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Trenton After Thursday- Week 10

Trenton Szeto

Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland Raiders

Thursday Night Football featured an AFC West division matchup between the 4-4 Oakland Raiders and the 4-5 Los Angeles Chargers. The Raiders featured the league’s sixth-best rushing offense while the Chargers have the league’s sixth-best passing offense. Both teams came off wins and looked to put up a good performance to take control of second place in the division under the Kansas City Chiefs. It was a tight game with the lead changing hands multiple times throughout but the Raiders would pull through after forcing a turnover to win 26-24.

Fierce Raiders Pass Rush Prevails

The Raiders came into the game near the bottom of the league in sacks and interceptions, and recorded multiple of both against the league’s sixth-ranked passing offense. The Raiders pass rush started the game off by pressuring Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers on five of his seven dropbacks, sacking him twice and hauling in two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Although the Chargers adjusted on their next drive by changing the gameplan to quick passes and handing off more to Melvin Gordon, the pass rush continued to be a problem for the entire game. Rookies Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell led the front four to five sacks and 11 hits, despite losing Arden Key last week to a broken foot. On the final drive of the game by the Chargers, the pass rush forced Rivers to throw under pressure for six incompletions and contributed to the game-sealing interception as he overthrew receiver Keenan Allen on a desperate fourth down play.

Rivers ended with 17 completions out of 31 attempts for 207 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. 12 of his completions were thrown within 10 air yards, while he completed only five out of 13 passes thrown 10 air yards or deeper. Running back Melvin Gordon was the only bright spot on the offense, carrying the ball 22 times for 108 yards and a touchdown as he continues to improve from a poor start after returning from holdout.

Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs Clutch in Primetime

With their defense pressuring the Chargers into mistakes, Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs continued to lead an efficient offense down the field for scores. Carr completed 21 of his 31 attempts for 218 yards and a touchdown in typical Carr fashion as of late, focusing more on distributing the ball to playmakers than having to force deep throws down field. This consistency would pay off with 13 completions out of 15 attempts within 10 air yards, compared to three completions out of seven passes over 10 air yards. On the final drive of the game, down by four points with four minutes left, Carr led a 10-play drive for 75 yards that succeeded in taking three minutes off the clock, ending in an 18-yard touchdown run by Jacobs. The rookie running back only carried the ball 16 times for 71 yards in the game as the Chargers stacked the box against him on nearly a third of his carries, but he benefited from an offensive line that saw veteran center Rodney Hudson and right tackle Trent Brown returning from their injuries.

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