The Raiders got a sterling performance Thursday from backup quarterback Marcus Mariota. But the inability to score a touchdown in overtime, followed by some defensive blunders on the ensuing possession, helped pave the way to a 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium.
Mariota completed 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 88 yards on nine carries after starting quarterback Derek Carr suffered a groin injury in the first quarter.
Here’s what the Raiders (7-7) said after the loss, which all but eliminates them from playoff contention.
“I’d just like to say I’m really proud of our team. We lost a lot of men tonight, and had a lot of men missing and I thought Mariota came in and did a great job. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t find a way to win that game at the end, it’s on me. I will say I apologize for not having the right hat on. Somebody played a pretty good trick on me. ”
Knowing you guys needed to win and considering the way your defense has played, what went into the thought to kick the field goal in overtime instead of going for it?
“It’s fourth and five. If we got a little bit closer, we would have thought about it. But it was fourth and five. We had them in second at 10, backed up on our own 25, and we had a penalty. A big penalty. But if it was a little bit closer, I would have considered going for it. I know I went for it a few times earlier in the game. But to take the lead with three minutes left, I thought it was the play to make it that time. ”
Could you have expected anything more from Marcus than what he gave you guys tonight?
“It just shows the kind of player and the kind of football character he has. Our offensive coordinator isn’t here either. You lose Derek and then we change gears offensively and Marcus came in and did a great job. Really proud of him. I think that this kind of puts an exclamation point on why we signed him and just wish we could have won the game for him. ”
Any update on the severity of the groin injury that Derek Carr suffered?
“No, I don’t believe it’s a real tear, but obviously if he can’t finish the game, it’s got to be pretty significant. The concussion to (Hunter) Renfrow hurt us a lot also. We’re already missing (Henry) Ruggs. So it was tough. I’m really proud of our coaches and our players. We did a lot of good things tonight but you’ve got to win these tight games and oftentimes that’s a reflection on the head coach. ”
The possession at the end of the first half, what was the approach? You ran the ball on first down …
“We called a play. We weren’t sitting on the ball, we were trying to draw a play that we had great success with if you watched us play the first time against the Chargers. Same play and we thought we had it. I don’t know what happened on the read, but we lost five yards and it was a big, big play in that drive, obviously, getting us off the field. But we didn’t mean to do that. We were going to go up-tempo there, but we didn’t expect to lose five yards on first down. ”
Obviously you’re down five starters on your defense and there aren’t any moral victories, but when you look and evaluate your defense, do you have to keep that in mind also that, ‘hey we’re down five starters’?
“I keep everything in mind, but I have a one track mind, and that involves winning. This is going to help us in some ways, but it’s really painful right now to lose. And we’ve had a lot of tight games go down to the buzzer, and this one was tough. But I am proud of our players, proud of our coaches and congratulate the Chargers. ”
Trayvon (Mullen) has played pretty well for most of this year, but it was a rough day for him. What did you see from him?
“Well, I think the penalties, obviously. We have to eliminate the penalties, and they have a lot of good receivers. They have done a nice job collecting those athletes there and they made some plays. But the penalties were very hurtful and we’ve got to clean that up. ”
What did you see on those last two plays in the first half on defense?
“We’re in a split coverage, a split safety coverage. I’m not going to point fingers at anybody, but we didn’t play the coverage properly and when you make mistakes and you don’t get in the quarterbacks’ face, usually these guys find the open guy and that’s what happened. We did not play a cover two zone very well. It’s happened before this year and it’s hard to admit it again. ”
So when Derek goes down and Marcus comes in, you guys change the offense. What’s that process like, changing offenses on the fly and how difficult is that?
“Well, it’s hard. Obviously we didn’t have an offseason like everybody else and Marcus was out the first nine or 10 weeks of the season, so we haven’t had a chance to really work on a lot of these things. This is just a real credit to the coaches and really a credit to Mariota. He’s a hell of a player and we called some plays we didn’t really practice and we had practiced earlier in the season. But if Derek can’t go, we’re going to always try to do what our quarterback does best, and this guy can really run. He’s a dual threat, and he proved it tonight. ”
Overtime series of plays near goal line?
“It’s always frustrating when you get the red zone area and don’t convert. We were down there a couple of times and we didn’t do that.
Always feel like I should get the ball, that’s my mentality, especially when I feel the game is on the line. I always feel like I should get the ball, but at the end of the day I trust the coaches game plan and we just didn’t go out there and execute today. ”
“He made the defense play honest. The ends couldn’t come chase us down like the last game we played ’em. They had to play their gaps, their responsibilities. He made them play honest. ”
Playoff dream dashed?
“I mean, obviously, that’s frustrating. Trying to go on a journey of where we envision ourselves each year at the start of the year, what we want to do as a team and what we want to accomplish, obviously it’s frustrating. ”
“Tough loss, I feel like the offense played well with Marcus coming in. It’s tough to see Derek go out, No. 1. but yeah, I thought Marcus played great.
“The way Marcus comes to practice every day, he has a good attitude and plays hard. I feel like it’s no surprise to see him play the way he did tonight. Josh was running tough. Receivers making plays, offensive line. They had that look in their eyes in thAt last drive of overtime like they were ready to kill somebody. It was a cool thing to be a part of tonight. I thought the offense played hard. ”
On fading playoff hopes
“It sucks. You want to in these stretches play your best football, but the results haven’t been what we wanted them to be, and you have to live with it. Still proud to be part of this team and love these guys for how hard they work. Just because the results don’t go our way doesn’t mean that I don’t love being a part of this team and love what this team stands for, But it sucks. ”
Frustrating to not score a touchdown in overtime?
“You’ve just got to execute. Whatever play is called, we have to execute it. You’d love have a touchdown there and finish the job as an offense. But we just didn’t do that. We didn’t execute those plays like we wanted to. That’s what football is about. It’s a team game, it’s a complementary game and I’m going to believe in the defense every time they step out there in those situations, whether things go our way or not, I choose to believe in those guys and I’ll choose to believe in them every time. ”
“To be real, I didn’t even feel like playing tonight, honestly. A good friend of mine passed away yesterday. A teammate of mine in Baltimore, his name was Lorenzo Taliferro. I had no juice today. I thank God, I thank people that support me, for speaking life into me today and telling me to go out there and play and represent him, and have him on my mind when I was playing. I feel like just him and his presence and what his time on this earth meant to me, is what motivated me to play football with a sense of urgency and I just live being part of this team, like I said before. It’s fun to come to work, it’s fun to prepare, because I know I’ve got guys on this work that are going to put it all on the line. I’ve got a lot of good things to be thankful for and good reasons to go out and play football. ”