ReFo: Chargers @ Raiders, Week 5

Steve Palazzolo notes Terrelle Pryor's latest step forward, young receivers emerging in San Diego, and some disappointing defensive line play in this look at the late-night Charger-Raider game from Week ...

| 4 years ago
2013 REFO sd@oak wk5

ReFo: Chargers @ Raiders, Week 5

2013 REFO sd@oak wk5Preseason expectations appear to be in the rearview mirror for the Oakland Raiders, as they surprised division rival San Diego Chargers late last night for the 27-17 win. The Raiders were thought to be devoid of talent coming into the season, but quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s development is one of the league’s top stories as he continues to cement his status as the future in Oakland. It’s still unlikely that they’ll be knocking on the playoff door this season, but their expected contention in the race for the first overall pick appears to be in jeopardy.

On the other side, the Chargers appear to be settling into the ebb and flow of their recent up-and-down seasons. They fall to 2-3 and if their win-one, lose-one trend continues, next week should be happier times in San Diego. Despite a few missteps on Sunday, QB Philip Rivers is playing the best football we’ve seen from him in a while, but the Chargers have holes to shore up on the defensive side in order to make an impact in the suddenly competitive AFC West.

Let’s take a look at the key performances from this division battle.

San Diego – Three Performances of Note

Picking on the Corners

It’s been a rough start for San Diego’s pass defense, and their woes continued on Sunday. Starting cornerbacks Derek Cox and Richard Marshall graded at -1.5 and -3.0 respectively while combining to surrender 160 yards into their coverage. To be fair to Cox, two of his surrendered first downs came on Pryor scrambles which are always a difficult cover, though he was also the culprit on the Raiders’ 44-yard touchdown early in the first quarter. As for Marshall, he allowed five catches on eight targets for 60 yards including a touchdown. He fell down on the touchdown pass to wide receiver Denarius Moore at the 1:35 mark of the first and was later burned by Moore on a go route as Marshall’s pass interference couldn’t even prevent the catch. Throw in two missed tackles and it was not a good day in the San Diego secondary.

Wide Receivers Emerge

Among the positives for the Chargers were the strong efforts from wide receivers Vincent Brown (+2.8) and Keenan Allen (+0.8). Brown’s 117 yards on eight catches don’t even include a negated 30-yard touchdown that came on a nifty hitch-and-go route. He snuck past FS Charles Woodson for a 51-yarder with 0:59 to go in the third quarter and six of his eight catches went for first downs. Allen played a career-high 75 snaps as he didn’t come off the field, and he caught six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. He took a slant route and broke a tackle from CB Mike Jenkins on his way in for his score, while narrowly missing out on another touchdown that was overturned on replay. This marks the second strong game for Allen as QB Philip Rivers continues to grow with his new targets.

Defensive Line Controlled

Among the other early-season issues for San Diego has been the sub-par play of their front three. Defensive end Corey Liuget had been disappointing through four games, but he was the lone bright spot on Sunday grading at +3.8 overall including a +2.0 run grade and four stops. Beyond him, however, DE Kendall Reyes (-2.3) and NT Cam Thomas (-2.5) failed to make an impact. Reyes was moved throughout the game by the right side of Oakland’s line, while Thomas had his problems with both guards. Neither player recorded a stop while Reyes recorded all four pressures between the two, though they were largely of the clean-up variety rather than from dominant play. The defensive line looked like it was filled with youth and potential coming into the season, but continued underachieving will be a major hindrance for the Chargers as the year progresses.

Oakland – Three Performances of Note

Raiders Have a QB

As mentioned, Pryor’s development is the story of Oakland’s season, and he put together his second straight strong effort. He graded at +2.0 overall and he set the tone early with the 44-yard touchdown strike to WR Rod Streater. As impressive as Pryor’s development within the offense has been, he made two beautiful throws when forced to improvise, first with 1:16 to go in the second quarter as he rolled out to hit Moore along the sideline and then at the 7:03 mark of the fourth quarter when he broke out of a sack and made a similar throw down the sideline to WR Brice Butler. Pryor completed 18 of his 22 aimed passes while grading at +2.5 on those throws. However, there were some negatives to Pryor’s game, perhaps our weekly reminder that he’s still in his first full season as a starter. He held onto the ball too long at times, taking two unnecessary sacks and trying to pass the ball while in a defender’s grasp, which predictably resulted in a fumble. Overall, the positives have won out in the his past two games, and as the rookie mistakes start to get sorted, Pryor has a lot of potential with which to work.

Right Side Protection

The Raiders got strong play from the right side of the offensive line as right guard Mike Brisiel and right tackle Matt McCants graded at +3.2 and +2.2, respectively. Brisiel surrendered two pressures on his 32 pass blocking snaps while grading at +2.1 as a run blocker. As mentioned, he had success sealing Reyes and Thomas inside for most of the game. As for McCants, he showed well in his first career start, also surrendering only two pressures on 32 attempts while grading at +1.1 in the run game. He filled in nicely for starter Tony Pashos, who’s also been a pleasant surprise for Oakland this season as the right tackle play has been much better than expected through five games.

Adventurous Day for Burnett

Linebacker Kevin Burnett graded at -1.6 for the game, though it was a night-and-day effort as he notched a +2.3 against the run compared to -3.9 in coverage. He was all over the place in the running game, including making the first contact with RB Danny Woodhead on the Raiders’ goal-line stop early in the second quarter. The issues came in coverage where Burnett was targeted 13 times surrendering 12 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. Three of his four missed tackles also came in coverage. As with many linebackers, Burnett struggled when asked to cover TE Antonio Gates who beat him for five catches for 58 yards, while Woodhead got the better of him for the touchdown, a well-designed shovel pass that caught Burnett just a step out of position. It was an eventful day for Burnett who was back to a full-time role this week playing 74 of the Raiders 75 snaps.

Game Notes

–  Chargers rookie OT D.J. Fluker had a perfect day in pass protection on his way to +3.2 overall grade, while fellow rookie Manti Te’o played a career-high 44 snaps grading at +0.6.

–  Pryor completed all three of his deep pass attempts (20+ yards in the air) for 99 yards and a TD.

–  Rivers was pressured on only nine of his 50 drop-backs, completing 4 of 7 for 30 yards an INT and a QB Rating of 28.0

PFF Game Ball

Though it wasn’t perfect, Terrelle Pryor was the difference in the game as he made big-time throws to give the Raiders the victory and hope for the future.


Follow Steve on Twitter.

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Dartridge MacTanion

    Obviously it’s early, but do you think the Giants wish they’d kept McCants?

  • dave

    Who is this guy posting about the Giants?STFU. Butter up the bolts as much as you want, we EXPOSED them as weak. Te’o? A twink who got beat and got penalties.Um, examine Phil(howdy-doody”) Rivers’ stats. MUAHAHA!!

    • alanso

      Te’o twink? Is that why he man-handled the real twink TE Rivera and toss him around like a ragged doll for the “penalty”? Rivera talked like you and got his mouth shoved into the ground and was limited to absolutely no catches, that’s right, Pryor’s first incomplete pass was from Rivera getting lit up, 6’6” twink!! Punk and Pryor had nowhere to run because Te’o kept that lanky bum from running more than ten.

      Rivers stats? Try 400 yds for 3 touchdowns, now go eat a twinkie ya twink.

      • El Tato

        – Rivera is not 6’6: he is 6’2 240 pounds.
        – Pryor made defenders look dumb.
        – Rivera didnt have “absolutely no catches”: just watch the game stats.

        You really were impresed by Teo?

        • alanso

          The only reason Pryor look better than he really does is because he has some wheels(4.3) 40 yard dash, he’s faster than RG3(4.4) and R.Wilson(4.5) when scrambling or running the route and they have absolutely destroyed many defenses since last year.

          Why would you expect any less when Pryor runs boots or run-option? Fact is the front 7 got all up in his face and he was severely limited in terms of picking up yards and burning the front 7, for 1 he came in the game with a 7 ypc average, and he consistently ran 20+ yards in his past 4 games barring, at the end of the day, he was limited to 2 yards per carry and was completely shut out in the 2nd half.

          He only look good because he exploited the cornerbacks who gave Vick, Jake Locker and Matt Shaub career games. So youre wrong he didnt make the defenders look bad, he only made the secondary.

          Te’o was impressive, he played his responsibilities well, attacked when he had openings, did not give up any catch in the short zones and was mirrorring Pryor when he rolled out of the pocket to pick up 20+ but he couldn’t, the front 7 more or less did not have mental gaffes like the Broncos, Colts or whoever was on the Raiders that have made Pryor average 7 ypc.

          • El Tato

            Chargers were in Pryors face? serius?

            Did you see all 5 Raiders OLs were backups? LT Veldheer, LG Bergstrom, C Wizsniewski, RT Watson were out. As were the starting RB and TE. That makes Pryor game even more impresive.

            Te’o was as impressive as any other LB in the game, didnt stand out to me in this game (not saying he is not going to be googd)

          • alanso

            Excuses, Pryor “ran” 31 times, alot of those were because the pocket collapse and he was rolling out to avoid the pressure, doesnt matter if they were backups or werent who let that happen because Ingram, the starting pass rusher got ACL tear b4 the preseason and the freeagency pick up who was suppose to fill in for him, Dwight Freeney was lost for the season in the previous game.

            So the pressures were there and his wheels saved him, Pryor is probably the fastest QB in the league, he even made the safeties look like slow d-lineman and if the corners were even half decent and did not give up 80% of passes thrown their way, you’d be singing a different tune and saying this is the best defense because most likely, Pryor wouldn’t have scored or will his way down the field and he only did that through mostly the passes.

            They played solid defense up front most of the time and you just exposed your bias!

          • alanso

            And yes Te’o is VERY impressive even if its not obvious to you because he’s not doing some flashy interception or badass sack, fact is, the slower Vick and Locker were able to scramble and burn the D when Te’o didnt play the previous games, Locker had a career high run of 30+ yards.

            When Te’o played, the fastest QB who averaged 7 YPC and over 170 rushing yards through 3 games was limited to 30 yards and 2 YPC when he shouldve doubled what he came in with, STATS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

          • alanso

            Locker had a career high of 30+ yards in one scramble****

          • El Tato

            You think Te’o limited him to 30 yards?

            All Chargers defense played to keep him in the pocket.

            Also the fact that they were leading by 20+ points most of the game made the play-calling more conservative with him, dont you think?

          • alanso

            Yes, Te’o being added to the front 7,has shown hes very critical against the scramble as oppose to the 3 backups who allowed Locker to have a career day in scrambling and let Vick run down at will untouch in wide open field.

            Hes there, its hard to run, hes not, they run all day.

            Chargers ran stunts and blitz all night long and made Pryor “run” so nah, Chargers did not keep him in the pocket or whatever youre making up.

            Pryor had no conservative or aggressive plays he just played one tempo from start to finish- he ran the run option, bootleg, tried to pass from the pocket but got sacked or just rolled out and pass, he played in one gear all night long.

            LMAO, it’s like you didn’t watch the game but I am sure you did, that’s just your fan goggles skewing your perception. Good day to you.

          • El Tato

            Did you see the 44 yards TD Pryor tossed from the POCKET?

            Yes, I sure watched the game, can you say the same? After all you said Rivers had 3 TDs and Rivera made no catches… both wrong.

            Good luck next week with Luck and the Colts :)

          • El Tato


            Did you see that OAK won?

            Did you see OAK leading by 20+ points until garbage time?

          • El Tato

            Only starting Raiders OL, Brisiel, had a career game and made the PFF Team of the Week.

            I am obviously a Raiders fan, but if Pryor plays against Redskins we are 3-2, and 5 yards away of being 4-1.

      • El Tato

        Also, Rivers had 2 RDs, not 3.

        • daraider84

          He slinged 3 timely picks as well.


          • daraider84


  • FlyBono24

    I don’t see how Burnett is in the Negative overall. He stuffed Woodhead on 4th and Goal… sacked Rivers once, and was really good overall. Yeah he couldn’t cover Gates but can any LB cover Gates?

    • El Tato

      He was the best defender on a very good defense.

    • FlyBono24

      I can see some little bitch Charger fan is down-voting everyone. Go cry to your mommy.