by Kahlil Najar
In the latest West Coast game in NFL history the Oakland Raiders (2-3) beat the San Diego Chargers (2-3) 27-17 in what was one of the most dominating performances of the defense in years. The Raiders defense forced the Chargers into five turnovers including three interceptions, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a loose ball recovery on a muffed punt. On offense, Terrelle Pryor threw for 221 yards on 18 for 23 passing including two touchdowns – a 44 yard bomb to Rod Streater to start the game and a two yard pass to Denarius Moore.
On his deep pass on the first play from scrimmage, Terrelle Pryor said, “We practiced that play a lot in practice this week. In week one against the Colts I was picked off but me and Coach Olson talked about it last night and he said if I saw him (Streater) get open I should try and get him the ball.”
Pryor’s confidence was obvious to other teammates before but now it was on display for everyone to see. “You can just see his swag back there, he’s playing with a lot of confidence” said Rod Streater who ended the night with three catches for 56 yards including the 44-yard pass to start the game. Pryor completed ten straight passes and said that it “builds (my) confidence and my tempo is right. I’m excited when we start fast.” In face, that touchdown was the first time the Raiders have scored in the first two minutes of a game since week 3 of 2011 against the Jets.
“It’s exciting to see Pryor out there,” said Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen, “He can create those plays and it gives the team confidence.”
The Raiders defense got the game started for the Raiders when on the third play of the game for San Diego, Philip Rivers threw a high floating pass that looked like a punt and landed in the hands of Usama Young for his first interception of the year. On the Raiders very first play from scrimmage, Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson dialed up the 44-yard deep pass to Rod Streater that got the Raiders on the board 7-0. The Raiders next drive saw them go 88 yards in 8 minutes on a nifty play from Pryor who rolled out to the right after his initial check downs were covered and found Denarious Moore in back of the end zone after he stopped on a dime and Chargers Corner Richard Marshall fell out of bounds to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead with a little over a minute left in the first quarter.
The Chargers started the second quarter with the ball on their side of the field and matriculated the ball all the way down to the Raiders ten yard line. After a a run and a passing play, the Chargers decided to go for it on a fourth and one on the goal line and linebacker Kevin Burnett stuffed Danny Woodhead to turn the ball over to the Raiders in their own zone. After a couple first downs the Raiders were forced to punt to the usually reliable Eddie Royal but he muffed the punt and the Raiders special team recovered the ball and gave the Raiders a first down on the Chargers 37-yard line where Sebastian Janikowski was able to convert on a 47-yard field goal attempt to give the Raiders a 17-0 lead into the half.
The third quarter saw Charles Woodson join the ranks of the elite safeties in the NFL.
After a lengthy drive by the Chargers and a field goal by Nick Novak to put them on the board and a quick three-and-out by the Raiders, the Chargers handed history to Woodson in a bag. On second-and-five from the San Diego 35 yard line, Kevin Burnett caused Danny Woodhead to fumble to ball and it landed in Charles Woodson’s hands. With the ball in hand and only Rivers to beat, Woodson leaped into the end zone to give the Raiders a 24-3 lead but also gave him a career total of 13 defensive touchdowns to tie him for the most defensive touchdowns in a career in the history of the NFL with the great Darren Sharper and former Oakland Raider Rod Woodson.
When learning of him tying Rod’s record, Woodson said, “Cousin Rod, I’m coming for you! Nah, it just means that I’m on e of the greatest to ever play the game but the win was what’s most important.”
Philip Rivers, who ended the night with 411 yards passing and two touchdowns, got hot late in the game with touchdown passes to Woodhead and Cal alum Keenan Allen was then stifled again when D.J. Hayden had his first pick of his career in the end zone which looked to seal the deal for the Raiders. However after another quick three-and-out from the Raiders, the Chargers got the ball back with 1:16 left in the game losing by only 10. After a deep pass to Allen for 30 yards, Rivers threw deep again this time in the middle of the field looking for Eddie Royal but Charles Woodson was able to get in front of the ball and get his first interception of the game to lock it up and put the Raiders into Victory formation.
“It was a great team win. All three phases contributed,” said Allen. “It was outstanding the way we started, and we kept competing all the way to the end. The goal line stand was a critical point in the game.”
The love for Pyror could be heard in the stands as well in the locker room. On his roll out capabilities and extending broken plays, Allen said, “That’s what that kid brings to us. When things aren’t right, he has the ability to make plays.” Charles Woodson echoed the Coaches sentiments saying that, “He’s showing his progress and he can lead this team.”
Terrelle Pryor and Raiders head to Kansas City next week to take on the undefeated Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium. It’ll be a tough game for the Raiders however if they are able to bring this momentum from the game into Arrowhead, the Raiders can prove that they shouldn’t be a forgotten team in the AFC West.
- The Chargers, who ranked No. 2 in the NFL in third down efficiency (50%), were 4-for-11 tonight. San Diego also came into the game averaging 27.0 points per game, seventh in the league, and was held to 17.
- The Raiders continue to not have allowed a first half rushing touchdown, stopping the Chargers on fourth-and-1 in the second quarter. With 27 rushing yards in the first half, the defense is equally stringent, allowing (204) rushing yards in the first half this season, an average of 40.8 (No. 11 in the NFL prior to tonight)
- It was the second-straight week that the Raiders have not allowed a first-half touchdown.
- QB Terrelle Pryor is still No. 2 in rushing among quarterbacks behind Michael Vick following 31 yards tonight. He now has 228 on the season.