Regular Season Week 6
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
When: 1:05 p.m. PDT
2009 Records: Raiders (2-5), Chargers (3-3)
History: Oakland leads the series 54-43-2
Line: Chargers by 17 points
The Raiders had four "3-and-out" drives against the Jets and now have 31 total on the season -- the most for any team in the league. During the "Bed & Breakfast" 2006 team, with Aaron Brooks at QB, it wasn't thought possible that an offense or QB could play worse. Well, last week, Russell 6-11 for 61 yards and 2 Interceptions, pretty much brings the this Raiders offense right on par with the 2006 team.
Now the Raiders tumble into San Diego to face the team that has now defeated them 12 straight times. The Raiders have been playing sort of a Jekyll & Hyde, with their strange ability to follow a promising win with a demoralizing, blowout loss. So, now after the 38-0 drubbing by the Jets last week, what are we to expect from the Raiders against the Chargers?
What is clear now, is that this team looses confidence quickly and realizes that when they are way down, that there is little hope of coming back. Starting with the very first play of the game against the Jets, Russell's fumble took the wind right out of the Raiders defense. Now the thing to see is how he will respond to his benching and sudden, apparent realization that "some" of the Raiders' problems are actually his fault. So if the Raiders are going to have any chance today, it's going to start with ALL the players executing the game plan, protecting the ball and not loosing confidence. In order for the team not to quit on themselves, they will be looking to Russell to really see if he is going to be the one who can lead them.
For the Chargers, it still may be to late to catch the Broncos, but they are playing better after their typical slow start and have now really become a passing team. Despite their struggles on the ground, San Diego has had little trouble scoring this season, averaging 26.8 points. The Chargers' defense, however, had given up an average of 27.2 points before holding the Chiefs to 203 yards. San Diego is also starting to get healthy, which still cannot be said for the Raiders, probably until after the bye. The Raiders will once again be without the services of Chaz Schilens and probably not Gallery. They will also once again, adventurously, start Khalif Barnes at right tackle, with his career one game of experience on the right side.
Beyond the obvious key that the Raiders offense needs to do SOMETHING, the Raiders defense needs to play that same aggressive, hard-hitting defense they played for the first 58 minutes of the opener. With the Chargers going more to the pass now,one great match up watch will be the one between Antonio Gates and Tyvon Branch.
So Raider Nation, what are your thoughts, your keys to this game and how do you think the Raiders will respond coming off of the shut out loss at home to the Jets last week?