Raiders Eliminated from AFC West Playoff Race After Loss to Chargers
Following their loss to AFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers, the Oakland Raiders are officially eliminated from the AFC West divisional playoff race. Meanwhile, the Chargers are still fighting for the division win. With only two losses and seven straight wins, they sit just one game behind division leaders Kansas City.
The Chargers have had their best start to a season since 2006 this year. Quarterback Phillip Rivers threw 18/26 for 223 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the win over Oakland. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon now has a touchdown in seven straight games. Only the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley has a longer streak, scoring in nine straight.
One thing that went right for Oakland on Sunday, though, was a fake punt rush in the first quarter. Raiders punter Johnny Townsend reached a top speed of 20.48 miler per hour in his 42-yard rush on the trick play. Neither Alvin Kamara nor Kareem Hunt have reached a top speed that high on any rush this season.
Sunday’s showdown amounted to a low scoring affair in the beginning. The Chargers failed to post any first quarter points for the first time all season. Despite their lack of offense, though, the Chargers defense only allowed the Raiders to score six points the whole game. The Raiders were bold, at times, and even attempted to score on fourth and goal. They only had a yard to go, but were unable to convert nonetheless.
A late first quarter fumble by Oakland allowed the Chargers to tally to their first points of the game in the beginning of the second quarter. Trailing 10-3 at the half, Oakland had a chance to come back and level the manageable seven-point deficit. They did not achieve this, however, and instead let the Chargers put up 10 more points in the second half. Though Raiders safety Marcus Gilchrist was able to intercept Rivers in the third quarter, Derek Carr and the Oakland offense failed to capitalize on the turnover for any points.
With a 1-8 record, it is beyond unlikely that the Raiders will make the playoffs. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the Raiders are projected to land the number one overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Along with an assured top first round pick, the Raiders also hold the 11th overall pick. The additional first-rounder was acquired from the Dallas Cowboys in the trade for receiver Amari Cooper. If one thing is certain about the Oakland Raiders, it is that they’re planning now for the future. As it stands, Oakland will be making five first-round draft picks over the next two years.
Oakland may be out of the playoff race in the AFC West, but that doesn’t mean they will remain a one-win team. They have a solid chance to win more games before the season ends. The Raiders’ remaining opponents are the Cardinals, Ravens, Chiefs, Steelers, Bengals, Broncos and, the Chiefs again. The Broncos, Cardinals, and Ravens all remain under .500 at this point in the season.
The Los Angeles Chargers are red hot thus far this year. If the season were to end right now, the Chargers would reach the playoffs as the fifth seed and land in the AFC Wild Card. Their remaining opponents include the Broncos twice, the Cardinals, Steelers, Bengals, Chiefs, and finally the Ravens. Only their inner-division rivals, the Denver Broncos – as well as the Arizona Cardinals – still hold losing records.
Photo Credit: KRON News via Flickr
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