Originally Posted: Sunday, November 1: 6:05 p.m.
Are they yelling or shaking hands? You be the judge. [via www.pe.com]
Coming in as 17-point underdogs, many people expected the Oakland Raiders to get blown out at the hands of the San Diego Chargers. While Oakland never led at any point in the ball game, they battled back from down 21-7 to make it a little too close for comfort for San Diego in a 24-16 defeat.
Early on, it was "here we go again" with the Raiders. A good drive was halted due to a terrible pass by quarterback JaMarcus Russell resulting in an interception for Antonio Cromartie. Russell, 14-for-22 on the day, was much more accurate due to more passes being from a short range. That pass, however, was deeper down the field and ill-advised. A deep bomb from Philip Rivers to Malcom Floyd set up a six-yard touchdown for LaDainian Tomlinson, who had 56 yards on the ground. Just minutes into the second quarter, though, the Raiders cashed in on an interception of their own. A three-yard run by tough-running Justin Fargas capped a very short 27-yard drive to tie things up. Fargas' 59 yards led the team in rushing for the third straight game.
Moving along, the Chargers utilized wide receiver Vincent Jackson to perfection. Jackson alone had almost 60 yards on the team's next scoring drive on five grabs. Fittingly, he scored the touchdown to end it. Another LaDainian Tomlinson touchdown with 54 seconds to go had many thinking that it was over right there with halftime approaching. In the words of college football analyst Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friends." Kickoff return "specialist" Jonathan Holland, who the announcers repeatedly referred to as being from Louisiana Tech, had the best return of his career that eventually set up a Sebastian Janikowski field goal. You had to feel good about points before the half.
LaDainian Tomlinson had two touchdown runs against the Raiders on the day. [via a.espncdn.com]
To start the second half, the Raiders defense came up with a three-and-out. The offense responded with a field goal to make it a one possession game, 21-13. Later on in the quarter, a reverse to Louis Murphy had Oakland on San Diego's 18 to close the quarter. Unfortunately, the drive stalled and the team had to settle for three points. A field goal by Nate Kaeding had made it a 24-16 game with just over four minutes to play in regulation. Could JaMarcus Russell lead the troops down the field to tie it up?
With the game on the line and a first down at San Diego's 44, Russell dropped back to pass; however, Shaun Phillips' sack had killed basically all of the momentum right there. A penalty and Shawne Merriman's first sack of the season had made things basically impossible. An 11-yard pass to Zach Miller, leading the team with 52 receiving yards for the day, had set up a fourth down with the team needing 20 yards. A bullet over the middle to Johnnie Lee Higgins was incomplete, as the attempted to quickly grab it and toss it back to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Well, Higgins never caught the ball. It would have definitely been interesting to see what Heyward-Bey would have done as it appeared that he had some space to make something happen. With 54 seconds to go, the Chargers took two knees and came away with a 24-16 victory.
Head coaches Tom Cable and Norv Turner shake hands after the game. [via a.espncdn.com]
The Raiders, now 2-6, have a bye and then take on the Kansas City Chiefs to complete the season series with them on November 15. The Chargers, 4-3 and two games behind the Denver Broncos for first place, will be heading to New Jersey to take on the New York Giants.
Vincent Jackson was the player of the game, posting 103 yards and a touchdown. [via a.espncdn.com]
All in all, with the way some of these games have gone for the Raiders this season, it was nice to see some competitive football. The end result wasn't what we wanted, sure, but the team played hard and continued to fight until the end. The defense was marvelous in the second half and gave us a chance to win. Drives stalled and we had to settle for field goals, so it would have been nice to see them punch it for six. Wide receivers had only two grabs for 16 yards on the day, so production from that spot continues to be the weakest in the league. I hope to get healthy with the bye week coming up. I am sure I speak for everyone when I say that we'd like to have Chaz Schilens, Robert Gallery and Darren McFadden back against the Chiefs in two weeks.
For all Oakland Raiders coverage, check out Comcast SportsNet California. [via csnbayarea.com]