Novak's late kick leads Chargers past Raiders 17-16
By JOSH DUBOW
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) This time the field goal went in for the Los Angeles Chargers, and it was the opponent wondering what went wrong on a key kick.
Nick Novak kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play of the game and the Chargers took advantage of a key missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio after a bad snap to beat the Oakland Raiders 17-16 on Sunday.
The Chargers (2-4) had been done in by poor kicks this season, losing twice on misses by former kicker Younghoe Koo . Novak missed a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter, but delivered when it counted most.
"When you do your job well and help contribute to a win, that's what you dream for, right?" Novak said "Shoot, that 48-yarder I missed? That happens. I wish I would have made that. But more importantly, you've got to bounce back and make all those extra points, and continue to do my job."
It was the missed extra point by Tavecchio - after a high snap by Jon Condo early in the fourth quarter - that was the difference in a fourth straight loss by the Raiders (2-4).
"I have one job to do: snap the ball," Condo said. "I didn't make it happen today and I feel bad. The rest of my teammates were out there doing their jobs and I have one job and couldn't do it. I couldn't come through today."
Philip Rivers took over at his 8 with 4:09 to play and used two long passes to Hunter Henry to move the Chargers into field-goal range. Five straight runs by Melvin Gordon and two kneeldowns moved the ball to the 14 and drained the clock, setting the stage for Novak's winning kick.
"You can't treat it like a normal backed-up drive, where you go, `All right, let's just try and get us a little bit of room and try to get a first down, and see what happens,'" Rivers said. "We got to go win the game."
The Raiders had taken the lead on a 47-yard end-around by Cordarrelle Patterson but that and the return of quarterback Derek Carr weren't enough to end this slide. Oakland last lost four in a row during an 0-10 start in 2014.
Carr, who missed last week's game with a broken bone in his back , threw for just 171 yards and a touchdown. He also had two interceptions on miscommunications and mostly settled for short passes.
"That's the frustrating thing," Carr said. "I'm really frustrated. We work way too hard for that kind of stuff to happen."
Rivers went 25 for 36 for 268 yards with one touchdown. Gordon gained 150 yards from scrimmage and scored twice.
The Raiders appeared in good shape when Dexter McDonald forced a fumble by Tyrell Williams that was recovered by David Amerson and the offense crossed midfield looking to build on a three-point lead. Coach Jack Del Rio opted to go on fourth-and-2 from the 41, but Carr threw an incomplete pass. Rivers then drove the Chargers to the go-ahead score on a 6-yard pass to Gordon.
Carr got off to a rough start in his return to the field, throwing an interception to Trevor Williams on his first pass of the game. The play didn't cost the Raiders because Novak missed that 48-yard field goal. Carr then rebounded in his next drive and capped it with a 23-yard TD pass to Michael Crabtree .
The Raiders' defensive issues on third down returned on a TD drive by the Chargers late in the first half. Rivers converted three third downs of at least 7 yards on the series and Los Angeles tied the game at 7 when Gordon leaped into the end zone on fourth down from the 1.
Chargers: Host Denver on Sunday.
Raiders: Host Kansas City on Thursday night.
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Updated October 15, 2017