OAKLAND, Calif. — Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy said what every fan was thinking after his team blew yet another second-half lead in a 34-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders Sunday afternoon.
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something like that happens,” McCoy said in the post game news conference.
Just like every other game during the 2016 season, the Chargers held a second-half lead. And just as they’ve done in all except one, the Chargers found a new way to lose in heart-breaking fashion.
The Bolts took a 24-16 lead with 10 minutes left in the third quarter Philip Rivers found rookie tight end Hunter Henry in the end zone from a yard out. It was Rivers’s third touchdown of the day and 291st of his career, moving him past Johnny Unitas and into a tie with Warren Moon for ninth on the NFL’s all-time list.
After an Oakland field goal cut the lead to 24-19, Chargers running back Melvin Gordon fumbled for the second week in a row. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr then connected with Michael Crabtree on a 21-yard touchdown to take the lead.
On the next San Diego possession, rookie punter Drew Kaser – the team’s sixth-round draft pick – sent a punt just 16 yards, setting up another Raiders touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Kaser appeared to suffer an injury on the play and was evaluated by team personal on the sidelines.
Facing a 10-point deficit, the Chargers began to rally. Rivers orchestrated a 12-play, six-minute drive capped off with a four-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates. That cut the lead to three.
The Chargers defense then forced a three-and-out, giving the Bolts four minutes to retake the lead.
But with the offensive facing a fourth-and-one at the Oakland 18-yard-line, McCoy chose to settle for a field goal and a tie rather than go for the win. However, Kaser, serving as the holder for the kick, fumbled the snap, and the Raiders held on for the win.
The loss, the Bolts’ 10th straight against an AFC West opponent, dropped them 1-4 on the season. The Raiders improved to 4-1 and moved into a tie with the Denver Broncos for first place in the division.
The Chargers won’t have much time to absorb their latest collapse; they’re hosting the defending Super Bowl-champion Broncos Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 5:25 p.m.