The Las Vegas Raiders, standing at 7-6, needed to beat the 4-9 Chargers to have a chance at a wild card playoff spot. Things did not go as planned.
How did the Raiders get here?
To qualify for the postseason, the Raiders required a lot of help from other teams in the league. They had to also handle their own business and win out against their remaining three opponents. However, they did not anticipate the Chargers would torpedo their playoff chances before they even got this run started.
Quarterback Derek Carr sustained a groin injury early in the game and Marcus Mariota took over at quarterback. The Oregon standout was quick to take control of the offense and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Darren Waller. Nevertheless, the worst-case scenario took place after an unfortunate interception and a botched field goal at the end of regulation. The game went to overtime, and due to some questionable play-calling, they had to settle for a field goal in their first overtime possession. The Chargers got the ball back and it was up to the Raiders’ defense to make a stand.
While it wasn’t pretty, quarterback Justin Herbert was able to move the ball downfield and secure the game-winning touchdown. With that, the Raiders’ playoff chances in 2020 all but disappeared. The loss dropped them to 7-7 with two games left in the season. Looking back, it was another display of poor play calling, sloppy execution, and an inability to pressure the quarterback. The Silver and Black had more than enough chances to take over this game but squandered them.
There’s nobody to blame but themselves
While it is disappointing to not make it to the playoffs, the Raiders brought this upon themselves. The offense is above average but the defense needs a facelift or even a lobotomy. They have been the epitome of inconsistency and playing to their opponents. That is the only way to explain their victories over the Chiefs and Saints and their losses to the struggling Falcons and Chargers.
Currently, this Las Vegas team’s playoff chances stand at 4.6 percent. This is Jon Gruden’s third season with the Raiders and they have yet to “Return to Greatness.” Gruden gained media notoriety after declaring he was into nightmares on HBO’s Hard Knocks. At this point, he has certainly made that clear as this season is another nightmare fans wish they could forget.
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