Raiders vs. Chargers: Oakland's Biggest Winners and Losers from Monday Night
The Oakland Raiders put on a lousy performance Monday night in a 22-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers in which the Silver and Black never really went on the attack. It took Carson Palmer 59 minutes to score the team's first touchdown, and Travis Goethel took ten years off of everybody's life with those horrible snaps.
There was little good but a whole heap of bad and ugly for Raiders fans to sift through for the rest of the week. It's time to roll up our sleeves and get down to business.
Losers: Travis Goethel and Shane Lechler
"Loser" feels like an understatement here.
Raiders long snapper Jon Condo had to leave the game after accidentally being injured by a teammate.
That right there is the first sign of trouble.
Condo's replacement, third-year reserve linebacker and beard enthusiast Travis Goethel, stepped up and delivered a goose egg on his first snap attempt to punter Shane Lechler, who could not field the roller cleanly. The play set San Diego up for a field goal to take a 13-6 lead in the third quarter.
Goethel's second snap was okay, but San Diego's Dante Rosario slipped through the line and blocked Lechler's punt, which set the Chargers up to take a 16-7 lead. ESPN.com reported that the play marked the first time a Lechler punt had been blocked in six years.
So how did Goethel out-loser himself next? He sent another snap sputtering through the dirt to Lechler's feet, which led to another failed punt attempt and great field position yet again for the Chargers.
Expert opinions aside, three botched punt attempts in one game is a sure-fire way to end up a loser in a the NFL week after week.
Winners: Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden
After a while, it almost felt like a .gif animation watching Carson Palmer completing short passes to Darren McFadden. But I'm not not sure that checkdowns and crossing routes are the crown jewels of offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's scheme, who landed himself in the loser category Monday night.
There was no spark to the offense, even when the team moved the ball well in the first half. Settling for field goals gave Raiders fans little hope that Palmer's first-half accuracy and Run DMC's powerhouse performance would add up to much in the end.
Palmer completed 32-of-46 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown. He's a winner for not throwing an interception and only forcing a few passes into tight coverage. For the most part, Palmer looked sharp and kept his gun-slinger attitude in check.
Palmer benefited greatly from the talented hands and feet of Darren McFadden, who led the Raiders in rushing and receiving Monday night. McFadden only had 15 carries for 32 yards on the ground, but more importantly, he picked up 86 receiving yards on 13 receptions.
Run DMC was Palmer's favorite target all night, and the two showed good chemistry.
It's also worth noting that recently signed receiver Derek Hagan and tight end Brandon Myers combined for nine catches and over 100 yards on only ten targets. Smells like winner to me.
Losers: Darrius Heyward-Bey and Rod Streater
Not trying to stir the pot with this slide, but I cannot be the only one who asked myself multiple times throughout the game, "Where is Heyward-Bey?"
He finished with three catches for 43 yards, but he might as well have been at home—or with me at the sports bar eating baby-back ribs—for most of the night.
Rookie receiver Rod Streater finished the night with four catches for 27 yards and a touchdown, as well as a two-point conversion. The reason he ended up in the loser pile is because his first catch in the NFL was also his first fumble, which resulted in a momentum-killing turnover early in the game for Oakland.
Streater was targeted 11 times by Palmer, and while his late score gave a few fans hope for a Raiders comeback, the Chargers had already packed it in for the night on defense. That was a throwaway score that helps Streater's stat column, but it didn't change the fact that he played a mediocre game.
Winners: Rolando McClain and Miles Burris
On the defensive side of the ball, a few players stood out as true winners.
Rolando McClain, who is trying to be a more vocal presence on the team, played with emotion and was inspiring in that Ray Lewis-Hulk Smash sort of way. McClain finished with five tackles, which is nothing to write home about. But it was more about the way he got fired up after a big play and how that got me excited to watch the next one.
Same goes for rookie linebacker Miles Burris, who led the Raiders with nine tackles, including two for a loss. He took McClain's cue and celebrated big plays. Rightfully so if you ask me. Burris seems like he has a bright future in the Black Hole.
Shout out to offensive tackle Khalif Barnes for not stopping Shaun Phillips late in the game, which led to multiple sacks on Palmer.
The Raiders secondary played a little bit like losers at times throughout the night, giving up a few big passes and doing very little to disrupt Phillip River's flow.
Also, big loser props go out to all of us who were hoping for a high-scoring contest full of action and excitement—the good kind, the let's-give-Dennis-Allen-another-week kind, not the botched-punt kind.
Lastly, Planet Earth is winning just a little less with every second it endures Norv Turner's face in HD.
Sunday feels like a winner because the Raiders take on the Miami Dolphins. Not saying it's a guarantee, but here's hoping that Oakland can learn to snap the ball and score touchdowns in time to play at a semi-professional level this weekend.
At the end of the day, a loss is not the end of the world. The Raiders will live to fight again, and for that, we are all winners.
Time to go win a few drinking games to help shake off this loss.