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More mistakes lead Raiders to third straight loss

Las Vegas quarterback Aidan O'Connell barks out orders to the offense during his first career start. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

Turnovers continue to be the storyline in the early part of the new year for the Las Vegas Raiders as more mishaps led the team to its third straight loss.

For the second straight year, the Raiders lost to the Los Angeles Chargers, 24-17, Sunday, Oct. 1 from SoFi Stadium. Thirteen of the last 15 meetings in this rivalry has been decided by seven points or less.

“Obviously, they made a couple more plays than we did,” head coach Josh McDaniels said. “We’re going to have to clean up some of the things that we’re doing to put us in those situations so we don’t have to feverishly scramble back at the end and try to win it at the very last second.”

Through four games this season, Las Vegas has yet to score 20 points in a given contest.

Next week, the Raiders will return home for a Monday night matchup against the Green Bay Packers with kickoff set for 5:15 p.m.

With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo out due to a concussion, McDaniels and company opted to start fourth round draft pick Aidan O’Connell.

“We were getting ready for any situation,” McDaniels said. “He had an opportunity to take reps everyday and had an opportunity to go out there and do some of the things we were going to do in the gameplan and because of that we felt like we’d keep [backup Brian Hoyer] in the role he’s in and give Aidan a shot.”

O’Connell’s first career start went relatively without a hitch through the first 15 minutes as he went perfect through the air and scored his first career touchdown on the ground. This marked the rookie’s first regular season action after logging significant minutes in the preseason.

Several Raiders offensive lineman pick up rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell after he scored his first career touchdown at SoFi Stadium. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

“Obviously, there’s different players out there,” he said. “Kudos to the Chargers, they did a good job mixing things up a little bit and disguising things a little bit. I think I’ve just got to do my job better.”

About midway through the second quarter, O’Connell recorded his first incompletion. That would mark the start of his ensuing uphill climb as he committed three turnovers in the final three quarters including a vital one on the team’s final offensive possession of the game.

O’Connell threw a late regulation interception to kill what appeared to be a promising Raiders drive. The interception goes down as the team’s third red zone turnover this year after having just two all of last season.

“They played some type of man-to-man coverage,” McDaniels said. “It’s a common situation down there. Just trying to give ourselves an opportunity.”

Both of O’Connell’s other turnovers came in the second quarter after fumbling on two different sacks from former Raider defensive end Khalil Mack.

“I’ve got to play with better timing,” O’Connell said. “Just holding onto the ball too long, I’ve got to get through my reads faster and do a better job of doing that quickly to get the ball out of my hands.”

In fact, Mack turned in a career-high six sacks, becoming the fifth player in league history to accomplish the feat. The three Las Vegas turnovers turned into 14 Los Angeles points.

“He’s a great player,” McDaniels said. “There was a number of snaps where there were multiple people assigned to him and him only. And to be able to do some of the things he did, I mean, give him credit.”

In his first career start, O’Connell went 24-for-39 with 238 yards and an interception.

Las Vegas running back Josh Jacobs races down the sideline during the team's Week 4 loss to Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

O’Connell had an early scary moment after losing No. 1 target Davante Adams in the second quarter after a hard fall on his right shoulder. While he’d stay in the locker room for the remainder of the frame, Adams would return to play in the second half.

Late in the third quarter, Adams posted his first catch of the day on his second target. Coming into the game, he was averaging more than 107 receiving yards per game.

On the scoring drive that cut the deficit to one possession, Adams hauled in five catches for 41 yards on the drive. Additionally, he was responsible for a 19-yard reception on a last-gasp 4th and 10 on the team’s final drive of the game.

Running back Josh Jacobs turned in 100-plus scrimmage yards for the first time this season, recording 139 total yards on 25 touches. He scored his first touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter to trim the Charger lead to seven.

“I thought he played really hard,” McDaniels said. “He’s ready to contribute in every area that he can.”

Los Angeles Justin Herbert was riding a 14-touchdown, one interception stat line against the Las Vegas franchise coming into the day. Herbert scored from 12 yards out on the ground to open the scoring on the day following a 52-yard run earlier on the drive by rookie Derius Davis.

As a team, the Chargers rushed for 93 yards in the first quarter without starting running back Austin Ekeler. Moreover, the team rushed for 30 total yards all of last week.

Raiders defensive lineman Maxx Crosby wrestles around a block in hot pursuit of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

Still using his legs, Herbert was cracked on the sideline by former teammate and current Raider defensive lineman Jerry Tillery as he ran out of bounds. Tillery was flagged for unnecessary roughness and would be disqualified from the game.

“The big penalties are big for a reason,” McDaniels said. “They hurt you, whether it be a close play on the sideline and I think we had one on our turnover where we had a block on the interception return that cost us some field position.”

Herbert would finish the day 13-for-24 with 167 yards, three total touchdowns and an interception. Late in regulation, he completed the game with a splint on his left middle finger after hurting it earlier in the fourth quarter.

Near the conclusion of the third quarter, Las Vegas recorded its first takeaway of the season after intercepting Herbert on a 3rd and 10. It also went down as the first interception of the season from the former Oregon Duck.

Defensive lineman Maxx Crosby nearly forced a fumble on the first Los Angeles drive of the game but it would be called back due to an offsides penalty. He’d still finish with two sacks on the day.


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