The San Diego Chargers (4-3) got on top quickly and held off the Oakland Raiders (2-6) to extend their win streak to 13 games over their AFC West rival with a 24-16 victory. The streak is the longest active NFL streak of dominance by one team over another and it’s the sixth straight season in which the Chargers have swept the Raiders.
Embattled third-year quarterback JaMarcus Russell started off shaky by throwing an interception early in the first quarter to Antonio Cromartie. The pass, officially listed as intended for Zach Miller, looked more like a pass for rookie Louis Murphy. Murphy, behind Miller at the time, turned early to block Cromartie and fell to the ground. The ball sailed over Miller’s outstretched arms and into Cromartie’s hands–right where Murphy would have been. The interception was returned 16 yards to San Diego’s 41.
On the very next play, Phillip Rivers launched a 53-yard bomb to Malcom Floyd to put them at first and goal at the Raiders’ six. LaDainian Tomlinson then took a turn at QB, as the Chargers lined up in the Wildcat formation. Tomlinson didn’t throw it, but instead ran the ball up the middle for the six-yard touchdown to put the Chargers up 7-0.
The Raiders would come back after Rivers’ pass to Vincent Jackson was deflected into the waiting arms of Chris Johnson. Johnson returned the interception to set up the Raiders’ offense at the San Diego 27. After starting the drive with a five-yard pass to Michael Bush, Russell would put it in the hands of his running backs to go the rest of the way. Six plays later, all running plays, Justin Fargas would punch through to end a nine quarter touchdown drought for the Raiders, tying the game at 7-7 with 13:40 to go in the first half.
That would be the last time that the Raiders would be tied with the Chargers. San Diego used the next 7:31 and 12 plays to move the ball 78 yards for the go-ahead touchdown pass to Jackson. Besides the third down touchdown score, the Chargers converted third and seven and third and nine plays to an open Jackson to keep the drive moving.
The Chargers would move the ball faster on their next possession. With 4:28 remaining in the half, Rivers drove the Chargers 80 yards in 3:34 on eight plays for Tomlinson’s second touchdown of the day–a 10-yard run up the middle.
The Raiders would get a field goal by Sebastian Janikowski after Jonathan Holland returned a kickoff 60 yards to put the Raiders on San Diego’s 37. The half would end with the Chargers up 21-10.
That final score of the half would be all the Chargers needed to beat the Raiders, who were able to get in the red zone twice on the day. Sebastian Janikowski kicked two field goals and the Chargers added one of their own in the second half to finish the scoring on the day.
Russell, who has received much of the criticism for the poor performance of the team, threw for 109 yards on 14-22 passing with one interception and was sacked five times. With the ball on San Diego’s 44, and first and 10 with two minutes to go, Russell was sacked twice and had one pass dropped to end the Raiders’ chances of coming from behind.
For the game, The Chargers gained 346 total yards (246 passing/100 rushing) to the Raiders’ 180 total yards (81 passing/99 rushing).
The Raiders will go into the bye week with a 1-3 record within their division and four wins behind the Denver Broncos, who sit atop the AFC West with a 6-1 record. They will next host the Kansas City Chiefs (1-6), followed by the Cincinnati Bengals (5-2).