LAS VEGAS — The Chargers were overpowered and overmatched in the 63-21 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. It wasn’t a typical loss. It was a beat down.
They came out flat with no spark or juice.
“I didn’t do anything well enough to get us ready to play,” Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said following the game.
There have been questions surrounding the future of Staley and general manager Tom Telesco since the debacle in Jacksonville last January.
They became even louder on Thursday night.
After the loss, Staley was asked if he felt he would still be the head coach on Friday.
“I don’t know that,” he answered.
When asked if he should remain, he gave a quick “Yes.”
“I know what I’ve done here for three years, I know what I’ve put into this,” Staley said. “I know the type of coach I am.”
This is just a hard outcome to overcome. They were down 42-0 at halftime.
Usually, terms like “Chargers are going to Charger” or “Same ol’ Chargers” describe this team, but it was something different on Thursday.
“Embarrassing,” safety Derwin James said.
On their opening drive, the Raiders converted three third downs of two, three, and ten yards. The big one was to tight end Michael Meyer in the red zone to set up a Zamir White finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
The Chargers lost quarterback Justin Herbert to a fractured index finger last Sunday, so Easton Stick got his first career start.
Stick’s second drive started with some promise as he completed passes of 14 and 13 yards to Jalen Guyton and Gerald Everett. Stick was stripped sacked by Malcolm Koonce on the next play and recovered by Tyree Wilson.
The Raiders turned that into a 30-yard touchdown pass from O’Connell to rookie receiver Tre Tucker.
The following Chargers’ offensive drive, Joshua Kelley takes the handoff for four yards but coughs the ball up after he is stripped by Marcus Epps former Charger Jerry Tillery recovered it.
The Raiders made them pay when O’Connell threw a beauty to Jakobi Meyers for the 22-yard touchdown.
Jumping out to a 21-0 start in the first quarter after being held to zero points by the Vikings the week before is not a good look.
“It got ugly fast, man,” edge rusher Khalil Mack said. “We didn’t do enough.”
Three drives later, the Chargers defense forced a three-and-out on the offense. Returner Derius Davis has the ball ripped out of his hands on the return by DJ Turner, and Raiders recovered on the Chargers 14.
O’Connell hits a wide-open Mayer for a walk in an 11-yard touchdown. 28-0 was the score with 9:15 left in the second quarter.
After a Chargers punt, the Raiders had no issue moving the ball up 65 yards in six plays to put the score at 35-0 after a Brandon Bolden 25-yard touchdown run.
“There is no need to point the finger,” James said. “We are all in this together and I feel like, as players, we can be better and I’m pretty sure the coaches feel like they can be better too.”
The second half wasn’t any better, except they scored on a 79-yard reception from Joshua Palmer, a 13-yard Alex Erickson catch, and a six-yard Quentin Johnston touchdown.
The Raiders continued to capitalize on mistakes like the second-strike sack of Koonce on Stick. This one was returned for a touchdown by 327-pound defensive tackle John Jenkins 44-yards, and no one ran after him.
During the next Chargers drive, Raiders cornerback Jack Jones made an incredible aerial one-handed grab and walked into the end zone.
“We got our asses kicked, plain and simple,” running back Austin Ekeler said while we walked past the media. “That is all I got for you.”
O’Connell finished 20-for-34 for 248 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Davante Adams was questionable coming in with an illness and he had eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Seven different Raider players scored a touchdown.
The Chargers turned the ball over five times. The offense and special teams turned the ball over. The Raiders scored five touchdowns off those five turnovers.
“Everything could have gone wrong in all three phases,” Staley said.
Thursday night’s result should indicate to Chargers owner Dean Spanos and President of Football Operations John Spanos what must come next.
After this performance, how can the Spanos family justify keeping the general manager or head coach?
Will they? Who knows, but after Thursday night’s national embarrassment, there is no way “business as usual” can happen with the Chargers.
Something has to change. The ball is in their court.
“We just got our ass kicked,” left tackle Rashawn Slater said. “That is all that happened. This is the f****** NFL people get hurt. S*** happens. We have to finish. We have to play better than that.”