The calendar officially turns to 2018 later tonight, but 2017 came to an end for the Oakland Raiders earlier this afternoon as they fell to the Los Angeles Chargers 30-10 at the StubHub Center.
With the loss, the Silver and Black finish a disappointing year with a record of 6-10, after winning 12 games, and earning a berth in the postseason just a year ago. With 2017 in the rearview mirror, the team will now look to 2018, but before our focus shifts to the offseason; here are four, quick observations from today's game.
1. The offense started slow
While the Silver and Black were able to move the ball a little bit in the first quarter, unfortunately for Todd Downing's group, they were unable to put up any points on either of their two, first quarter possessions.
With two outstanding edge rushers in the form of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the Chargers defense has the ability to make life difficult for opposing offenses, and that is exactly what they did, really for most of the game.
While the Silver and Black were able to eventually put up some points, and move the ball with limited success, everything that Derek Carr and Co., got seemed hard to come by.
Give credit to the Chargers defense, they played a strong game when they absolutely needed to, and as a result, the Raiders took their 10th loss of 2017.
2. Melvin Gordon got rolling
Give the Raiders defense a lot of credit; they've been playing a much-improved brand of defense, but unfortunately, come Sunday afternoon, they just didn't have a great answer for Melvin Gordon.
The third-year pro entered Sunday's game at the StubHub Center already north of the 1,000-yard mark, and he certainly didn't slow his pace against the Raiders.
When all was said and done, and the Chargers had started the new year off with a "W," Gordon had not only come close to gaining 100 yards on the ground, but also proved to be a valuable weapon in the passing attack as well, hauling in six receptions by game's end.
Under Assistant Head Coach – Defense John Pagano, the Raiders defense really has seemed to turn a corner, and elevate their productivity, but the fact remains that they just couldn't keep Gordon contained in the regular season finale.
3. The special teams unit had a nice day
Bravo, Brad Seely, bravo.
Special teams is far too often the forgotten aspect of the game, but Sunday afternoon, Seely's group played a vital role in the regular season finale.
Whether it was Marquette King's absolutely stellar coffin corner punt, or Justin "Jelly" Ellis' field goal block that later resulted in points for the Silver and Black, Seely's unit did exactly what they were supposed to do all day, and not only that, they made a tangible, positive impact on the scoreboard as well.
Oh, and Denico Autry also blocked another extra point, albeit it in a losing effort.
Giorgio Tavecchio also handled his business, connecting on a 40-yard field goal, his lone attempt of the afternoon.
The guys on special teams don't always get their due, but today, from top to bottom, they did exactly what they needed to, and they should be applauded for that.
4. Amari Cooper made his presence felt
We all know that things have been up and down for the Raiders offensive in 2017, but, man, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper put on a show in the second quarter.
Facing a 3rd and 22, deep in their own territory, Carr dropped back, stepped into his throw, and found a streaking Amari Cooper who did the rest, hauling in the pass en route to the glorious 87-yard score.
Not only did the second quarter touchdown eventually tie the game, but it infused a shot of energy in a StubHub Center crowd that desperately wanted to behind the Silver and Black.
The AC/DC connection turned out to be one of the lone, bright spots for the Raiders Sunday afternoon, but what a moment it was.