The Oakland Raiders had a chance to spur a potential comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 5. Unfortunately, an ill-advised call by head coach Jon Gruden has resulted in a 1-4 start to the 2018 NFL season.
Needless to say, Gruden has received scathing criticism for opting to throw on first-and-goal instead of handing the ball off to Marshawn Lynch. According to Jason Owens of Yahoo Sports, he revealed his thought process at the time:
“We hadn’t thrown the ball in a goal-to-go situation all year,” Gruden told reporters. “It was first-and-goal. The decision there was to throw it, and if it’s not open, you throw it away. It just didn’t work out.
Gruden may have thought he was being witty by taking an unexpected approach so close to the end zone. Unfortunately, it is clear that his decision backfired on him after Derek Carr threw it into the hand of Melvin Ingram. His comments also seem to indicate a shift in blame towards Carr, however, it is a situation that could have been totally avoided in the first place.
Gruden’s decision was awfully reminiscent of when Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll also decided to throw at the goal line during Super Bowl XLIX. Even Lynch could not help but acknowledge the parallels between both instances. However, the veteran has largely avoided stoking the fire of what was a terrible call.
Perhaps there is a certain sense of blame to be shared by Carr. He was adamant upon Lynch’s signing that there would be no question about where the ball is going in that situation. Now his comments have just contributed to the irony of the whole situation. Regardless, it is clear that the Raiders have much bigger concerns after their disastrous start to the year.