Here we go, after a week off of football for their bye week the Oakland Raiders face the San Diego Chargers today at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The Chargers started out the game with the ball deep in their own territory after the opening kick return was stopped at the San Diego 11 yard line. It was not the best decision by their return man to take the ball out of the end zone.
It got better for the Raiders after that when a deflected pass on 3rd down was intercepted by Malcolm Smith who proceeded to return it to the Chargers 2 yard line. The Chargers defense stopped Latavius Murray on his first down carry at the goal line, but not the 2nd down carry. He pushed his way into the end zone for the touchdown. In just over 2 minutes the Raiders already had a 7 point lead and the crowd sounded like this game was being played in Oakland.
For their 2nd drive the San Diego Chargers went three and out again, though no turnover this time around. The Raiders defense was full of energy on the short drive, though they did get away with a pass interference not being called on Neiko Thorpe for his normally too tight of coverage on the 3rd down play. T.J. Carrie returned the punt 12 yards to the Oakland 46.
The drive started out looking doomed after an offensive facemask penalty right away had the Raiders in a 2nd and 22. However, an illegal hands to the face penalty ended up giving them a first down and the Raiders offense started moving well after that which culminated in a 29 yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal. The drive made the score 10-0 Raiders and featured a nice first down completion on 3rd down to Taiwan Jones, a 14 yard run from Murray, and Derek Carr completing 6 of 8 passes on the drive to 5 different receivers.
San Diego did a lot better on their 3rd drive of the game, though much of their yardage on the drive came from Raiders penalties.They managed to put 3 points on the board after a 9 play, 57 yard drive but 25 of those yards came from the defensive penalties on the Raiders. The Chargers pretended they were going to go for it on 4th and 1 but they were just trying to get an offsides penalty. When the Raiders didn't jump the field goal unit came out instead to make the score 10-3 Raiders.
Oakland managed to rip off a 17 yard run from Latavius Murray for the last play of the 1st quarter, the run got them to the Oakland 42 yard line before the teams switched sides on the field. They followed that up with a gain of 13 from Taiwan Jones run to open up the 2nd quarter. The Chargers defense had a known deficiency against the run going into this game and the Raiders are definitely attacking that weakness. With the Charger defense thinking run, the Raiders went pass instead for 3 straight completions for 45 yards, the last of which was a beautiful 23 yard TD to Clive Walford. The rookie's first ever NFL touchdown made the score 17-3 Raiders.
The Chargers were feeling the urgency when they got the ball back, but all that happened after that was another turnover. This one came via D.J. Hayden who was all over Keenan Allen on the sidelines and came up with the interception on the Chargers side of the field. The Raiders weren't able to get a touchdown despite good field position but they did get another field goal from Janikowski. This one was a 32 yard field goal and made the score 20-3 Raiders.
Philip Rivers is definitely not enjoying this game throughout the first half because the Chargers haven't been able to do much of anything at all on offense. This time was no different as they went 3 and out again, and the short punt was caught on the run by T.J. Carrie who returned it 11 yards to the SD 47. Unfortunately, the first play for the Raiders was a sack and the 2nd play was a stuffed run. That left them in 3rd and 14, so they went deep and Amari Cooper jumped above the safety for a fantastic 45 yard completion.
A mistake from an overzealous Donald Penn cost the Raiders their great field position though because he got called for a personal foul after a tough Marcel Reece run got Oakland all the way down inside the 2 yard line. The 15 yard penalty killed the momentum the Raiders had going and they eventually ended up settling for another short field goal from Sebastian Janikowski. It made the score 23-3 Raiders, and they actually have played even better than the score would have you believe.
Once again the Chargers failed to do anything of note on offense due to stellar play from the Raiders defense. This time the Raiders offense took over at their own 36 line after a decent punt with just under 2 minutes left in the half. They took advantage of it big time by going to their best player, Amari Cooper. He got the ball on a quick screen and he took it all the way to endzone displaying his speed and moves on the 52 yard touchdown.
The spectacular play from Cooper gave the Raiders the lead 30-3 with just a minute left in the 1st half. The Chargers did finally get their best drive of the day going in that final minute, mostly thanks to a beautiful 23 pass from Philip Rivers to Stevie Johnson that got San Diego into field goal range. They booted the 44 yard field attempt through as the half expired so the score was 30-6 at half time.