The Oakland Raiders offense turned in yet another performance that bordered on ineptitude. They were held under 200 total yards for the fifth time in eight games. The Raiders defense had some big stops, but in other drives they were able to gash the Raiders primarily through the air for big play after big play.
LaDainian Tomlinson didn’t have the type of game statistically against the Raiders he once did, but he was able to carry the ball into the end zone three times, giving him four touchdowns for the season all against the Silver and Black.
The Raiders came out of the gate strong, running the ball down the Chargers’ throats and moved the ball to midfield. In a scene that was eerily reminiscent of the disaster against the Jets, JaMarcus Russell torpedoed the drive by throwing off balance and finding a Charger defender for an interception. The Chargers followed that up with a two play drive for a touchdown.
The Raiders were able capitalize on excellent field position set up by a Chris Johnson interception return. They started at the Bolts’ 27 yard line and powered their way into the end zone on the strength of the running game. Justin Fargas capped that drive with a one yard plunge to score his first touchdown of the season. That would turn out to be the only touchdown of the game.
The Raiders defense could not stop the Chargers from answering. The Chargers easily drove down the field with completions of 20, 15, and 14 providing the motive power. Following a quick three and out by Oakland, the Chargers marched right down the field yet again for another touchdown.
Only an unexpected 61 yard return by Jonathan Holland set up the Raiders final score of the half. Russell was able to hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for ten yards, and Sebastian Jankowski split the uprights from 48 yards out.
During the third quarter, the Raiders held the Chargers down and were able to move the ball, but they were only able to score two field goals. The second field goal was set up by a fumbled punt return. The Raiders were able to drive inside the ten, but could not push the ball into the end zone.
The Chargers essentially put the game away by taking over from their own seven and driving deep into Raider territory. The Raiders held them to a field goal, but with it taking time off the clock and moving the ball down the field it was too deflating to the Raiders.
The Raiders drove down to midfield before the wheels fell off. Following a conversion on fourth and seven, the Raiders had a series that commentator Dan Fouts compared to a “Keystone Cops movie,” Russell fumbled the ball the Khalif Barnes false started to set the Raiders back to a second and 28. On the following play receiverrs Louis Murphy and Johnnie Lee Higgins collided and took each other out of the play. Russell hit Zach Miller for an eight yard reception, setting up a fourth and 28. The Raiders attempted to run a hook-and-lateral play where Johnnie Lee Higgins batted the pass back towards a streaking Darrius Heywar-Bey but the ball fell to the turf incomplete.
Michael Huff chalked up the loss to a “slow start” and falling to 21-7 deficit. Justin Fargas would not take a moral victory, “especially against the San Diego Chargers.”
Fargas praised Russell’s bounce back, “He’s a good leader.” Russell agreed, saying, “I did a pretty good job. We had a chance at the end.”
Russell shook off his interception, “The interception didn’t do too much damage.” It only set up the Chargers first touchdown.