• Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams, below, stays down on the field after an injury and an incomplete pass in the end zone during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, left, celebrates with teammates cornerback Isaiah Johnson, center, and strong safety Johnathan Abram (24) after the Raiders defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

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  • The Raiders Isaiah Johnson #31 signals no touchdown to the referee after the Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 after catching what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders Isaiah Johnson #31 defends as the Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 catches what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 after catching what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr #4 during their NFL game against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Gabe Nabers #40 celebrates scoring a touchdown with Dan Feeney #66 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders’ Amik Robertson #21 celebrates their victory during their NFL game against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 after catching what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders Isaiah Johnson #31 signals no touchdown to the referee after the Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 after catching what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Mike Williams #81 hauls in a pass as the Raiders Johnathan Abram #24 defends during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers’ Nasir Adderley #24 and Kyzir White #44 brick up a pass intended for the Raiders Darren Waller #83 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders’ Nelson Agholor #15 hauls in a pass as the Chargers’ Michael Davis #43 defends during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders’ Josh Jacobs #28 looks for some running room during their NFL game against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 scrambles during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Keenan Allen #13 looks for some running too, as the Raiders’ Erik Harris #25 moves in for the tackle during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Joe Reed #12 heads up field during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 can’t escape the grasp of the Raiders’ Clelin Ferrell #96 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Mike Williams #81 spins away from Raiders’ Erik Harris #25 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Kalen Ballage #31 escapes the tackle of the Raiders Cory Littleton #42 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 passes the ball during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 congratulates Kalen Ballage #31 Ballage scored a touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 celebrates what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Dan Feeney #66 spikes the ball after Kalen Ballage #31 scored a first half rushing touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Keenan Allen #13 is hugged by quarterback Justin Herbert #10 after Allen scored a touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Jalen Guyton #15 goes up for a pass as the Raiders’ Isaiah Johnson #31 defends during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The pass was nullified and brought back due to an offensive pass interference call. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ K.J. Hill #84 catches a punt and is tackled by the Raiders Keisean Nixon #22 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Kalen Ballage #31 scores a touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 scrambles away from the Raiders’ Clelin Ferrell #96 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr #4 is dragged down by Chargers defenders during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Keenan Allen #13 crosses the goal line for a touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 can’t escape the grasp of the Raiders’ Clelin Ferrell #96 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert throws a pass under pressure during the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Chargers running back Kalen Ballage is hauled down during the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • The Los Angeles Chargers take the field before an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers battles for yards after a first half catch against Nevin Lawson #26 of the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

INGLEWOOD — It wasn’t that long ago that the Chargers were viewed as one of the best defenses in the NFL because Derwin James, Drue Tranquill, Chris Harris Jr. and Joey Bosa are on the roster.

But none of them were on the field Sunday during the Chargers’ 31-26 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium. James, Tranquill and Harris haven’t played since Week 3, and Bosa was inactive because he’s in the concussion protocol.

Injuries certainly played a part in why the Chargers have been one of the worst defenses in the NFL in the past month, but James and Tranquill are likely not coming back this season. They’ll need to turn it around regardless of who’s on the field for the final eight games of the season.

The Chargers (2-6) allowed 29 points or more for the fifth consecutive game. The Raiders ran for 160 rushing yards and quarterback Derek Carr had multiple passes of 45 yards or more against the Chargers’ secondary.

“We gotta eliminate the explosive (plays),” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “The ball went over our heads too many times today.”

Lynn had short responses Sunday when asked about the defensive struggles. Last week, Lynn said he had no intentions of making coaching staff changes.

Lynn has displayed support for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, but many fans on social media aren’t pleased with the two coaches and Sunday’s performance didn’t help their causes.

The Chargers’ defense, however, did have one positive note when they kept the Raiders out of the end zone after rookie wide receiver K.J. Hill muffed a punt on his own 31-yard line in the fourth quarter.

But not much has gone right for Bradley’s defense this season. The Chargers have allowed 30 points or more in back-to-back games for the second time this season. They never did that once during Bradley’s first three seasons as play caller.

SURPRISE SPARK

The Chargers received a spark from running back Kalen Ballage, who was promoted from the practice squad this week. Ballage was involved early because Justin Jackson sustained a right knee injury on the opening play.

Ballage finished the Chargers’ first scoring drive with a 5-yard run on fourth-and-1 to tie the score 7-7 with 13:24 in the second quarter. Jackson returned to the game late in the second quarter.

Ballage finished with a team-high 69 rushing yards on 15 attempts. The Chargers rushed for a combined 128 yards.

“I don’t look at myself as a practice squad player,” Ballage said. “The ball just hasn’t rolled my way … but I prepare myself like I’m the No. 1 back on every team I get on and like I’m the No. 1 back in the league. … I’m just going to continue working and help this team win.”

Ballage joined the Chargers’ practice squad last month. The Arizona State product was a fourth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins. He was with the New York Jets to start the season.

INJURIES

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga sustained a back injury on the Chargers’ first drive and didn’t return to the game. Bulaga missed three games this season because of a back injury.

Wide receiver Mike Williams received medical attendance after falling hard on his failed reception in the end zone with six seconds left in regulation.

Lynn didn’t provide updates on Bulaga and Williams after the game.

LA Daily News Original Article

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