Down 20-3 to the Chargers in the third quarter Sunday, the Raiders put together a 74-yard drive and threatened to make it a two-possession game. A defensive pass interference penalty gave Oakland first-and-goal at the one-yard line. Marshawn Lynch was lined up in the backfield. Yes, this is all very familiar.
Here’s what they did:
Ah. Very cool. After Melvin Ingram picked off Derek Carr and the play concluded, Lynch took off his helmet and considered smashing it into the ground. Even if the defense was expecting a run on first down, why not call one anyway, when you’ve got an incredibly powerful back who can break tackles?
After the 26-10 loss, head coach Jon Gruden said that the play was designed for the QB to throw it away if he didn’t find a wide-open receiver, which was the ideal result of a play-action on first down. No shit:
“We haven’t thrown the ball in a goal-to-go situation all year. It was 1st-and-goal. The decision there is to throw it, and if it’s not open, you throw it away,” Gruden said. “It just didn’t work out. We expected to have a wide-open receiver on the play, and obviously that’ll be second-guessed, and rightfully so. But shouldn’t have made that throw down there and I’ll live to hand the ball off on the next play, possibly.”
As the Mercury News pointed out, the Raiders have been in this one-yard line situation four times this season, including this one. On the two plays in which Lynch ran the ball, he scored. Carr, for his part, said he didn’t want the goal-line offense to be too predictable.
“With Marshawn Lynch, we love to give him the ball,” Carr said, “but we had shown some things and they showed on film that this should be good and obviously they covered it and it didn’t work out, but it’s been five games now where we’ve just — pow, pow, pow — so you have to throw a play action or else they’re all going to commit on him and it’s going to get stuck.”
Making this funnier/sadder was that in the summer of 2017, Carr explicitly laid out how he wouldn’t do exactly what he did because the Raiders now had Lynch.
Lynch was better at hiding his justified irritation this time around. Maybe it’s because he’s on a one-win team that isn’t playing in the Super Bowl.
Although this stat annoyed him, it’ll come in handy if he wants another contract after this season: