Raiders end sour season with one last bite of the rotten apple
Long gone are the images of Marshawn Lynch dancing away his cares midway through a Week 2 beatdown of the New York Jets, replaced with those of a trio of celebrating Los Angeles receivers.
Oakland did nothing but tumble after a 2-0 start, going 4-10 since.
The dumpster fire campaign came to a merciful end Sunday with a 30-10 throttling at the hands of the playoff hopeful Chargers (9-7), leaving a very noteworthy individual achievement by Lynch as the lone bright spot for the Raiders (6-10) in their season finale.
There were some positives early for Oakland, but momentum retention proved to be an impossibility.
Early in the second quarter of what to that point had been a field-position battle, Marquette King laid down a pearl pinning the Chargers inside of their own 1 yard line. In just nine plays, the field position was turned on its ear.
Reggie Nelson forced a fumble from the secure hands of Melvin Gordon, but Keenan Allen was there to snatch the rock out of the air and scamper 24 yards for the game’s first score. It was a microcosm of the season’s efforts for the Raider defense: it was constantly able to create opportunity but was entirely unable to capitalize. The unit finished the season recording just 14 takeaways, one year after a 30-takeaway season.
Gordon finished the afternoon galloping for 93 yards on 17 totes. An impressive performance, but nowhere near the afternoon’s top from a runner.
Lynch finished his first season with his hometown Raiders powering to 101 yards on 19 carries. His 891 rushing yards are the fewest he has had in a full season since 2010, they were however enough to eclipse the 10,000-yard mark for his career making him the 31st member of that exclusive club — LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore are the only fellow active members.
The man known as “Beast Mode” did not find the endzone, though, leaving the scoring to Amari Cooper who reached the painted grass from 60-plus yards for a second time in as many weeks. Answering Allen’s touchdown, Cooper hauled in his first of three catches sprinting 87 yards to the house.
Giorgio Tavecchio drilled a 40-yard field goal to give Oakland a three-point lead at the midway point through the second quarter.
It was the Charger show the rest of the way, though, with Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles offense scoring the game’s final 23 points, including a pair of far-reaching touchdown tosses from the future Hall of Famer. Rivers brought his 14th NFL season to an end — with the Chargers’ late elimination from playoff contention — passing for 387 yards and three scores — 55 yards to Tyrell Williams, six yards to Allen and 62 yards to Travis Benjamin.
Derek Carr was unable to keep pace, putting an exclamation mark on his season of regression with 243 yards through the air. He was also picked off once.
It was a season that no member of the Raiders roster, coaching staff or front office will be in any kind of rush to remember, nor was it a game any will add to the highlight bank. But, if nothing else, all of Oakland was able to rejoice in the monumental mark reached by one of its sons.