Life as a long snapper in the NFL — hell, in all of football — is a thankless job. For the vast majority of his career, Oakland Raiders snap whiz Jon Condo has been Mr. Reliable. And that’s what makes his botch this past Sunday that much more painful.
Condo’s snap was off, holder and punter Marquette King tried his best, as did kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, but the kick sailed. The gust that was Raider Nation’s swoon at a 16-14 advantage was let out.
“It just seems like when it rains it pours for us right now,” a very somber Condo said in the Raiders locker room. “Nothing has gone right for us.”
It’s easy to pinpoint that play as the difference. Many have.
But no, it wasn’t Condo who allowed the Chargers to march 78 yards in 11 well-executed and deliberate plays for the game-winning 32-yard field goal, 17-16 victory Los Angeles Chargers. At 2-4 overall, the finger-pointing is rabid amongst an equally ravenous fan base.
But there’s no denying the shellshock of seeing the Raiders at the bottom of the AFC West standings. A sight that would have been considered blasphemy a year after a 12-4 season. But alas, here we are.
Let’s hit the quick slants like the Chargers smacked the Raiders:
- The Raiders defense has moments of competence, even brilliance. But all that is eroded by the Chargers methodically and expertly marching down the field for the game-winning field goal.
- Zone defense can be a frustrating thing. L.A. played it well (see Hayes Pullard’s interception); Oakland, not so much. Zone requires defenders to read and react to running backs and receivers coming out of the backfield. There wasn’t enough adequate reaction for the majority of the day. Makes you wonder why Al Davis preferred the man-to-man scheme.
- It’s a fact the Raiders defense hasn’t gotten the help it needs from its offensive counterparts. The unit is on the field at an exorbitant rate. But for many, facts have a despicable name: Excuses.
- Karl Joseph getting turned inside out in coverage by Chargers tight end Hunter Henry and quarterback Philip Rivers was especially deflating. In primary coverage, Joseph allowed passes of 34 and 23 yards on L.A.’s game-winning drive.
- Derek Carr didn’t look any worse for wear. His movement wasn’t limited and even former Raiders QB and current CBS analyst Rich Gannon noted DC was able to twist and fire. The two interceptions were hairy but Carr was able to dink and dunk early on to move the chains. The deep strikes were few and far between, though.
- Marshawn Lynch showed plenty of giddyup when given the rock. Beast Mode galloped for 63 yards on 13 totes. But how’s about removing Lynch as an asset in the passing game? The second of Carr’s interceptions clanged off Lynch’s hands.
- Jack Del Rio was visibly upset and was yelling at his coaches on the sidelines during the Chargers’ game-winning drive. There’s a quote below that might explain why Del Rio was so heated. Did you also notice none of the coaches made eye contact with him?
- Michael Crabtree remains the Raiders’ lone consistent weapon on offense. His 23-yard catch and run was a thing of beauty. It was fitting to see King Crab on the sideline with a Jumpman headband around his neck. Why? Crab looked exactly like the Jumpman logo when he leaped for the TD.
- Hayes Pullard had himself a ball game. The USC alum and L.A. middle linebacker had 10 tackles to go along with the pick off of the Lynch deflection.
- TJ Carrie was very sticky in coverage and was a sure-tackler. His presence at outside corner has made Sean Smith a bench mainstay.
- Marquette King is earning every single dime of his paycheck. Four punts (all pinning Los Angeles inside their own 20) for an average of 55 yards is flipping the field. And that “Lights Out” dance to troll the Chargers was brilliant.
Quote(s) Of Note:
“They ran exactly the plays that we know they run, including the tight end. We were literally calling out the play on that. Guys that are responsible for that have to make the play. It’s unfortunate that we let the back get out a little bit, that we let the tight end get out a little bit. In most cases, it was stuff we prepared for and repped.”
— Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio
“We’re up by two, got them pinned back. Marquette (King) was phenomenal today punting the ball, flipped the field a bunch. You get them pinned back, we have to get a stop. We didn’t get it done. They milked it, they won the game. They earned it.”
— Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio