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Raiders offense pulls vanishing act against Chargers

Everything the Raiders had been doing well or improved on was nowhere to be seen against the Chargers last Sunday.

Time off possession, turnover management, key defensive stops. Oakland was terrible in every phase of the game.

The Raiders were unable to maintain, and even start, drives throughout the game, reaching the red zone just once in the first half. That drive covered 77 yards and lead to a Matt McCrane field goal. Their other five drives went for 78 yards combined.

The second half was equally disappointing, as the Raiders had just three possessions. However, down 20-3 late in the third quarter, they still had a legitimate opportunity to come back. Oakland put together a nine-play, 74-yard drive, getting all the way to the 1-yard line. Then Derek Carr had yet another frustrating turnover, throwing a pick in the end zone to defensive end Melvin Ingram.

That interception spurred a familiar conversation:

Meanwhile, quarterback Philip Rivers had his most efficient and effective game of the season, completing 22 of 27 pass attempts for 339 and two touchdowns. And running back Melvin Gordon had 120 total yards and a touchdown on 23 touches.

The most confounding aspect of the Raiders’ performance in Los Angeles was their inability to move the ball.

The Chargers have an average defense, at best. They are now ranked 15th in yards per game (365.8), 21st in points per game (26), 28th in sacks (7) and 10th in takeaways (8). The Bills and Jimmy Garoppolo-less 49ers managed at least 20 points a piece against this defense. Yet after a 45-point explosion in Week 4 on a much better Browns defense, the Raiders offense looked frighteningly overmatched by Los Angeles.

It’s difficult to understand how the production diminished so starkly against a worse opponent. The answer has to lie in the execution department. Jon Gruden can make all the right calls, but if the players don’t make the plays and give the ball away, it’ll result in more performances like the one in Week 5.

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