Another Last Second Finish As Chargers Pick Up 2nd Win

The Chargers continued their years long trend of having every game decided in the final two minutes in thrilling fashion, this time winning by one in Oakland. Nick Novak missed his first attempt but came through from 32 yards as time expired for the Chargers' 2nd win of the season.

It wasn't always pretty, and the Chargers failed to capitalize on several big opportunities, but they did enough to get the win. They're now tied with the Raiders at 2-4, and firmly back in the AFC playoff picture.

Philip Rivers was under siege for most of the day, facing an aggressive pass rush that was blowing by the Chargers makeshift offensive line. Kenny Wiggins and Joe Barksdale both left with injuries but soon returned. When Rivers had time to throw he was money, spreading the ball around to everybody. As I detailed in my breakdown of the Raiders, they would need to get Hunter Henry involved, and they finally started to feature him. He had five catches for 90 yards on seven targets, including several huge catches in crunch time. He was also open in the fourth for what should've been a long touchdown but Rivers didn't have quite enough time to deliver an accurate throw. Melvin Gordon continued to make plays in the passing game, catching nine balls for 67 yards and a touchdown. He looks electric when he gets into space, welcoming all sorts of contact.

Anthony Lynn was much better than he has been, although still questionable at times. I'll have more on that later this week. The Chargers should've tried to challenge the Raiders league worst secondary vertically, but didn't attempt many deep balls, probably due to protection issues.

It was great to see Mike Williams back on the field, and his first NFL catch was a huge one. With 12:54 left in the 4th, Williams caught a crucial 15 yard ball from Rivers on 3rd and 6 to extend the drive which ended up resulting in a touchdown.

The defense was excellent for most of the game, but almost lost the game by taking very poor tackling angles on the 50-yard end around touchdown that gave the Raiders a lead with four minutes left. They did an excellent job never allowing Derek Carr to get into a rhythm. They continued to struggle to bring down big backs, a season long problem, routinely allowing Marshawn Lynch to gain yards after contact. Most of what the Raiders got through the air were short dump-offs and quick reads, and the Chargers continually underrated secondary allowed just one completion of more than 15 yards. The weakness of the defense continues to be the linebacker corp, an area in which they must improve if they want to win games. Denzel Perryman can't return fast enough.

The offense failed to take advantage of Carr's two turnovers, gaining 0 points and just one first down off his two interceptions. His first pick resulted in the missed field goal and his second resulted in a three and out. 

There's many positives to be taken out of the game, like Henry and Melvin Gordonbut some concerning things as well. The O-line is a mess and the linebackers are terrible. But overall, it's just good to get a win and keep the season from going down the drain. Next up is a home game against Denver. On to the Broncos.


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