Jon Gruden defends calling pass on first-and-goal at 1-yard line

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Alternately playful and, as he put it, "depressed and tired," Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden doubled down on his third-quarter decision Sunday to call a play-action pass rather than hand off to Marshawn Lynch on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line at the Los Angeles Chargers.

"It won't be the last pass I call on first-and-goal, either," Gruden said. "I think that's the best time to throw down there. I regret that it was intercepted. Turns out to be a horrible call. But we were down 20-3, Melvin Ingram is their middle linebacker in a jammed front, I want to throw a play-action pass on the 1-foot line. My opinion is, it shouldn't have been intercepted; we shouldn't do that right down there, but we did.

"We were down 20-3, OK? We were down 20-3. It wasn't the last play of the Super Bowl. We were down 20-3."

Gruden, of course, was referencing the much-discussed play at the end of Super XLIX, when the Seattle Seahawks attempted to throw a game-winning TD pass on a slant from the 1-yard line against the New England Patriots instead of giving the ball to Lynch. That play ended with Russell Wilson being intercepted by Malcolm Butler.

Since the start of that game, teams have thrown four times at the 1-yard line with Lynch on the field, going 0-for-4 with two interceptions. One of those interceptions came Sunday, when Derek Carr was intercepted by Melvin Ingram.

"That's cute," Lynch told ESPN when informed of the stat after Sunday's 26-10 loss to the Chargers. "That's cute."

Asked if he was frustrated by it all, Lynch shrugged.

"I done seen it happen to me on the game's biggest stage," Lynch said, referring to Super Bowl XLIX. "Now it's happened in a regular-season game. It's all right, though."

Lynch was upset after the play, tossing his helmet in the air on his way off the field before, according to the team's radio broadcast, screaming at assistants on the sideline.

Gruden said he had no issue with Lynch's reaction, even as Lynch did not play another snap. Besides, the Raiders were in hurry-up mode for their lone possession of the fourth quarter and Jalen Richard was the running back in that offense.

"Lynch is frustrated," Gruden said. "I think I threw my visor and my headset, so I think he and I have a lot in common."

Up next is a trip on Thursday night to London, where the Raiders will "play host" to the Seahawks on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

There will be very little time for the players to acclimate to the eight-hour time difference.

And while Gruden said he was excited to expand the Raiders' brand in England and make some new friends, he was not looking forward to the 11-plus-hour flight. He said the last time he flew that far -- to Belarus to watch his son Deuce in a power-lifting competition -- he had vertigo for a month.

"I hope I can make it, honestly," Gruden said with a smile. "I'm not great. I get claustrophobic."

Gruden said that after the Belarus trip, he couldn't even lie down.

"The house was spinning," he said. "I am hoping I don't get vertigo. I'm not a great traveler. I'll be honest with you, I hate it. I'm not good. I'm concerned.

"I'm more worried about that than our goal-line offense right now."

Now 1-4, the Raiders showed some positive signs in their first four games. But Sunday's loss seemed to be a complete collapse in all three phases of the game.

"I think there is a lot of good things, honestly, that happened yesterday," Gruden said, before listing a litany of bad things. "The scoreboard was lousy. Field position was bad. We gave up some big plays which was not good. Terrible interception in the red zone. There was some negative things that are still resonating with me and Raider Nation."

Still, Gruden had praise for some aspects of his team's performance, particularly the rookies.

"Brandon Parker did some good things," Gruden said of the rookie right tackle. "That was his first start in history. I'm proud of what he did. P.J. Hall made a couple plays, he's a rookie [defensive tackle]. We played eight rookies yesterday at key positions, and I'm proud of what they did. [Jon] Feliciano did some good things in his first start at left guard. Derek Carr had a couple bad plays that he needs to correct, and he will correct, but there were some good things.

"I'm going to continue to emphasize the good and do everything I can to fix the things that are bad because most of the things that are bad, my fingerprints are all over.

"I'm depressed. I'm tired. I want to win."