The Los Angeles Chargers had things right where they wanted them.
Well, those things weren’t where they wanted them when the 2019 season kicked off, but after a 2-5 start, they couldn’t have asked for anything better following back-to-back victories. A win over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football would put them back at .500.
They would have been right back in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Things were set up nicely. Now, not so much.
The Chargers fell to the Raiders 26-24 and now drop to 4-6 on the season, sitting back toward the bottom of the AFC standings. Wow, what a difference a few days makes.
On Sunday, the Chargers were dominating the 7-1 Green Bay Packers in every facet of the game. Because of that impressive win, they were definitely going to beat the Raiders, right?
So what was the difference?
Melvin Gordon cracked the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time this season. The defense played well for the most part and it just felt like the Chargers were the better team and were going to be ahead on the scoreboard at the end.
Philip Rivers threw two quick interceptions to start the game, one of which was returned for a touchdown. In addition, the offensive line was just getting dominated by the Raiders’ defensive line.
Russell Okung left early with a groin issue, leaving the Chargers without each of their starting tackles in this game. Trent Scott and Trey Pipkins were left to man those positions and they struggled.
Still, the Chargers scored a touchdown with four minutes left in the game to go up 24-20 on a 6-yard pass from Rivers to Austin Ekeler. The Raiders got the ball and went on a terrific drive.
That drive consisted of 10 plays and traveled 75 yards. On 3rd-and-1 from the Chargers’ 18-yard line, Josh Jacobs found a huge hole in the middle and scored what would be the game-winning touchdown.
But after Daniel Carlson missed the extra point, the Chargers could have won the game with a field goal. Though there was only 1:02 left on the clock, the Chargers had all three of their timeouts.
But that offensive line just could not buy Rivers enough time to find his receivers down the field. Rivers attempted seven throws on the Chargers; final drive and all seven fell incomplete. On several of those throws, he was just throwing it up and hoping someone would come down with it.
Finally, someone did come down with it, but he was wearing a Raiders jersey. That was Rivers’ third interception of the game and that one put it on ice.
This is a terrible loss for the Chargers who will have the next 11 days to stew on it. The team will return in Week 11 to host the Kansas City Chiefs.