SAN DIEGO -- As they have all season, the undermanned and injury-plagued San Diego Chargers scratched and clawed in the face of adversity, but failed to execute when the game mattered most: the fourth quarter.
Hosting the Oakland Raiders in what could be the AFC West rivals’ final matchup at Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers had a “home” in name only.
Raiders fans flooded the facility, as many Chargers fans frustrated with the state of the team and its potential move to Los Angeles stayed away and sold their tickets.
The Chargers led at the end of the third quarter, but once again failed to hold on to the advantage, falling to the Raiders 19-16 on Sunday.
The key play came with 11:35 left in the game. Oakland linebacker Perry Riley Jr. stripped running back Kenneth Farrow of the ball on first-and-10 from San Diego’s 16-yard line, with fellow linebacker Malcolm Smith recovering the loose ball.
San Diego’s defense held tough, forcing the Raiders to settle for a Sebastian Janikowski 20-yard field goal, tying the game at 16.
After forcing the Chargers to punt on the ensuing possession, the Raiders marched down the field and took the lead for good on a Janikowski 44-yard field goal.
The Chargers had one last shot late, but Philip Rivers threw his league-high 18th interception to Oakland safety Reggie Nelson attempting to get the ball to Dontrelle Inman on fourth down from his own territory.
Janikowski finished with four field goals.
San Diego has lost six games this season after leading in the fourth quarter, most in the NFL.
At 5-9 on the year, the Chargers are officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Oakland defeated the Chargers for the fourth straight time. The Chargers dropped to 1-12 in the AFC West since November 2014 and 7-16 in the division during Mike McCoy’s tenure as head coach.
Roughly 80 percent of the announced crowd of 68,352 -- the largest crowd at Qualcomm this season -- appeared to be clad in silver and black. The Chargers were enthusiastically booed when they took the field before kickoff.
The crowd was so tilted in Oakland’s favor that the Chargers did not announce the team’s starting lineup.