The San Diego Chargers were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with a Miami Dolphins win on Saturday, however the Chargers were still playing a meaningful game on Sunday taking on the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm. This game was just as important as any for fans, as well as the team, given the intense rivalry between the two clubs.
The Chargers started out hot, striking first with a 47-yard touchdown bomb to Travis Benjamin. The defense got off to a hot start as well. Melvin Ingram forced a fumble that was recovered by Kyle Emanuel. Then the Chargers Trovon Reed intercepted a pass by Derek Carr that was intended for Seth Roberts.
The Chargers defense held Oakland’s hot offense to just 10 points in the first half. Oakland’s only touchdown was a controversial touchdown reception by Michael Crabtree that was initially ruled incomplete, but the call was reversed after official review.
Besides the two touchdown receptions by each team, the first half was a relatively low-scoring affair, with the score tied at 10 going into the half.
The second half was a tough fought battle on both sides of the ball. The Chargers scored the first touchdown of the second half with a 7-yard touchdown reception by Hunter Henry, but unfortunately the Chargers Josh Lambo missed the extra point wide right.
After a series of punts, Chargers running back Kennett Farrow fumbled the ball which was recovered by the Raiders deep in chargers territory. However, the Chargers defense stepped up yet again with a goal line stand, holding the Raiders to just three points, to tie the game 16-16.
On the Chargers ensuing drive, they could not get anything going, and would be forced to punt. The Raiders would muster enough offense to piece together a mediocre drive, enough to get them into field-goal range to put them up 19-16 with only minutes left to play in the game.
The Chargers offense would take the field for one last drive, and immediately got themselves into a fourth-and-15 situation, where Philip Rivers’ final pass would be intercepted by Reggie Nelson to seal an Oakland playoff berth, their first since 2002 and ending the second longest playoff drought in the league.
The Chargers defense played great, limiting Oakland’s offense to only 19 points. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa walked away with a sack apiece, giving hopes to the Chargers pass rush for seasons to come. Not only did the defense limit points, but they continue to come away with turnovers, something that has been lacking from this defensive unit in the last couple of years.
The Chargers will travel to Cleveland next week to take on the winless Browns. Despite missing the playoffs, the Chargers will still be playing to save themselves the embarrassment of losing to a team with an 0-14 record. However, if they do lose, the organization must part ways with Mike McCoy, if he doesn’t get the boot before then.