Derek Carr

Raiders fire coach Jack Del Rio after 6-10 season

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ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was fired Sunday after his third year when the impressive turnaround job he engineered for his hometown team collapsed with a disappointing six-win season.

Del Rio said owner Mark Davis told him after the team’s season-ending 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday that he would not be retained as coach in Oakland. Del Rio had signed a four-year contract extension last February after Oakland ended a 13-year playoff drought with a 12-win season.

The Raiders followed that up by becoming one of the league’s disappointing teams. Oakland went 6-10 for the second biggest one-season drops in wins in franchise history, leading to Del Rio’s firing and raising speculation that former coach Jon Gruden could be in line for a second stint as Raiders coach.

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Gruden was traded by the Raiders to Tampa Bay following the 2001 season and beat Oakland for the Super Bowl title the following season. He was fired by the Buccaneers following the 2008 season and has been in the broadcast booth since then. ESPN reported Saturday that the Raiders were interested in bringing Gruden back.

Davis has always been intrigued about a second stint with Gruden but it seemed unlikely the franchise would be in for another change heading into this season. Del Rio had been the ninth coach in Oakland since Gruden left but the only one to get the team to the playoffs.

He took over a three-win team in 2015 and immediately changed the culture and helped Oakland win seven games that season. The Raiders had a breakthrough season in 2016 with 12 wins but it ended in disappointment when a broken leg for quarterback Derek Carr in Week 16 cost the Raiders a chance at a division title and led to a first-round playoff loss.

Expectations were high coming into this year with Carr and most of the key offensive pieces back, along with the addition of running back Marshawn Lynch and tight end Jared Cook.

But Del Rio’s decision to fire coordinator Bill Musgrave after last season despite a dynamic offense and replace him with quarterbacks coach Todd Downing backfired.

The offense regressed significantly this season as Carr struggled under Downing’s tutelage and the defense showed no signs of improvement before firing coordinator Ken Norton Jr. after 10 games.

The Raiders had major drops in scoring (26 to 18.8), yards per game (373.3 to 324.1) and committed twice as many turnovers (14 to 28) this season as Carr took a major step back in his development after signing a $125 million, five-year extension in the offseason.

The defense became the first in NFL history to fail to record on interception in the first 10 games of the season and generated only 14 takeaways all season compared to 30 in 2016.

That all led to the decision to fire Del Rio, whose 187 games as a head coach are the most for anyone without a division title in his career.

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Chargers rout Raiders 30-10, but playoff chase falls short

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Philip Rivers passed for 387 yards and three touchdowns, but the Los Angeles Chargers missed out on a playoff berth despite their 30-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Keenan Allen scored on a 27-yard fumble recovery and a 6-yard TD catch for the Chargers (9-7), who won six of their final seven games in their relocation season.

The Bolts needed help from losses by two other AFC teams to become the second team in NFL history to make the playoffs after an 0-4 start, and they were eliminated when Tennessee beat Jacksonville moments after the final gun in Carson.

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Tyrell Williams caught a 56-yard TD pass and Travis Benjamin caught a 62-yard scoring pass for the Chargers, who won nine of their final 12 games. They fought fiercely to overcome their 0-4 start, which included two losses decided by missed field goals on the final snap, but the Bolts couldn’t quite do it.

The Chargers swept their season series with their fiercest rivals and earned their fifth straight win at StubHub Center despite a crowd cheering loudly for the Raiders, who played in Los Angeles County for the first time since moving back to Oakland after the 1994 season.

Those fans had little to celebrate as the Chargers beat down the Raiders, and a handful of silver-and-black fans threw bottles at the Chargers’ defense while it celebrated a fourth-quarter turnover in the end zone.

Amari Cooper caught an 87-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr, but the Raiders (6-10) gave their faithful LA fans little else to cheer. Carr passed for 243 yards as the Raiders wrapped up their 14th non-winning season in the past 15 years amid loud speculation about coach Jack Del Rio’s future.

Rivers became the ninth quarterback in NFL history to surpass 50,000 yards passing, and he tied Fran Tarkenton for sixth place in league history with 342 touchdown passes.

The 36-year-old passer left little doubt he’s still on top of his game with a series of fine long passes, shredding the Raiders’ beleaguered secondary.

After a scoreless first quarter, Allen finished a 99-yard drive for the Chargers by being in the right place when running back Melvin Gordon fumbled for the first time all season. The ball popped in the air and straight to Allen, who took it in for the sixth TD of his Pro Bowl season.

The Raiders answered with a beautiful, long strike down the middle from Carr to Cooper, who took it in untouched.

Williams scored untouched on another long strike down the middle of the Raiders’ defense later in the quarter. Allen then capped the half with an exceptional TD grab on a pinpoint fade pass from Rivers.

Gordon rushed for 93 yards for the Chargers, who finished the scoring in the third quarter when Benjamin went in untouched on another long throw by Rivers.

KEENAN’S HISTORY

Allen finished with nine catches for 133 yards in the latest spectacular game in his Pro Bowl season. He broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s single-season Chargers record on his 101st catch of the season in the fourth quarter.

GET THAT MONEY

Marshawn Lynch finished strong in his first season with his hometown team, getting 101 yards rushing and earning a $600,000 bonus for surpassing 800 yards on the season. He also surpassed 10,000 yards rushing for his career with an 11-yard gain late in the fourth quarter.

INJURIES

Raiders: S Karl Joseph injured his hamstring in the first half. … DL Eddie Vanderdoes had to be helped off the field in the fourth quarter.

Chargers: Backup S Adrian Phillips missed his first game of the season after injuring his ankle last week.

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Cowboys edge Raiders 20-17 by slimmest of margins

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Dallas kept its playoff hopes alive by the slimmest of margins.

Dak Prescott converted a fourth-down sneak by the width of an index card to set up Dan Bailey‘s go-ahead 19-yard field goal, and Derek Carr fumbled the ball inches from the goal line with 31 seconds left to give the Cowboys a 20-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night.

“We know where we’re at, our season is on the line as far as going to the playoffs,” tight end Jason Witten said. “It’s good to just see us find a way to get the result that we did. … Good to get lucky and see the football gods help you out a bit. I’ve certainly been on the other end of it over the course of my years.”

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The first key play came when Cowboys coach Jason Garrett decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 39 with about five minutes left in a tie game. Prescott ran into a pile that took officials time to untangle.

Referee Gene Steratore then called for the chains to come out, but even that wasn’t clear. He then tried to slide what appeared to be an index card between the tip of the ball and the end of the chain. When the card didn’t slide through, Steratore signaled a first down for Dallas (8-6). He said he had decided it was a first down before the odd measurement.

“The final decision was made visually. The card was used nothing more than a reaffirmation of what was visually done,” he told a pool reporter. “My decision was visually done based on the look from the pole.”

That explanation didn’t satisfy Raiders coach Jack Del Rio.

“I had a different viewpoint. I saw air,” Del Rio said. “It was pretty obvious. Again, they do the best they can with a tough job.”

Prescott then hit Dez Bryant with a 40-yard pass that set up Bailey’s short kick with 1:44 to play that gave the Cowboys the lead.

But the game was far from over. The Raiders (6-8) got a gift when Jourdan Lewis committed a 43-yard pass interference penalty on a fourth-and-10 from their own 30. Carr then scrambled on third-and-3 from the 8 and reached out for the end zone. But the ball came loose before crossing the goal line and went out of the end zone for a touchback that all but ended Oakland’s playoff hopes. The Raiders are tied for ninth in the AFC.

“I tried to hold onto it,” Carr said. “It wasn’t like I didn’t try. But there’s obviously a lot of different things . throw it away, kick a field goal, run out of bounds. OK, cool. But in that moment I was just trying to win for my teammates.”

Dallas is in a three-way tie for seventh place in the NFC, a half-game behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot. The Falcons beat the Cowboys head-to-head.

The Cowboys got their third straight win without suspended star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who returns from a six-game suspension next week. But Dallas’ three straight losses at the start of the suspension created a hole the team is still trying to escape.

“We continue to scratch, we continue to claw,” coach Jason Garrett said. “It wasn’t our most perfect performance in any phase of our football team, but the fight was there.”

FAKE IT OUT

The Cowboys took a risk in the third quarter on a fourth-and-11 from their own 24. Punter Chris Jones kept the ball and ran 24 yards for a first down. Dallas then drove down the field and took a 17-10 lead when Prescott ran in from 5 yards out and then was given a shower of drinks thrown by fans in the Black Hole.

MILESTONE THROW

Carr set up Oakland’s first TD with a 32-yard scramble that was his longest run since his rookie year. That led to a 2-yard TD to Michael Crabtree that gave Carr 100 career touchdown passes. He joined Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck as the only players with at least 100 TD passes in their first four years in the NFL. Carr added a second TD pass to Crabtree in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 17.

TAKE IT AWAY

Sean Smith intercepted two passes for the Raiders, doubling the team’s total from the first 13 games. Smith got his first on the opening drive of the game and then added another just moments after Oakland got on the board for the first time. Bruce Irvin hit Prescott on the throw and Smith came up with the floater . He was initially given a TD return on the play but was ruled down by contact on replay and Oakland settled for a game-tying field goal from Giorgio Tavecchio.

INJURIES

The Raiders lost LT Donald Penn (foot) and DT Treyvon Hester (ankle) to injuries in the first half. … Dallas LT Tyron Smith left in the second half with a knee injury.

UP NEXT

Cowboys: Host Seattle on Sunday.

Raiders: Visit Philadelphia on Dec. 25.

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