During the Los Angeles Chargers final home game at Dignity Sports Health Park, a highly anticipated amount of silver and black packed the stands for one final time to cheer on the visiting divisional rival Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders came in needing a win to keep its playoff hopes alive and did just that, defeating the Chargers 24-17 on Sunday afternoon to close out the home finale for Los Angeles in Carson.
“They played harder than us,” said Chargers running back Melvin Gordon. “There’s not much more you can say … In the first half, we just didn’t come out with a passion. It showed. They hopped on us and we couldn’t get the lead back.”
The Chargers (5-10) rushed for only 19 rushing yards on 16 tries, while the Raiders (7-8) had 99 and converted seven first downs in the run game.
“They dictated the pace of the game. They outplayed us,” Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn said. “We lost too many one-on-ones and critical situations.”
Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers finished 27 of 39 for 279 yards, while wide receiver Keenan Allen and tailback Austin Ekeler combined for 10 receptions for 129 yards for the Chargers.
Neither team was able to force a turnover on the defensive end, but it was the Raiders who still managed to control time of possession (33-27).
Rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow led Oakland with seven receptions for 107 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown to give the Raiders an early 7-0 advantage in the first quarter.
Raiders play caller Derek Carr had a 95 percent passer rating and completed 26 of 30 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown and rushed for an additional score. Backup running back DeAndre Washington had 85 yards rushing on 23 carries and touchdown while filling in for starting rookie tailback Josh Jacobs.
With 1:54 remaining in the second, Gordon rushed for a one-yard score to tie the game up at 7-7, but Carr then responded with a three-yard scamper to take a 14-7 advantage at the half.
“Everyone kept saying last week was our last home game, it wasn’t, Carr said on the well traveling Raiders crowd. “Every time we come here it is a home game. We didn’t use the silent count, they did. We wanted to make sure we came out this week and took care of business for our fans.”
In the third, Washington capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive on a five-yard rushing score to give Oakland a commanding 21-7 lead.
However, three minutes later, Gordon rushed for another one-yard score to inch Los Angeles closer, but it would not be enough. The Raiders added a field goal in the fourth and the Chargers failed to find the end zone once more, which resulted in a 24-17 defeat.
“I caught myself trying to pump up the crowd today after I scored,” Gordon later said. “I realized it was all black jerseys and I was like, ‘Man, it’s not a home game.”
The Chargers lopsided home crowds ultimately led to an 11-11 record in the stadium first known as StubHub Center during their first two seasons in LA.
“You appreciate the Chargers fans that are out there. But it is disheartening to say the least,” said Rivers. “I don’t think all our guys understand that. But the guys that have been here a long time certainly remember what it used to be like.”
Los Angeles will now finish the year at Kansas City next Sunday, looking to play spoiler against the first place AFC West leading Chiefs (11-4). Kick-off is scheduled for 10:00 AM.