Raiders can't survive loss of long snapper, lose ugly opener

Dante Rosario #88 of the San Diego Chargers blocks a punt attempt by Shane Lechler #9 of the Oakland Raiders during their season opener

In the preseason, the special teams were horrendous. But even through it all, it was thought that once the regular season began and the roster was trimmed to its final 53, those issues would leave with them. Well, those issues are still here and worse than ever.

Taiwan Jones got it started when he muffed the opening kickoff and had to chase it down to recover it at the 14 yard line. Starting inside the 20 was a common occurrence in the preseason and cause for great frustration from Dennis Allen.

Also not helping things was rookie Rod Streater fumbling on the Raiders' opening drive. But the Raiders survived it. But it was the loss of the long snapper that they couldn't survive.

The big problem occurred on a play that didn't even count. It was a punt return by the Chargers early in the second quarter which was called back by an illegal block in the back. But Raiders' long snapper Jon Condo went down with a blow to the head on the play and didn't return. That spelled disaster for the Raiders who, as it turns out, were wholly unprepared to be without him.

Taking Condo's place at long snapper was reserve middle linebacker, Travis Goethel. That turned out to be a choice that would doom the Raiders and turn this game into an absolute debacle.

Goethel had three snaps and only of them was successful punt.. barely. The first punt was low causing Lechler to not be able to field it cleanly and he didn't get the punt away. The second was a flat out block thanks to a snap that was slow and wobbly. The third, he barely got away without it being blocked again. And the final punt was skipped across the ground resulting in Lechler not getting ahold of it and him falling on the ball.

On all three botched punts, the Charged got the ball near midfield and drove for a field goal. They ended up kicking five field goals in the game which tied a Chargers team record.

For Lechler, it was his first blocked punt since October 8, 2006 which was before Condo became the team's long snapper. So, obviously, Lechler has never had a blocked punt with Condo snapping to him.

For Goethel, it was an unmitigated disaster he won't soon forget. It was his first time long snapping since high school

"He (coach Dennis Allen) asked if I knew how to long snap, and I was the only one at camp that stood out. That's kind of how I got put in there," said Goethel. "[Condo] went down and I got put in. Trust me, I wish it never happened."

This can't be placed on Goethel. He was ill-prepared for this.

"It was just mechanics of snapping. If you don't snap that often, if you don't snap in a game since high school, it's a little different... I basically just practiced before practice. That's about it with the snapping and stuff. I'm just a linebacker and special teams."

"It's pretty hard. It's hard snapping on the dirt, too. I've never snapped on the dirt before."

This is a hard lesson for Dennis Allen to learn in his first game as the Raiders head coach. And it's one that perhaps his special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman should not have to be taught.

For now, the status of Condo for next week is uncertain. If he is held out next week, the team will obviously have to replace him. Goethel thinks with a week of practice he could be ready but it seems lik a big risk to take to put it in his hands again. The other options are one of their two centers or even signing a free agent long snapper to take his place until he returns.

There is not much else to this game. The defense played pretty well. They gave up just one touchdown in the second quarter and held the Chargers to field goals on all of the turnovers on attempted punts.

Darren McFadden was essentially the entire offense for the Raiders. He was targeted 18 times in the passing game along with 15 carries which is more than half the offensive plays. He finished with 13 catches for 86 yards and 32 yards rushing.

Oakland Raiders (0-0-0)

Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT

P. Rivers 24/33 231 1 0

Rushing ATT YDS TD LG

C. Brinkley 10 12 0 6

E. Royal 2 12 0 11

R. Brown 5 5 0 4

L. McClain 2 5 0 4

P. Rivers 1 -2 0 -2

Receiving REC YDS TD LG

M. Floyd 4 66 1 25

R. Meachem 2 49 0 46

A. Gates 4 43 0 17

C. Brinkley 3 28 0 12

R. Brown 5 26 0 7

L. McClain 4 15 0 7

E. Royal 2 4 0 7

Fumbles FUM LOST REC YDS

A. Barnes 0 0 1 0

M. Ingram 0 0 0 0

Kicking FG LG XP PTS

N. Kaeding 5/5 45 1/1 16

Punting NO AVG I20 LG

M. Scifres 3 49.3 2 55

Kickoff Returns NO AVG TD LG

R. Goodman 3 25 0 34

M. Ingram 1 0 0 0

Punt Returns NO AVG TD LG

E. Royal 2 9 0 14

Defense T-A SCK INT FF

A. Bigby 7-1 0.0 0 0

D. Butler 7-1 1.0 0 0

E. Weddle 7-0 0.0 0 0

Q. Jammer 6-1 0.0 0 0

J. Johnson 4-1 0.0 0 0

T. Spikes 4-1 0.0 0 0

A. Cason 3-0 0.0 0 0

C. Liuget 3-0 0.0 0 0

D. Williams 3-0 0.0 0 0

M. Gilchrist 2-1 0.0 0 0

S. Phillips 2-0 2.0 0 0

J. Battle 1-0 0.0 0 0

A. Franklin 1-0 0.0 0 0

A. Gachkar 1-0 0.0 0 0

M. Ingram 1-0 0.0 0 1

V. Martin 1-0 0.0 0 0

Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT

C. Palmer 32/46 297 1 0

Rushing ATT YDS TD LG

D. McFadden 15 32 0 8

M. Goodson 2 13 0 11

S. Lechler 2 0 0 0

M. Reece 1 0 0 0

Receiving REC YDS TD LG

D. McFadden 13 86 0 17

B. Myers 5 65 0 26

D. Hagan 4 44 0 17

D. Heyward-Bey 3 43 0 21

R. Streater 4 27 1 13

M. Reece 2 20 0 15

D. Ausberry 1 12 0 12

Fumbles FUM LOST REC YDS

T. Goethel 2 0 0 -20

M. Reece 1 0 0 -23

R. Streater 1 1 0 0

D. Ausberry 0 0 1 0

T. Jones 0 0 1 -2

S. Lechler 0 0 1 0

Kicking FG LG XP PTS

S. Janikowski 2/2 51 0/0 6

Punting NO AVG I20 LG

S. Lechler 2 32.0 0 62

Kickoff Returns NO AVG TD LG

T. Jones 1 6 0 6

Punt Returns NO AVG TD LG

P. Adams 1 15 0 15

Defense T-A SCK INT FF

M. Burris 7-2 0.0 0 0

T. Branch 5-0 0.0 0 0

M. Huff 4-2 0.0 0 0

R. McClain 4-1 0.0 0 0

P. Wheeler 4-4 0.5 0 0

M. Shaughnessy 3-1 0.5 0 0

R. Bartell 2-1 0.0 0 0

L. Houston 2-0 0.0 0 0

T. Kelly 2-2 0.0 0 0

R. Seymour 2-1 0.0 0 0

P. Lee 1-1 0.0 0 0

S. Spencer 1-0 0.0 0 0

D. Tollefson 1-1 0.0 0 0

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