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Week 5 Game Recap: Oakland Raiders 10, Los Angeles Chargers 26


What you need to know

Oakland Raiders

-After 90 offensive snaps inflated offensive production for Oakland last week, just 49 snaps this week brought the fantasy numbers crashing back to earth. -Derek Carr continues to throw bad interceptions and through five weeks has more interceptions than touchdowns. -The Raiders are starting a pair of rookie offensive tackles who look overmatched. -Amari Cooper had just one target as the Raiders seem content to allow defenses to take Cooper away if they want to.

Los Angeles Chargers

Melvin Gordon enjoyed a fantastic first half, largely thanks to his work in the passing game (because it was tough to find much traction on the ground). Late in the game, it was Austin Ekeler who was given all the work as the Chargers ran out the clock. It was unclear why Ekeler was in the game and not Gordon, but it was suggested afterwards that the team was simply resting the starter with such a big lead.

Philip Rivers continued his torrid pace, with one of the most efficient performances of his season. Completing over 80% of his passes and finding the end zone twice, he was helped along by his receivers making plays but Rivers also dominated in just about every way possible.

Keenan Allen seemed to be having a quiet game, but then as the clock expired you looked up and saw that he had 90 receiving yards on a game-high eight receptions. He hasn't had a really explosive game since Week 1, but his usage pattern suggests that it may be just a matter of time.

Oakland Raiders

QB Derek Carr, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 33 - 268 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0
Carr had a rough game. The deck was stacked against him to some extent with a pair of overmatched rookie tackles starting. The duo had a number of costly penalties and gave up pressures far too often. Carr made a few nice throws early, including a long completion down the sideline to Martavis Bryant perfectly place behind the corner and short of the safety. He also had a few decent moments escaping pressure and making plays, including a desperation dump off to Jalen Richard that went for 32 yards. However, there were more lowlights than highlights on the day. Perhaps because of the pressure, Carr was too willing to check down on third down and dump it off well short of the first down marker. He also threw away any chance of the Raiders staging a late comeback with an awful interception in the end zone. Instead of running the ball with Lynch on 1st-and-goal from the 1 yard line, the Raiders ran play action. It wasn’t open immediately, so Carr backpedaled and then inexplicably decided to throw back across his body to the middle of the end zone, right into the hands of Melvin Ingram. Carr has made way too many of these head-scratching decisions that have led to interceptions this season. Carr scored a garbage-time touchdown on a 1-yard pass to an uncovered Jordy Nelson. Carr snapped the ball before either the defense or two of his own receivers were set. For some reason the play wasn’t blown dead and Carr was able to toss it out wide to Jordy Nelson before the cornerback could get out to cover him.

RB Marshawn Lynch, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 31 - 0, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (2 targets)
Lynch ran hard early and was able to consistently rip off small chunks of yards in on each run in the first quarter. He had a goal-to-go carry blown dead due to a false start. He left the field looking extremely frustrated after Carr threw an interception on 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Those are the type of situations where calling Lynch’s number should be automatic. Unfortunately, Lynch is game-script dependent and barely saw the field in the second half with the Raiders down big.

RB Jalen Richard, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 6 - 53 - 0 (6 targets)
Richard saw a few more snaps than normal with the Raiders down three scores most of the second half. He had a 32-yard reception when Carr avoided pressure and dumped it off to him in the flat. There was a lot of open space and Richard made a man miss near the end of the run to pick up an extra ten yards. Richard made a great move on a similar play later. Carr barely escaped pressure and flipped it to Richard short. He juked the first man and made something out of nothing for a 9-yard gain. Richard’s only carry came from the 5 yard line. He took it right up the middle and it looked like he was able to dive and stretch the ball across the goal line but he was ruled down just shy of the end zone.

RB Doug Martin, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0 (1 targets)
Martin managed just a single yard on two carries and a target. His biggest contribution in recent weeks has been taking snaps away from the more dynamic backup running back, Jalen Richard.

WR Jordy Nelson, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 1 (4 targets)
Nelson caught a short pass over the middle and broke a tackle to get loose for a big gain of 29 yards. Nelson caught a 1-yard touchdown pass on one of the weirder plays of the season. After Jalen Richard picked up a first down but was ruled down just shy of the end zone, Carr hurried to the line when he saw nobody was out wide to cover Nelson. He quick-snapped it and tossed it out to Nelson who was able to walk into the end zone. The Raiders had multiple receivers on the other side of the field still trying to get lined up, so the play should have been blown dead.

WR Martavis Bryant, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 91 - 0 (3 targets)
Bryant made a pretty over the shoulder catch and tapped his toes along the sideline for a 23-yard gain on a fade route. Bryant had a 21-yard catch that was going to be called back for offensive pass interference but he fumbled the ball while trying to switch hands and the Chargers recovered. Bryant caught a deep crossing route for a 47-yard gain late in the game. He has made a few splash plays but has also made way too many costly mistakes over the past few weeks.

WR Amari Cooper, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets)
Impossible as it seems, Cooper was targeted just once officially against the Chargers soft pass defense and despite the Raiders trailing the whole game. Cooper’s catch came on a quick slant in the first quarter. He did have a ball thrown his way incomplete on a free play when the Chargers jumped offsides. “Just because he wasn’t targeted doesn’t mean he wasn’t the primary guy on some of those,” Gruden said after the game. “He was. And sometimes the opposition takes guys away.” It has been a consistent theme in recent years that if an opponent has an elite cornerback or a plan to take Cooper out of the game, the Raiders are content to let them do so. It is confounding to see multiple coaching staffs so willing to allow the defense to dictate whether or not Cooper is a part of the game plan.

TE Jared Cook, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 20 - 0 (6 targets)
Cook had a quiet game but continues to be the go-to guy in the red zone, where he was targeted four times on Sunday On a 1st-and-goal from the 5 yard line, Carr tried to thread it in to him on a quick slant into the end zone despite double coverage, but the play was defended well. He went back to him on second down but again they couldn’t connect. In the third quarter, Carr threw an end zone fade to Cook from the 18-yard line. Cook drew a pass interference penalty when the defender pushed him out of bounds while the ball was in the air. Carr picked up a 9-yard gain over the middle and was tackled at the 5-yard line on his fourth red zone target.


Los Angeles Chargers

QB Philip Rivers, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 27 - 339 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - -2 - 0
Rivers turned in one of the most efficient performances of his career in this game. He completed over 80% of his passes and averaged over 12 yards per attempt en route to a dominant victory. This, despite the fact that the Raiders actually got pretty decent pressure on him throughout the game. Rivers demonstrated some rare escapability in this one, rolling out of the pocket on several occasions and getting creative with release angles to put his receivers in great position to succeed after the catch. There were a lot of checkdowns early on, as there just wasn't enough time to look too far down the field. But a play that was nearly a disaster, ended up being the play that started breaking the game open for the Chargers. In shotgun formation, Rivers bobbled the snap and nearly fumbled it. But he quickly turned and fired a pass to Austin Ekeler in the flat. Ekeler made two defenders miss, then took off like a bullet up the left sideline, racing past every defender on his way to the end zone for the score. Rivers nearly added another touchdown late in the first half on another screen pass to a running back, this time Melvin Gordon. Gordon took the ball 34 yards down the field to the 15-yard line, but tripped on his own blocker when he tried cutting to the outside towards the end zone. It's likely that if he hadn't tripped, it would have gone for a touchdown. Gordon rushed into the end zone three plays later, potentially costing Rivers a score. Rivers did add that second touchdown in the second half, floating one over the top of two defenders and into the waiting arms of Virgil Green on a designed screen. Green took off for the end zone, following his blockers in for the easy score virtually untouched. The longest pass play of the game was a bomb from just in front of his own end zone. Following a Chargers interception, Rivers connected deep with Tyrell Williams for a 48-yard connection. Williams had to wait just a bit for the ball to get to him; otherwise it too may have gone for a score. Late in the game, the Chargers didn't simply run the ball to eat up the clock. They opted to throw it multiple times too, with Rivers marching the team down the field with a couple of creative pass attempts to keep the drive alive and keep that clock moving.

RB Melvin Gordon, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 58 - 1, Rec: 4 - 62 - 0 (4 targets)
Aside from an early 16-yard scamper early on, Gordon had a lot of trouble finding any running room on the day. His first eight carries went for just 21 yards, and 16 of those yards came on one play. But the Chargers stuck with the ground game and kept grinding it, which kept the defense honest to the passing attack. Gordon was also a big participant in that passing game, establishing himself in this one as the second option in the passing game behind Keenan Allen. On one play, Gordon took a designed screen pass 34 yards up the middle of the field. It could have gone for a touchdown, but Gordon tripped on his own blocker's foot at around the 15-yard line just as he was making his move to the outside towards the end zone. If he hadn't tripped, it appeared he had an easy score in sight. On the next play, he took a toss down to the goal line but was stopped just shy. Following an ill-advised handoff to linebacker Melvin Ingram, Gordon got the call on the third down handoff and plunged into the end zone nearly untouched. Gordon was extremely quiet in the second half, particularly late in the game when the Chargers had a big lead - they opted to rest Gordon, and ran Austin Ekeler most of the fourth quarter as they tried running out the clock. It was speculated afterwards that there was no injury, and that Gordon was simply getting some rest after such a heavy workload through the team's first five games.

RB Austin Ekeler, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 15 - 0, Rec: 1 - 44 - 1 (3 targets)
After getting a late start in last week's game, Ekeler came on early in this one. Melvin Gordon had a long run early on, and Ekeler immediately entered. But he didn't really make his presence felt until later in the half. Rivers hit him with a short screen and he was met in the flat by two defenders. One lightning-fast cut to the inside later, and both defenders were on the ground as Ekeler was taking off for the end zone. He shot up the left sideline following one block, and he was gone for the 44-yard touchdown scamper. Late in the game with the Chargers trying to run out the clock, it was Ekeler and not Gordon who got the call to grind out the tough yardage. Ekeler nearly broke into the end zone for his second touchdown, but was just barely tripped up as he got inside the 5-yard line.

WR Keenan Allen, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 8 - 90 - 0 (9 targets)
Allen didn't seem to be having a big day, as most of his receptions were open grabs over the middle and none of them going for huge yardage. He was consistently Rivers' safety blanket, but he didn't have any game-breaking catches. But then at the end of the day, he once again led the team in receptions and receiving yardage, so it was more quantity than quality for him in this one. He hasn't had a truly explosive game since Week 1, but it would stand to reason that the breakout performances aren't too far off considering his usage patterns.

WR Mike Williams, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (4 targets)
Williams was targeted on a deep ball down the left sideline on a third and long early in the game, but the pass never had a chance of being completed due to good defense. He did come up with a couple of big plays despite that, two nice receptions over the middle and one end-around reverse handoff (which was negated by an illegal block in the back penalty).

WR Tyrell Williams, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 66 - 0 (3 targets)
Williams' large contribution was early in the second half. Following a defensive interception, the Chargers were backed up against their own end zone. Rivers hoisted a ball deep downfield as Williams shook loose from the defense down the left side. The ball hung up just a bit, otherwise it may have gone for a 95-yard touchdown. But even though Williams had to wait a bit, it had enough air for him to get under it and complete the 48-yard reception. He had two heads-up plays as well; late in the first half, he brought in a quick slant over the middle and immediately went to the ground to save clock and set up one final play (but it went incomplete). And then late in the fourth quarter, he brought in a crossing route from Rivers and smartly went to the ground inbounds to keep the clock moving.

TE Antonio Gates, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (2 targets)
Gates had just two grabs in the game, one of which went for 16 yards to convert a key third down and long play. He also drew a penalty late in the game when he was seen mixing it up with an Oakland defender at the end of a play.

TE Virgil Green, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 1 (1 targets)
Green isn't a huge part of the passing game, but he did score the touchdown that essentially put this game away. The play action fake cleared out the entire left side, and Rivers flipped a pass over a couple of defenders to Green for the designed screen. Green then did a nice job of following his blockers in for the score. He nearly didn't make it to the end of the game, when he caught a short reception in the flat early on and took a massive hit to the head on the play. The catch was negated by a holding penalty anyway.