Raiders keep playoff hopes alive with victory over Chargers
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By JOE REEDY
CARSON, Calif. (AP) Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders will go into the final week of the season still having a chance for the playoffs after Sunday's 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers snapped a four-game losing streak.
Oakland (7-8) still has a chance after losses by Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Cleveland. It needs a win over Denver next week and some help for only their second postseason trip since 2003.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he didn't know about the results from earlier games when his kicked off.
"Let's not sugarcoat it, we've been through a lot. To say we are still playing in Week 17 for something, that's unbelievable," said Carr, who completed 26 of 30 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown. "No one thought we would be playing for the playoffs. Let's just keep it real."
Carr gave the Raiders a 14-7 lead with 8 seconds remaining with a 3-yard bootleg off right end. But Carr - whose 86.7% completion rate is his second highest in a game - also got plenty of help from players who have had to step up because of injuries.
Hunter Renfrow had seven receptions for 107 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown on the opening drive. DeAndre Washington started in place of Josh Jacobs, who was inactive because of a shoulder injury, and ran 85 yards rushing on 23 carries. His 5-yard score midway through the third quarter extended Oakland's lead to 21-7.
"That's what great pro football teams and the Raiders are supposed to do. They find a way," Gruden said. "I'm really happy for these guys tonight."
Melvin Gordon scored a pair of 1-yard touchdowns for the Chargers (5-10), who have dropped five of their past six. Philip Rivers was 27 of 39 for 279 yards in what could be his final home game with the Chargers. The 16-year veteran quarterback's contract expires at the end of the season. Keenan Allen had five receptions for 71 yards.
"They dictated the pace of the game. They outplayed us," coach Anthony Lynn said. "We lost too many one-on-ones and critical situations."
The game was tied at 7 late in the first half, but Oakland took control with touchdowns on two straight drives. Carr's run put the Raiders up for good and Washington's score completed a 13-play possession to start the second half which lasted 8:49.
"We were able to give our defense a cushion by getting points on both drives," Carr said.
Michael Badgley's 27-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining brought the Chargers within a touchdown, but Oakland recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Renfrow had to wait until he got in the NFL for his first 100-yard receiving game. The rookie said he didn't have one in high school and the closest he got at Clemson was 93 yards as a freshman.
He got more than half his yards in the first quarter on the 56-yard touchdown from Carr. Renfrow caught it at the LA 47 on a slant route, eluded an arm tackle from Desmond King and outraced Rayshawn Jenkins to the end zone.
"Usually I had like 96, but I'd never get over the hump," Renfrow said. "It was good because we needed it to win."
RAIDERS' PATH TO THE PLAYOFFS
Oakland needs to beat Denver next Sunday, needs losses by the Titans at Houston and Steelers at Baltimore along with Indianapolis beating Jacksonville.
That would create a four-way tie. Oakland would win the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh based on strength of victory and Indianapolis by virtue of its win in Week 4. The Colts would eliminate Tennessee by having a better division record.
It was the Chargers' final game in Carson before they move into the new stadium at Hollywood Park next season with the Rams. They were 11-11 over three seasons in the 27,000-seat facility built for soccer and 2-5 this year.
Even though the schedule listed it as a Chargers home game, the crowd was predominately silver and black.
"Everyone kept saying last week was our last home game, it wasn't," Carr said. "Every time we come here it is a home game. We didn't use the silent count, they did. We wanted to make sure we came out of this week and took care of business for our fans."
Rivers said some of the Chargers have gotten used to being a visitor on their own field and hopes that changes when they move into their palatial new home.
"Being someone that remembers what it used to be like in home games, it's pretty bad. It's disheartening to say the least," he said. "I don't think all our guys understand that, but the guys that have been here a long time certainly know what it used to be like.'
Raiders conclude the regular season next Sunday at Denver. Oakland won the first meeting 24-16 in Week 1.
Chargers: wrap up the year at Kansas City next Sunday. Los Angeles has dropped 10 of its last 11 against the Chiefs, which included a 24-17 loss in Mexico City in Week 11.
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Updated December 22, 2019