And although the Chargers held the Raiders to just a pair of field goals, I still felt this game could have been put away much earlier than it was. The 20 points scored does not seem like a lot by this team’s standards. In reality, if it wasn’t for an unnecessary hold by left tackle Russell Okung, Austin Ekeler would have scored a 44-yard touchdown run and the team would have kept up with their streak of scoring three touchdowns in every game this year.
I also can’t forget Michael Badgley. THe rookie out of Miami made both of his field goals and extra points in this game to become the the leading point-scorer among Chargers kickers through their first three starts with the team.
Not a bad way to start your time with the team, especially after the kicker carousel that has been present within the team.
Although I thought the win was rather lakcluster, there were still a number of comendable performances from Sunday afternoon. After nine weeks, including seven-straight wins, here are this weeks players who SURGED and those who stayed STATIC.
WR Keenan Allen
Allen found the end zone for the second time this season, putting to rest a scoreless streak that has plagued him since week 1 against the Chiefs.
Allen didn’t amass a huge amount of yards in this one but he didn’t have to. RB Melvin Gordon did most of the dirty work on the ground while also leading the team in receiving yards with 72, thanks in most part to a 66-yard catch and score in the third quarter.
Allen has found several different ways to help the offense go in recent weeks. When he isn’t getting the targets that he would like, Allen is still able to take a few hand-offs and churn out of some nifty runs as a ball carrier.
On the season, Allen has 53 catches for 687 yards and two touchdowns.
DT Corey Liuget
This may selection may come as a surprise to some because, aside from his fumble recovery that set up a touchdown, Liuget only collected a single tackle in this one.
However, I felt so bad after leaving him off last week’s article after he had such a spectacular performance that I couldn’t help but stick him in this one.
Last week against the Seahawks, Liuget had the highest-graded game of his career, according to Pro Football Focus when he was given an elite grade of 90.7.
Sunday was Corey Liuget's highest graded game of his eight-year career. (90.7)— PFF LA Chargers (@PFF_Chargers) November 7, 2018
He tied for the most run-stops (5) and earned them at the fourth most productive rate among all interior defenders in Week 9. pic.twitter.com/rCBQ0pfHX8
His three tackles-for-loss were far and away the most on the team and he played a key part in keeping Russell Wilson and the Seahawks out of the endzone.
In Sunday’s contest, Liuget may not have stuffed the stat sheet, but he recovered a fumble following a strip sack by Melvin Ingram of Derek Carr that set up the Chargers for their first touchdown of the day.
QB Philip Rivers
It was an odd game for Philip Rivers as the veteran put out his “worst” performance of the season against the Raiders in a divisional match-up in Oakland.
After throwing for 339 yards and a pair of touchdowns in their first contest, Rivers struggled mightily out of the gate as it took him almost 20 whole minutes into the game to complete his first pass. He finished with 223 yards and two touchdowns with a single interception, just his fourth on the season.
His interception was questionable when watching live. There were two defenders on Keenan Allen but on my re-watch it showed that Allen did have a step on the defenders but Rivers just didn’t have the arm for this throw. He escaped the pocket and rolled left to allow himself a better throwing angle but, alas, it wasn’t in his cards on the day.
Overall, I think this performance can be chalked-up to a hostile environment from the divisional rivalry. I’d expect a bounce-back performance when the Chargers host Denver next week in their first match-up of 2018.
WR Mike Williams
For the first time this season, Williams was held without a target in the passing game. He logged just one carry for zero yards and failed receive any attention from his quarterback.
Over the four games, Williams and seen his production fall off a cliff. In the three games prior to this past Sunday, the wideout had only caught a single pass in each contest. However, two of those three passes went for scores and allowed him to maintain his phenomenal efficiency.
It remains to be seen just what is going on with Williams after he started the year on a nice streak of performances, including his two-touchdown performance against the Rams in week 3.