Mistakes in all aspects of the game cost them a game they could have won. Sure, some people might make the excuse that without starting wide receivers Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford in the lineup the Raiders were doomed before kickoff, but I know different. It wouldn’t have mattered with the comedy of errors that occurred starting with the opening kickoff.
Here’s why the Raiders lost a winnable game, in no particular order:
- TAIWAN JONES: He started the game by fumbling the opening kickoff, and then botched a double reverse and turned it into a twenty-five yard loss. With the exception of him taking a knee in the end zone every time Nate Kaeding kicked off for the Chargers, Jones never played the rest of the game – and deservedly so. If he can’t be mentally prepared to play in the NFL, he should take his world class speed and run track. Then again, he’d get penalized for dropping the baton in the 4x400 relay. Forget I said that.
- TOMMY KELLY: He played a decent game overall but his two boneheaded offsides calls on one drive allowed the Chargers to score the game’s only touchdown. These calls were momentum killers, and the Raiders for all intents and purposes never recovered.
- GREG KNAPP: I have to put some of the blame on the new offensive coordinator. With targets like Marcel Reece barely getting any touches, Knapp should have called more plays to stretch the field and create more opportunities for other players. By the time the likes of Brandon Myers and Rod Streeter had a chance to get on the stats sheet, it was already too late. The Chargers made adjustments and keyed on Darren McFadden while teeing off on Carson Palmer in the backfield.
- TRAVIS GOETHEL: I have never, ever seen such poor play at one position in my life. Considering I’ve watched JaMarcus Russell miss a five-yard slant pass to Darren McFadden AND Ryan Leaf go 1-for-15 in a game that’s saying a lot. In four plays after long snapper Jon Condo left the game with a concussion, Goethel skidded two snaps along the infield dirt and the other two arrived in Shane Lechler’s hands so late that one of his punts was blocked. If the Raiders pick Condo as their MVP this season, I’m all for it. Without him in the lineup the Raiders don’t have a kicking game.
Even though the Raiders lost the game, there were a few things I liked:
- CARSON PALMER: Even though the offense was limited by Knapp’s play calling, he threw for 297 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. You couldn’t ask him to play a better game.
- DARREN McFADDEN: The Chargers defense stopped the running game but they couldn’t stop him on those short passes he turned into first downs.
- MILES BURRIS: The former SDSU Aztec starred at linebacker in his first NFL game and led the Raiders with eight tackles, some of them for losses. He made me forget about the losses of Kamerion Wimbley and Quentin Groves during the offseason very quickly.
- RICHARD SEYMOUR: Big Rich had a great game, disrupting the Chargers offense every chance he got. If he knee was hurting him, I didn’t notice.
- THE RAIDERS DEFENSE: They held the Chargers to 32 yards rushing and one touchdown, despite the Chargers getting the ball deep in Raiders territory on multiple occasions. Unlike previous seasons, they didn’t quit when they got hopelessly behind. But it’s only Week 1, so we’ll see what happens after a few more weeks.