The Raiders went back to their classic ways of running the ball right at the opponent and then throwing it over their heads. Who knew that after the architect of that concept had passed on it would be that tenet that would bring the Raiders back to life.
After Carson Palmer threw six interceptions in the last two games, it was time to get back to the ground and pound. The Raiders gave it to Michael Bush early and often in this game and it worked like a charm.
Bush ran for 78 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter alone to put the Raiders ahead 7-3. Then, with the Chargers protecting against the run, Carson Palmer went to work in the second quarter. He threw for 121 yards in the second quarter alone including a 33 yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore to take a 17-3 lead heading into halftime.
But it was the second half that has haunted the Raiders this season—namely on defense. The third quarter looked like the same Raider defense that hasn’t shown up in several contests this season. The Chargers had three possessions in the third quarter, yielding three scoring opportunities—two touchdowns and a missed field goal. It was looking like a “here we go again” moment.
Then came the fourth quarter when another Al Davis tenet showed up: “The quarterback must go down and he must go down hard.” The Raiders had three sacks in the final quarter including the final two plays of the game. The sacks didn’t come out of nowhere though. Kamerion Wimbley had gone off in the first half with three sacks. He added a fourth sack on the second to last play of the game.
“I’ve been getting pressure on the quarterback all season,” said Wimbley. “I wasn’t too concerned that I didn’t have a lot of sacks going into the game. I knew they would probably come in bunches. And that’s what happened. You get a lot of pressures and a lot of quarterback hits and eventually you’re gonna get to him and that just happened tonight… For a D lineman that’s the ultimate goal to get back there, I mean first of all, our defensive philosophy is to stop the run but once you do that it’s go have fun as a rusher. That’s what I enjoy doing, that’s what a lot of our guys on this defensive line enjoy doing and we were successful at it tonight.”
The Raiders had plenty of chances to force a turnover from the recently turnover prone Philip Rivers. The interception eluded them for much of the game but when they needed it most, Matt Giordano delivered. Late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers desperate for a score, Rivers threw for the endzone. The previous couple passes for the endzone, the Raider DB’s were in position to make a play and couldn’t come up with it. One of those was a touchdown catch by Vincent Brown.
This time Giordano played it perfectly and the ball came right to him. It took the Chargers’ scoring chance away and allowed the Raiders to run the clock down some more. The Chargers got the ball back at the end with 1:13 remaining but the Raiders’ defense held and the Raiders came away with a 24-17 victory.
Carson Palmer went into the third quarter with a perfect passer rating. He was hit as he threw twice late in the game. The first was a fumble in the third quarter and the second came in the fourth quarter, resulting in his only interception of the game. He finished with 299 yards passing, two touchdowns, and a passer rating of 125.0.
Palmer’s favorite target was Denarius Moore who caught 5 passes for 123 yards and both touchdowns.
Michael Bush finished the game with 242 yards from scrimmage including 157 yards on the ground, the second best rushing total of his career.
Jacoby Ford went out early in this game after a 41 yard catch. He has an injured foot. The severity of it is unknown.
The Raiders have now won three straight over the Chargers after previously losing 13 in a row to them. The Chargers have lost four straight.
The win moves the Raiders into sole possession of first place in the AFC West (5-4). The Chiefs could tie them for first if they win this weekend.
|Oakland Raiders (5-4-0)||San Diego Chargers (4-5-0)|