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Lacking ‘fire, passion,’ Chargers fall to Raiders

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Carson, CA -– In a race to clinch a playoff spot, the Oakland Raiders (6-8) came out with a vengeance. Led by quarterback Derek Carr, the Raiders defeated the Los Angeles Chargers (5-10), 24-17.

“They played with a little more heart,” stated Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon III after the game. “That’s just what it was. You know, I thought it’d be different. I thought we were going to be the ones to come out with the fire and the passion and it was different. They hopped on us early.”

The Raiders are fighting for their playoff lives. They did their job by getting a much-needed win to snap their four-game skid. In addition, with the help of some losses by other teams Sunday, they have a shot at making the postseason.

Oakland led this game wire-to-wire and it was obvious they were not leaving without a victory against Los Angeles.

With less than two minutes to go in the first half and the score tied at seven thanks to a Gordon one-yard touchdown, the Chargers failed to manage the game clock, giving Oakland plenty of time to come down the field and regain the lead before the clock struck zero. 

On Oakland’s ensuing drive, Carr completed a pass to Raiders running back Jalen Richard on a play action pass for a quick first down. Carr, at the time, had only recorded one rushing touchdown on the year before Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

Carr would make good on his second rushing touchdown as he ran down the sideline and tiptoed into the end zone surrounded by three Los Angeles defenders.

“I think that was something that we were really looking for and excited about,” head coach Jon Gruden said after the game on his quarterbacks’ touchdown run. “He is a much better athlete than people know about and we have been trying to encourage him to do more of that. It was a bootleg designed for Waller and a fullback, LA did a nice job to cover it. That’s what you need to be. You need to be a threat to run and that’s what he did today. That was a big play for us.”

Going into the locker room with a seven-point lead (14-7), control over the tempo of the game, and plenty of confidence, the Raiders coasted into the second half.

Offensively taking 16:35 off the clock in the second half, it’s fair to say the Raiders had plenty of momentum to carry them into their 24-17 win to bring in the Christmas spirit.

Sweeping Los Angles this season, and now sitting at one game below .500 on the season thus far, it’s safe to say that this postseason play will be nothing short of a miracle. Yet, the chances are very slim. Showing a sense of fight, and willingness to bounce back in order to reach their ultimate goal, the bulk of their fate is now out of their hands.

“It’s crazy. We have to take care of next week,” stated the Raiders Maxx Crosby on Oakland’s possibilities of making the playoffs. “Go out there and get a win in Denver. That’s all that we can control, but that’s crazy that were still alive. It’s another game we have to win, but we’re excited.” 

The Raiders playoff picture is simple. After losses by Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Cleveland on Sunday, Oakland must handle their business and defeat the Denver Broncos next week.

On the opposing end, Los Angeles wraps up the year at Kansas City next Sunday. The Chargers have lost 10 of their last 11 match-ups against the Chiefs. 

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