Brandon Staley proved he has serious depth with stars not on the field. But Raiders head coach Josh McDaniel was more prepared for the Chargers than Staley was prepared for the Raiders.
Tim Daniel NFL Game Scout, Football Writer
LOS ANGELES, CA The Powder Blue Report
The best way to describe a quick scouting report of the Chargers’ 24-19 win over the Raiders is best described by grading what we saw collectively on the field for four quarters.
The Chargers are a superior football team when it comes to positional talent at both sides of the ball. Raiders head coach Josh McDaniel knew what he was facing. He had told the media he knew they had to play an almost flawless game to win. And that almost came to fruition.
McDaniel and his Raiders were prepared. Brandon Staley and Joe Lombardi were not for what the Raiders presented to them.
The Raiders took a lot away from Justin Herbert and Lombardi’s game plan. The pressure put up front, coupled with disguised coverages and some pressure packages, made things tough for Herbert to throw the ball deep. Herbert was outstanding in getting out of the way from pressure and threw the ball away when he had to. But his skill set is so sharp in delivering the ball on the run. There was a reason why he was the best in the NFL last year in completion percentage under pressure.
Offensive Line: C
Considering everything that the Raiders threw at them from a pressure standpoint, Herbert did help the cause for them. The offensive line did a stellar job when it came to recognition and understanding blitzes and stunts. Normally they would get a B+ grade because there were no sacks, but Herbert also helped with that and his athletic ability to get out of the pocket.
The run game was not their best effort. Based on multiple formations upfront, Lombardi was able to move the ball with misdirection. The Raiders wanted to stop Austin Ekeler and eliminate him as a dual threat running and catching the ball. That they succeeded at. I do not believe Lombardi did a very good job in making an overall great adjustment to what McDaniel and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham were presenting them.
Well, we now know that the Chargers are deep at receiver. With Keenan Allen leaving the game with an injury, and Mike Williams a no-show, the depth of the Chargers at receiver and tight end favorably presented themselves on Sunday. DeAndre Carter and Joshua Palmer were outstanding in taking over the threats of Allen and Williams being off the field.
Running Backs: B-
The backfill never really had a chance. The Raiders were prepared to stop Ekeler and stop the run. That included catching the ball out of the backfield for not only Ekeler but Joshua Kelley. Based off talent versus talent, the Chargers should have realistically run for 125 yards but the defensive game plan for the Raiders was a very good one.
Defensive Line: A+
This is an easy one to grade. Up front the Chargers held the Raiders to 64 yards rushing, and the greatest offseason acquisition in the NFL, even over Davante Adams, was Khalil Mack. Mack had six tackles and three sacks. Money worth spending. Bosa had three tackles and 1 1/2 sacks and overall, the Chargers had five sacks on Derek Carr. The perfect game plan against the run by the Chargers.
Overall, the linebackers and defensive line game plan to put pressure on Derek Carr was almost flawless. The one player I wanted to watch was former first-round draft pick, Kenneth Murray. Considering his injury last year, his lateral movement was great. Flowed well to the boundary and the ball and he made great plays when he had to.
Defensive Backs: B
Overall, defensive coordinator Reynaldo hill did an outstanding job game planning the Raiders. You have a confident and solid Derek Carr who finally has the best receiver in the NFL to throw to, plus other great weapons. The only thing that kept the secondary from having an A grade was a couple of blown coverage. Adams creates mismatches and issues in the secondary with great route running. What should give the secondary an A+ is free safety Darwin James who was not only very good against the pass, but he was part of a outstanding blitz package that caused havoc for the Raiders the entire game.
Special Teams: B-
I do not know what it is about the Chargers and special teams, but mediocrity seems to go hand in hand. A missed field goal that should have been made, takes points off the board. Charger punter JK Scott was excellent putting the ball down inside the 15 with great coverage by the punt team.
This was a huge disappointment to me for the Chargers. This is another one of those games where Brandon Staley was outcoached along with Joe Lombardi. Of course, positive adjustments were made, but I must revert to the talent that is on the field. The Chargers are gifted at all positions, and they play hard which is a credit to Brandon Staley. But they were not prepared for what Hill threw at them, which was a sound defensive game plan and stunt package. Overall Staley and Lombardi was disappointing and there were points and positive yards left out on that field again.