By Jeremy Kahn
OAKLAND — Whenever the Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers get together, you know that it is going be a battle between these two longtime rivals from the old American Football League.
Unfortunately, over the past two seasons, the rivalry has swayed towards the Chargers, especially after their 20-6 victory over the Raiders before a crowd of 54,750 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
With the victory, the Chargers have won six in a row, and now stand at 7-2, while the Raiders are going the other way, as they have lost five in a row and are now 1-8 on the season.
This is the Chargers fourth straight win in the series after the Raiders won the previous four in a row from the Chargers, that included a 19-16 victory by the Raiders over the Chargers that helped the Raiders clinch their first postseason berth since the 2002 season.
The Raiders still lead the all-time with a record of 62-54-2 since the series began in the first year of the AFL back in 1960.
Things started out well for the Raiders, as on fourth-and-5, punter Johnny Townsend faked the punt and scrambled 42 yards down to the Chargers 21-yard line to give the Raiders a glimmer of hope; however, the Raiders were not able to get any points on the board, as the Chargers defense held Derek Carr for a no gain on fourth-and-goal and the Chargers took over on downs.
“I have always said that I believe in that kid. In that fake punt, you can see that he is one of our fastest players. He is a tremendous athlete. He took his medicine for a while like a lot of us, but he is going to be a really good punter for us,” said Jon Gruden.
After the Chargers went three-and-out on their initial series of the afternoon, the Raiders wasted not long to get on the board.
Daniel Carlson got the Raiders on the board in the first quarter, as he nailed a 46-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead.
Following another three-and out by the Chargers, the Raiders mounted a drive of their own; however, Carr was sacked for an 11-yard loss by Melvin Ingram III and fumbled the ball and was recovered by Corey Liuget, who rumbled 24 yards down to the Raiders’ 40-yard line.
“We came up big. Everybody made hell of plays. It was a great team win. We have a great group of young players. Those boys are special. They came up big. When you have rookies that can step up and make plays like that, it’s big,” said Ingram.
The Chargers got all the way down to the Raiders’ nine-yard line, but like the Raiders were forced to settle for a Michael Badgley field goal that tied up the game.
The Raiders offense could not muster a first down, as they were forced to punt the ball back to the Chargers, who went down the field and it culminated with a Philip Rivers touchdown pass to former CAL star Keenan Allen for 11 yards that gave the Chargers a 10-3 lead with just 24 seconds remaining in the first half.
Carr just took a knee to end the first half, and the Raiders trailed at the end of the first half by a score of 10-3.
Melvin Gordon finally got in on the act for the Chargers, as he took a Rivers pass and ran 66 yards to the end zone to give the Chargers a 14-point lead just 2:28 into the third quarter.
After yet another punt by the Raiders, they got ball back in a hurry, as Rivers threw a long pass down the field; however, Safety Marcus Gilchrist picked off the Rivers pass intended for Allen at the Raiders 31-yard line.
“That’s part of things I’m talking about that we can do better, that can possibly change that ‘W’ and ‘L’ column for us,” said Gilchrist.
Unfortunately, the Raiders could only muster five yards on the ensuing series before they punted the ball back to the Chargers.
Once again, the Raiders defense came up big, as they held the Chargers off the scoreboard, as they were forced to punt.
Carr and the Raiders got rolling, as he found Doug Martin for a 23-yard gain, and then on the next play, he found Jared Cook for 31 yards that got the Raiders down to the Chargers 13-yard line.
Carlson got the Raiders within 11, as he nailed a 30-yard field goal.
The Chargers then began a long drive that included a 42-yard touchdown run by Austin Ekeler that was nullified by a 10-yard holding penalty that was called on Russell Okung.
On the very next play, Rivers was sacked by Shilique Calhoun and Johnathan Hankins; however, Hankins was called for Roughing the Passer that gave the Chargers a first down at the Raiders’ 33-yard line.
“It’s one of those things. Where you look back on it and I just needed to get to him, get him down faster. If I get him down faster. If I get him down quick enough, I don’t have to worry about that penalty. It’s on me to make sure I complete the plat and finish the play out,” said Calhoun.
Rivers and Allen hooked up for a 18-yard completion that put the Chargers into field goal range, and four plays later, Badgley kicked a 41-yard field goal that gave the Chargers a two touchdown lead.
The Raiders got the ball back after the field goal, and began to drive down the field; however, the drive stalled, as Carr was unable to find anyone on a fourth-and-5 and was forced to throw the ball away, giving the ball back to the Chargers.
Carr ended the day by going 24-for-37 for 243 yards, while Jalen Richard led the Raiders in receiving with five catches for 52 yards.
Martin led the Raiders in rushing, as he carried the ball 15 times for 61 yards.
Rivers went 18-for-26 for 223 yards with two touchdowns and an interception on the afternoon for the victorious Chargers.
Gordon led the Chargers in rushing, as he carried the ball 18 times for 93 yards, and also caught five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Allen was the leading receiver for the Chargers, as he hauled in six passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.
NOTES: Townsend became just the third punter since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to have a run of at least 40 yards and a punt of 50 yards in the same game, as joins Reggie Hodges of the Cleveland Browns in 2010 and Jeff Hayes of the Washington Redskins in 1983.
Martavis Bryant was forced to leave the game for the Raiders in the third quarter with a knee injury, an injury that Gruden fears could be serious.
UP NEXT: The Raiders head out on the road for their next two games, as they will face the Arizona Cardinals on November 18 at 1:05 pm PT and then the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 25 at 10:00 am PT. They return home on December 2 to face the Kansas City Chiefs at 1:05 pm PT.