OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The records for the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders are the same after six games. Their moods couldn’t be much different, and that reflects the way these teams arrived at 2-4.
The Chargers pulled out their second consecutive close win after four agonizing losses to open the season, getting a 32-yard field goal from Nick Novak on the final play to hand the Raiders their fourth straight loss, 17-16 on Sunday.
“I think the key thing is, let it build. Let it build and also remind each other, ‘Hey, we’re 2-4. We have a ways to go,'” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “But let it build. Shoot, who cares? Let’s play like we haven’t lost and see if we can win a third. Just approach it that way. I think we’ve done that the last two weeks. I didn’t know 2-4 could feel as good as it feels.”
The Raiders couldn’t feel much worse right now as they have gone from Super Bowl contenders following two straight wins to open the season to last place following their fourth loss in a row.
Even the return of quarterback Derek Carr from a back injury that sidelined him last week couldn’t help the cause. Carr threw for only 171 yards and had two interceptions as Oakland’s potent offense failed to top 17 points for the fourth straight game.
“I’m frustrated. And not in a bad way,” Carr said. “I’m not changing anything I do. I know how to work. I know how to study. I know how to play this game. Everyone has talent, it just comes down to everyone locking in every detail of this offense.”
JUST FOR KICKS: The Chargers lost two games already this season on late missed field goals from former kicker Younghoe Koo . Novak was signed last week and delivered the game-winner in his second game back with the franchise.
“When you do your job well and help contribute to a win, that’s what you dream for, right?” Novak said.
The Chargers were the beneficiaries of a kicking mistake when a high snap from Jon Condo led to a missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio earlier in the fourth quarter, meaning Oakland led only 16-14 heading into Los Angeles’ final drive.
“I have one job to do: snap the ball,” Condo said. “I didn’t make it happen today and I feel bad. The rest of my teammates were out there doing their jobs and I have one job and couldn’t do it. I couldn’t come through today.”
ALL-AROUND BACK: The Chargers focused their offense on Melvin Gordon. He ran 25 times for 83 yards and a touchdown and added nine catches for 67 yards and a score . He carried the ball six times on the final drive, helping run down the clock so the Raiders never got another chance after Novak’s kick.
“You’ve just got to make the most of your opportunities,” Gordon said. “That is all I try to do. Make the most of your opportunities when they come. If there is an opportunity for the ball and it is there, you’ve got to take it.”
ROOKIE DEBUT: The Chargers finally got their first-round draft pick on the field when receiver Mike Williams was active for the first time all season. The seventh overall selection missed all of training camp and the first five games with a back injury. He got limited action against the Raiders but did have a 15-yard catch on a touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter.
“I was a little nervous,” Williams said. “I mean, I tend to get nerves before every game, but just going out there, getting in the rhythm of the game, I felt good. Just going out for the first time and blocking, it felt good.”
QUICK TURNAROUND: The Raiders don’t have much time to figure things out with a Thursday night game against first-place Kansas City on the horizon. Oakland has lost five straight to the Chiefs and has little margin for error to get back to the playoffs.
“One good thing is we get to play on Thursday so I don’t have to soak in it too long,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “That’s the only positive I can probably take out of this.”