Chargers vs. Raiders: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly For The Bolts in Week 13
After winning five straight games, the San Diego Chargers dropped one of their most important games of the season against the Oakland Raiders in what turned out to be a complete blowout.
With this loss, the San Diego Chargers all but declared themselves out of the playoff race, dropping down to 1-3 in AFC West play, including two losses to the Oakland Raiders.
Not everything was bad, though. Let's break this one down.
Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly for the San Diego Chargers home loss against the Oakland Raiders.
The Good: Seyi Ajirotutu
Ajirotutu may not have impressed many people on the stat sheet, with only two receptions for 44 yards, but he was consistently getting separation from defenders, he was blocking well, and the catches he did come up with were quite athletic.
If Ajirotutu hadn't been targeted so much in double coverage, he would certainly have had a few more.
The Good: Antonio Gates
Injured or healthy, it doesn't matter: all this guy does is score touchdowns.
Antonio Gates may have cemented his legacy as one of the best, and one of the toughest, in the game after turning in another great performance against the Raiders despite suffering a good amount of pain and soreness from a torn plantar fascia.
With six receptions for 73 yards and one touchdown, Gates led the team in all three of those statistical categories, and it really makes you wonder how good he would have been at full health.
The Good: Mike Tolbert
I know you all are wondering how I could give props to a guy that gained only 16 yards on seven carries, so let me explain.
For a guy who consistently ran into walls of two or three guys, Tolbert played great football. He was rarely stopped behind the line, he was never pushed back, and he provided the kind of threat that the Chargers needed from him by catching six balls for 47 yards in addition to his running.
Tolbert continues to play at a high level, even when his supporting cast is not.
The Bad: Nate Kaeding
Chargers fans are all too familiar with this.
Nate Kaeding may have put in two of three field goals, but the one he missed could have easily been made.
Kaeding is usually spot on from the mid-40s, but he put this one too high, causing it to fall about five yards short of crossing over the goal posts.
It wouldn't have meant much in the end, but Nate Kaeding plays at a high enough level that coaches and fans expect him to make those kinds of kicks.
The Bad: Philip Rivers
In all of the years of watching Philip Rivers play, I don't think anyone has seen him as out of sync as he was against the Raiders.
He was off target, his timing was way off, and he didn't seem to have the same fire that he always has, the attitude that really picks up his team when they are down.
The reason why he gets the Bad and not the Ugly is solely because of his late game run. Rivers seemed to get into a rhythm towards the end of the game, but it was too little, too late.
The Bad: San Diego Special Teams
The Chargers may not have given up a touchdown directly on special teams, but the muffed punt recovery by Darren Sproles resulted in a touchdown, and the Chargers were inconsistent at best in keeping the Raiders pinned deep in their own territory.
Once again this problematic area of the Chargers' game comes back to bite them.
I just have to wonder, how many muffed recoveries and bad returns does it take for the Chargers to take Darren Sproles off of the return teams? At some point they have to give someone else a try.
The Ugly: Norv Turner
Is this man emotionally dead?
There isn't a single shot of him on the sideline showing emotion, even when the Chargers continue to make mistake after mistake after mistake.
After Philip Rivers threw his interception, you would expect most coaches to give him an earful, or at the very least have a long conversation with him. A coaching moment, you know?
Turner made a few casual remarks and then turned back to the game.
Great job, coach.
Let's move past the stoic demeanor, though. How about the way the Chargers came out today?
The Chargers were so flat that they simply couldn't get anything done. The defense looked sluggish, the offense was completely out of sync, and ultimately that has to fall on the coaches shoulders. It's up to him to make sure that the players come out of the gate firing on all cylinders.
Norv Turner may have started to put the finishing touches on the eulogy of his Chargers career with this loss.
The Ugly: The Chargers' Playoff Hopes
At this point it'd take a miracle for the Chargers to reach the playoffs.
At 6-6, the Chargers are more than likely out of the race for one of the AFC wild card spots, which means that they would have to rely on winning their division to advance to the playoffs.
With a 1-3 AFC West record, that seems all but impossible now, especially since two of those losses came against the Oakland Raiders.
It's about safe to say that the Chargers could start making holiday plans for January, because it would take a monumental collapse by the Chiefs and the Raiders in the last few weeks of the season for the Chargers to pull this one out.
The Ugly: Offensive Line Play
Sure, the Oakland Raiders are one of the best teams in the League at getting to the quarterback, but the offensive line made them look like some sort of extra-terrestrial force.
The Chargers could not get any push in the running game, failing to open holes to such a point that the Chargers ended the game with 21 yards rushing.
The could not keep the pocket open for Philip Rivers. All too often he had to throw in between a sandwich of two offensive lineman.
And finally, the offensive line gave up an amazing four sacks. They haven't been this bad since the game against the St. Louis Rams.
There probably isn't a word that can best describe this match other than wow.
The Chargers knew that they had dug themselves an early season hole when they found themselves at 2-5 entering the difficult part of their schedule.
They knew that they needed to win out in the division, especially after dropping early season contests to Oakland and Kansas City.
They knew that their season was on the line today.
And they blew it.
Not only did they come out flat, but they couldn't seem to motivate themselves at all to make some sort of late game push. Instead, the bent over for the Raiders, who ran them up and down the field all game long.
It would be nice for the Chargers to win the rest of their games, but it would probably only be to salvage some dignity. The post season is more or less officially out of sight.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
We'll be taking comments starting with No. 1. No. 1?
Like the article? Follow me on Twitter @chriseggemeyer