By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 at 7:51 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Note: Internet difficulties made updating in-game posts impossible . . .
Filed for print . . .
You could sum up the Raiders season in the 12 plays that were run after officials ruled Rod Streater hadn’t held on to what looked to be a 39-yard touchdown pass late in a 26-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.
When replay officials upheld the no-catch with 4:46 to play, the offense continued to fight its way toward the end zone _ getting in its own way with a pair of penalties but eventually ending up with fourth-and-5 at the 6-yard line and 59 seconds to play.
In the end, Matt McGloin’s desperation heave in the face of a blitz slipped through the hands of Marcel Reece in the end zone, and the little engine that couldn’t had lost five straight games and seven of the last eight.
“We’re fighting our butts off and we’re close,’’ center Stefen Wisniewski said. “But we don’t quite seem to make the play when we need to in the fourth quarter.’’
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers completed 19 of 29 passes for 201 yards with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Keenan Allen, Ryan Mathews rushed for 99 yards on 25 carries with a 7-yard scoring run and Nick Novak converted field goal attempts of 27, 48, 28 and 33 yards as the Chargers, 8-7, remained in wild card contention into the season finale at Kansas City.
The Raiders, 4-11, scored on 5-yard run by Darren McFadden and had field goals of 20 and 42 yards by Sebastian Janikowski heading into their last game at home against Denver.
McGloin was 19 of 36 for 201 yards and had a costly interception after the Raiders’ Mike Jenkins had intercepted Rivers. It led to a Novak field goal.
The Raiders were given 10 points on unforced errors. A shotgun snap Rivers never saw was the catalyst for a 58-yard drive resulting in McFadden’s touchdown run. A muffed punt by Allen set up Janikowski’s 20-yard field goal _ with the Raiders failing to produce a touchdown despite having first-and-goal at the 2-yard line.
Any concern felt by players on one-year contracts or coaches worried about their jobs were not alleviated by the manner of defeat. There were too many penalties (12 for 73 yards), too many third-down conversions by the Chargers (6-for-11) and too many missed opportunities.
Allen’s job will be up for review two years into a four-year contract, with general manager Reggie McKenzie meeting with the staff and reporting to Mark Davis. How Davis reacts, given he has no history in the coach-removal business as his late father did, is anyone’s guess.
“I can’t speak for how anyone else thinks or feels,’’ Allen said. “I can only speak for me. Every day we’re trying to win a game. That’s what my focus is, that’s the only focus I can have. It would be selfish of me to think any other way.’’
Asked if the coaching staff and much of the personnel could be shipped out, Wisniewski acknowledged it was possible.
“I really don’t know what they’re thinking,’’ Wisniewski said. “I’ve got another year here so I’m going to show up to work. I don’t know who the coach is going to be, but whoever it is I’ll support ‘em and do my best to lead whatever players are still here.’’
McGloin believes there has been no snowball effect regarding concerns for the future contributing to lack of performance.
“Not in our facility. That’s stuff we can’t control and we can’t worry about that stuff,’’ McGloin said. “We have one game left, and another week of practice.’’
“That’s part of the business,’’ safety Charles Woodson said. “There are a lot of teams going through the same thing. When the season is over, what’s going to happen is going to happen.’’
Veteran linebacker Kevin Burnett tried to be philosophical.
“It’s good to be living, to have another day to come out here and play the game that I love,’’ Burnett said. “Other than that, it pretty much sucks right now. I don’t know how else to put it.’’