Raiders head to Southern California for AFC West matchup with Chargers

Photo credit: @Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — The Raiders hit the road again, their third road game in the last four weeks, when they travel to StubHub Center to take on the Los Angeles Chargers in a classic AFC West battle. Kickoff for this Week 5 matchup is set for this Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1:05 p.m. PT.

Los Angeles owns a two-game winning streak over Oakland however, the Raiders own a 62-52-1 record over the Bolts. In their previous meeting last season, the Chargers took down the Silver and Black 30-10 in Los Angeles.

The Raiders (1-3) finally got into the win column last week, defeating the visiting Cleveland Browns in thrilling fashion 45-42 in overtime. With Oakland trailing 42-34 with 1:28 left in the game and with no timeouts, Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr engineered a 6-play, 53-yard drive in 58 seconds that culminated in a 7-yard touchdown throw to tight end Jared Cook. It was Cook’s second score of the game. Carr would hit wide receiver Jordy Nelson for the 2-point conversion that would tie the game up at 42-42 heading into overtime.

On the final possession of overtime, Carr orchestrated an 11-play, 70-yard drive where he completed passes to four different receivers to setup undrafted rookie kicker Matt McCrane’s game-winning 29-yard field goal. It was Carr’s 14th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter and overtime, second-most in the NFL since Carr’s rookie season in 2014.

Carr finished the game completing 35-of-58 passes for 437 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions as the Raiders recorded 565 yards of total offense against the Browns (1-2-1), the most by any team this season.

Through four games, Carr has thrown six touchdowns and is third in the NFL in completion percentage (71.0) and fourth in passing yards (1,373), but has thrown seven interceptions, the most by any starting quarterback this season.

Against Cleveland, Oakland registered a 400-yard passer in Carr, a 100-yard rusher in running back Marshawn Lynch (who finished with 20 carries for 130 yards), and two-100 yard receivers in wide receiver Amari Cooper (8 catches for 128 yards and one touchdown) and the aforementioned Cook (8 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns). It was the first time since 1964 that the Raiders achieved that milestone.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Raiders are the first team since the 2013 Denver Broncos to achieve the same milestone in a game.

Along with Minnesota and Tampa Bay, the Raiders have recorded a 100-yard receiver in four straight weeks this season, the only teams to do so in the NFL, according to NFL metrics.

Oakland is averaging 24.2 points per game, which ranks 13th in the NFL, but the Raiders rank second in total yards (441.8) and fourth in passing yards (333) per game.

Defensively, the Raiders forced four turnovers off Browns’ rookie quarterback, Baker Mayfield who made his first career start against the Silver and Black. Mayfield fumbled twice (losing both and recovered by defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins) and intercepted twice, one being returned 36 yards for the game’s first touchdown by second-year cornerback Gareon Conley in the first quarter.

Veteran linebacker Bruce Irvin and rookie defensive tackle Maurice Hurst each recorded a sack for Oakland, who will need to apply pressure to Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers. The Raiders rank 27th in total defense, but 31st in points surrendered per game (30.8).

Now in his 15th season, Rivers is off to a hot start for the Chargers and doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

Through four games, Rivers has passed for 1,156 yards with 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions while sporting a blistering 110.8 passer rating this season.

Rivers and the Chargers (2-2) picked up their second win of the season, defeating the San Francisco 49ers by a slim score of 29-27 last Sunday at StubHub Center. Rivers completed 25-of-39 passes for 250 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

In his career against the Raiders, Rivers owns a 16-8 record. Rivers has thrown for 6,055 yards, 41 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 24 games against the Silver and Black. The 41 touchdowns against Oakland are tied with the Denver Broncos for the most touchdown passes against one team for Rivers.

Running back Melvin Gordon had a productive day against San Francisco, rushing for 104 yards on 14 carries. Gordon also hauled in seven catches (tied for the game-high with wide receiver Keenan Allen) for 55 yards and one touchdown.

Gordon can do it all for the Chargers both as a runner and pass-catcher out of the backfield. In fact, Gordon is tied with Allen for the team lead in catches (24) and tied with wide receiver Mike Williams for the team lead in touchdown catches with three through four games.

The fourth-year running back from Wisconsin is the team’s leading rusher with 54 carries for 276 yards and two touchdowns.

Allen leads the team with 282 receiving yards this season.

In the past, the Chargers’ defense were headlined by defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey, but rookie safety Derwin James has become a force for Los Angeles this season.

The 6’2″, 215-pound James leads the team with 20 tackles, one interception and has recorded three of the Chargers’ eight sacks this season. The Chargers have been thrilled with the Florida State product the they selected him 17th overall in April’s draft.

Following Sunday’s game, the Raiders will travel to London, England for a “home” game against the Seattle Seahawks at Wembley Stadium in Week 6, the third straight season the Raiders will play in the United Kingdom.

The Chargers head to Cleveland to take on the Browns on Sunday, October 14 at 10:00 a.m. PT.