Raiders welcome division rival Chargers to the Coliseum for big primetime matchup

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By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

After playing for the first time at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum since Week 2, the Oakland Raiders look to build upon their Week 9 victory over the visiting Detroit Lions when they host their division-rival the Los Angeles Chargers Thursday in primetime to kickoff Week 10 in the NFL.

Kickoff is set for 5:20 p.m. PT and will be televised on FOX as part of Thursday Night Football. This will be the first meeting between the two franchises this season, which will be the 119th edition in the all-time series.

The Raiders (4-4), climbed to the .500 mark after defeating the Lions, 31-24 behind quarterback Derek Carr, who engineered his 18th career game-winning drive in the contest. Carr, who had his third-consecutive game this season in which he’s thrown two touchdowns and have a passer rating of 115.0, found rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:04 left in the game.

Running back Josh Jacobs rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Jacobs, who became the first player in team history to be named NFL Offensive Player of the Month for October, is by far the leading candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year by leading all rookies in rushing yards (740), touchdowns (6), runs of 20+ (5), and 40+yards (2).

In the game, Jacobs would surpass Marcus Allen for most rushing yards in a single season by a rookie in team history, topping Allen’s 697 set in 1982.

With Jacobs’ two scores and touchdowns each by Renfrow and rookie tight end Foster Moreau, it was the first time in team history that rookies have scored four touchdowns in one game offensively.

Defensively, cornerback Daryl Worley’s second quarter interception in the end zone changed the momentum of the game, leading to a touchdown by Oakland’s offense right before halftime.

But Karl Joseph made the biggest play of the game, breaking up a pass on fourth down that would’ve tied the game and forced overtime. Joseph would finish with six tackles.

The Chargers (4-5) are coming into Thursday night off the heels of a 26-11 win over the visiting Green Bay Packers at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.

Quarterback Philip Rivers completed 21-of-28 passes for 294 yards, with the scoring provided by two touchdowns from running back Melvin Gordon (20 carries for 80 yards), and four field goals from kicker Michael Badgley.

Rivers has thrown 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but has thrown for an NFL-high 2,609 yards this season.

Third-year wide receiver Mike Williams logged his first career 100-yard game, catching three balls for 111 yards against the Packers.

Defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa was all over Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, sacking the future Hall of Fame signal-caller three times (each player recorded 1.5 sacks).

Bosa, who is being mentioned as a possible Defensive Player of the Year candidate this season, is third in the NFL in sacks with 8.5.

Following Thursday’s game, Oakland ill return to action in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals to finish up their three-game stretch at home, while the Chargers return to Los Angeles to face the Kansas City Chiefs before their Bye Week.

Garoppolo Bounces Back in Win Over Chiefs 27-17

photo from San Francisco 49ers quarterback throws behind 49ers offensive guard Mike Person (68) during the first half of Saturday Night Football’s game against the host Kansas City Chiefs in the final pre season game for 2019

by Joe Lami

Jimmy Garoppolo bounced back to expectations in his second appearance of the pre-season on Saturday night. After an abysmal performance on Monday, Jimmy G threw for 188 yards completing 14 of 20 passes and adding a touchdown in his first half dress rehearsal.

Garoppolo opened the Niners scoring with a 20-yard completion to Matt Breida to cap a seven-play, 78-yard drive, in which he went 4-for-4. He completed two more drives that ended with Robbie Gould field goals. After a 0.0 passer rating against the Broncos, Garoppolo greatly improved to a 116.2.

The Niners improved to 3-0 on the pre-season by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 27-17. Most importantly, their dry run went phenomenal and gives hope that they’ll be ready when the season kicks off.

After showing strong defense all pre-season, the Niners defense got torched by MVP Patrick Mahomes on the opening drive. He found running back Damien Williams for a 62-yard quick touchdown strike. However, the defense was able to rebound by keeping Mahomes out of the end zone the rest of his night. He finished 8-of-10 for 126 yards.

Nick Mullens came in for backup duty; passing 8-of-11 for 84 yards. CJ Beathard didn’t see the field on Saturday night, which could give insight to how Kyle Shanahan is leaning for the backup spot.

Jeff Wilson Jr. is going to make cut down day difficult for the red and gold. He continues to impress, scoring two touchdowns in the second half, making the difference in the win. He finished with 45 yards on 12 carries and the two scores.

Kwon Alexander made his debut finishing with three tackles.

Damontre Moore stole the show with two sacks, five tackles, and four QB hits. Moore may be playing well enough to earn the 49ers a draft pick when they trade him since there’s just no room on the D-line for him on this team.

The Niners wrap up their preseason on Thursday at home versus the Chargers. While we won’t see most of the starters, we’ll get an in-depth look at how the 53-man roster is beginning to form.

Oakland heads to San Diego with playoff berth on the line

AP file photo – In a Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 file photo, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo. It could be a remarkable scene Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 when the Oakland Raiders, closing in on their first playoff berth since their Super Bowl season of 2002, face a fading Chargers franchise that could be in the death throes of its 56-season run in San Diego. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND, Calif — One more step, and the Oakland Raiders can end 14 years of misery and disappointment.

With a win over the Chargers in San Diego, Oakland can punch their ticket to the playoffs since the team’s last playoff appearance in 2002. That season ended with a trip to Super Bowl XXXVII where they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in San Diego.

Oakland (10-3) is tied for first place in the AFC West and has a two-game lead in the wild-card race with three games to go.

Can you believe it? It was just two years ago that the Silver and Black were just an abysmal mess, sitting at 0-10.

The Raiders saw their six-game winning streak snap by the Chiefs 21-13 in Kansas City last Thursday night.

Quarterback Derek Carr continues to have his issues with Kansas City, but the loss wasn’t entirely on his shoulders.

Carr completed just 17-of-41 passes for 117 yards, but the third-year signal caller was victimized by drops from wide receiver Seth Roberts and a missing on a potential game-tying touchdown deep down the middle to Amari Cooper in the third quarter.

Cooper’s led all Oakland wide receivers with five catches for 29 yards. Cooper, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season, enters Sunday’s matchup with 1,010 receiving yards and ranks sixth in the league with 73 catches.

With San Diego decimated by injuries (the Chargers have 18 players on injured reserve), this is a game where Carr, Cooper, and fellow wide receiver Michael Crabtree (71 catches, 806 receiving yards, and 7 TDs) can do some damage and get Oakland’s offensive fluidity back on track.

Khalil Mack is the center of the universe in Oakland’s 30th ranked defense, and is no doubt the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

Mack is tied for third with Washington defensive end Ryan Kerrigan with 11 sacks and has recorded one sack in eight consecutive games. Mack also has 61 tackles, five forced fumbles, and one interception (a pick-6) on the season.

San Diego (5-8) is mercifully looking for the season to end and maybe playing Oakland for the last time at Qualcomm Stadium.

After San Diego voters shot down a stadium proposal last month, the Chargers inch closer to moving to Los Angeles when the NFL owners unanimously approved a tenant-lease contract between the Chargers and Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday.

The Chargers have until Jan. 15 to exercise an option to relocate to Los Angeles.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is on pace for his eighth 4,000-yard passing season with 3,589 yards and fifth 30-touchdown passing season with 27 touchdowns, but Rivers has been a turnover machine with a league-high 17 interceptions.

Rivers was solely responsible for five turnovers — three interceptions and two strip-sack fumbles in San Diego’s 28-16 loss at Carolina in Week 14.

As a team, San Diego has a league-worse 30 turnovers this season.

Running back Melvin Gordon, who is on the brink of his first 1,000-yard rushing season with 997 yards on the ground, is out for Sunday’s game with a hip injury. Gordon was carted off the field against Carolina.

With top wide receiver Keenan Allen lost for the season in Week 1 with a torn ACL, Tyrell Williams has become Rivers’ favorite deep-threat.

The second-year undrafted wide receiver from Western Oregon has been one of the brighter spots for San Diego this season, leading the team in catches (55), receiving yards 905, and tied for touchdowns (6).

Williams has three 100-yard receiving games this season, one of them was a five-catch, 117 yards and a touchdown against Oakland in Week 5.

Wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who signed with San Diego in the offseason, also recorded 117 receiving yards on seven catches in Oakland.

The Raiders, who have had trouble this season covering the tight end, must account for future Hall of Famer in Antonio Gates and rookie Hunter Henry who both scored against the Raiders.

Oakland has won the last three meetings against San Diego, most recently a 34-31 affair at the Oakland Coliseum on Oct. 9. Carr threw for 317 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Rivers passed for 359 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.




Raiders Instant Report Card: Cooper finally scores, Raiders tie Broncos for first place in AFC West with win over Chargers

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND, Calif — I guess the Raiders love winning games by the closest of margins this season.

In a match up teams going in opposite directions, Oakland prevailed over visiting San Diego, 34-31, Sunday afternoon. Oakland took advantage of four Chargers’ turnovers and a botched field goal attempt on San Diego’s final drive of the game.

All of Oakland’s games this season have been decided by seven points or less, leading to the Raiders (4-1) to a share of the AFC West lead with the Denver Broncos.

Denver (4-1) was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten, losing at home to the Atlanta Falcons 23-16 Sunday. Atlanta (4-1) also defeated the Raiders 35-28 in Week 2, spoiling Oakland’s home opener.

Checkout each unit’s grade following the Raiders’ first win at the Oakland Coliseum this year:

Quarterback (B+) – Coming into the game Sunday, their was so much talk that Oakland would blowout San Diego, who are a depleted with 14 players on injured reserve but that was not the case.

Oakland missed opportunities in the first half on offense, settling for three Sebastian Janikowski field goals and trailing San Diego, 10-9 at halftime.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr seemed overly-excited in the first half in front of the sold out Raider Nation crowd, throwing only his second interception of the season on a shovel pass intended for rookie running back DeAndre Washington to Chargers defensive tackle Brandon Mebane on Oakland’s first drive of the game.

But Carr rebounded, completing 25-of-40 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns against a Chargers secondary that were playing without Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett, who was lost for the season with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

With Oakland trailing 17-9 in the third quarter,  Carr threw a beautiful pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper down the Chargers’ sideline for a 64-yard score to pull Oakland closer, 17-16.

Following a Philip Rivers’ 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Hunter Henry that pushed San Diego’s lead to 24-16, Carr found wide receiver Michael Crabtree for a 21-yard touchdown on 4th and 2 that trimmed the Chargers’ lead to 24-22 before Carr found Cooper on a quick slant for the two-point conversion that tied the score 24-24.

For the season, Carr has thrown for 1,383 yards, 11 touchdowns, and two interceptions while completing 67-percent of his passes.

”Sometimes you just have to find ways to win and get it done at the end,” Carr said after the game. ”It would be nice if we didn’t have to do all the stress and drama at the end. That would be nice.”

Running Backs (B) –Without starting running back Latavius Murray, the ground game was left in the hands of rookie running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, and fullback Jamize Olawale.

The trio registered just 23 carries for 89 yards on the ground, with Richard leading the group with only 31 yards on eight carries.

Washington rushed for 23 yards on a team-leading nine carries. Olawale (six carries and tied for a team-high six catches) was the only back to score, a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter that gave Oakland a 34-24 lead.

Offensive line (C-) – After not giving up a sack last week in Baltimore and keeping Carr upright, the unit gave up three sacks to San Diego Sunday.

Rookie defensive end Joey Bosa, who was making his NFL debut after missing San Diego’s first four games, found himself getting well acquainted with Carr, sacking Carr twice.

Linebacker Jatavis Brown recorded a sack for San Diego.

Wide Receivers (A) – It took five games, but wide receiver Amari Cooper finally got into the end zone Sunday.

Cooper had his best game of the season, catching six passes for 138 yards, and a touchdown. Cooper blew past Chargers’ strong safety Adrian Phillips down San Diego’s sideline for a 64-yard score.

The Raiders’ second-year wide receiver was targeted a team-high 12 times Sunday, and now leads the team in targets (44), yards (456, pacing fifth in the league among wide receivers), and is second to teammate Michael Crabtree for the team lead in receptions (29 to 26).

Crabtree finished with three catches and 47 yards Sunday, but hauled in his fifth touchdown catch of the year. Crabtree is tied with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown for the most touchdown catches in the league with five.

In 21 games with Oakland since 2015, Crabtree has recorded at least three catches in all games played and his 13 touchdowns from the start of last season are tied for sixth in the league over that span.

Oakland’s 32nd ranked defense had another tough day, giving up 423 yards of total offense to a Chargers team that was missing star wide receiver Keenan Allen and versatile running back Danny Woodhead. Allen and Woodhead both were lost for the season with torn ACL’s.

Even in the win, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio wasn’t happy with his defense’s performance, Del Rio called out his defense, saying that they need to “Stop playing Santa Claus. Stop giving out presents.”

Defensive Line (B) – Defensive tackles Stacy McGee (1.5 sacks) and Dan Williams (0.5 sack), were key in stopping Melvin Gordon and the Chargers’ ground game.

McGee forced two of San Diego’s five fumbles on the day.

Oakland’s defensive front limited the former Wisconsin Badger to 16 carries for 69 yards rushing.

Linebackers (A) – Newly signed linebacker Perry Riley, Jr. played great in his debut in Silver & Black, leading the team with seven tackles (six solo).

The former Washington linebacker started next to rookie Corey James for the injured Malcolm Smith. Smith, who did suit up, was active but didn’t play any snaps.

Riley Jr. will get a lot of playing time and could possible remain the starter if Smith’s injury continues to derail his season.

Secondary (C-) – The “gifts” that Raiders head coach might be referring to is the abundance of passing yards the secondary has given up game after game, as evident of the 356 yards and four touchdowns that San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw on the rebuilt unit.

Free agent addition Sean Smith intercepted his second pass of the season and rookie Karl Joseph recorded both his first interception and fumble recovery, but Oakland couldn’t stop the Chargers wide receivers.

David Amerson, rated as the best cornerback in the league according to Pro Football Focus, was burned by wide receiver Tyrell Williams for a 29-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter that gave San Diego a 7-3 lead.

Williams and fellow wide receiver Travis Benjamin had 117 receiving yards each, while combining for 12 catches.

Oakland is surrendering 330 yards per game through the air per game, which is dead last and that needs to improve.

Special Teams (A-) – Kicker Sebastian Janikowski accounted for 14 points on 4-of-5 field goals on the day, while punter Marquette King had three punts for an average of 41.3 yards per punt.

The Raiders welcome another bitter division rival, the Kansas City Chiefs (2-2), next Sunday at 1:25 p.m. PT.

Kansas City was on a bye week.




Oakland Raiders-San Diego Chargers preview: Raiders host Chargers in AFC West battle

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP file photo: Oakland Raiders Michael Crabtree (15) runs a pass route against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday Crabtree who scored three touchdowns is looking forward to the challenge of the San Diego Chargers next Sunday

OAKLAND, Calif — It’s been three weeks since Raider Nation has seen their team up close, and the last time the Silver & Black were at the Oakland Coliseum, their home opener, they lost to the Atlanta Falcons 35-28 in Week 2 dropping Oakland’s record to 1-1.

After playing three of their first four games on the road, Oakland (3-1), will play their next two games at home, both against AFC West opponents, first hosting the San Diego Chargers Sunday in Week 5 action at 1:25 p.m. PT.

Oakland welcomes the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 16 (Week 6).

The Raiders slipped by the Ravens, 28-27, in Baltimore last Sunday.

Quarterback Derek Carr, as cool as a cucumber, drove Oakland 66 yards in six plays, and found wide receiver Michael Crabtree tip-toeing the back of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown with 2:12 left in the fourth quarter.

The third-year quarterback from Fresno State has played more like a 10-year veteran during the first month of the season,  throwing for 1,066 yards, nine touchdowns, to just one interception.

“He is a guy that is very well-prepared,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said via “He’s really, I think, taken a step forward in terms of emotional control, the poise to be, kind of, surgeon-like and just be accurate with the ball and let his playmakers do their thing.”

Crabtree, who is off to a tremendous start to the season as well, dominated the Ravens’ second-ranked defense, scoring three touchdowns on seven catches for 88 yards.

The eight-year veteran from Texas Tech has become Carr’s big-play guy, leading the Raiders in receptions (26), touchdowns (4), and is second behind fellow wide out Amari Cooper (318) in receiving yards with 308.

Rookies are being thrust into live action for Oakland, especially as injuries begin to pile up.

The Raiders’ fifth-ranked rushing attack could be down a man Sunday, as starter Latavius Murray (toe) is not expected to play, so Oakland will rely heavily on rookie running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

Washington, who will likely start, is second on the team with 147 rushing yards on 23 carries, while Richard is third with 144 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.

Middle linebacker Ben Heeney and tight end Lee Smith, who were both placed on season-ending injured reserve this week, will rely on rookie middle linebacker Corey James to fill Heeney’s void.

James, who took over for Heeney during Oakland’s 17-10 road victory in Tennessee during Week 3, recorded a team-high 15 tackles (3 assisted) in Week 4.

Smith, who was key in Oakland’s ground game with his strong blocking, leaves those duties to second-year tight end Clive Walford and fourth-year tight end, Mychal Rivera

The offensive line has been dealing with some injuries at tackle with Menelik Watson and Austin Howard. Rookie Vadal Alexander stepped in against Baltimore and solidified a unit that didn’t allow a sack in the game to a Ravens team that entered Week 4 with six sacks.

San Diego (1-3) travel to Northern California as a broken down team,  blowing three leads in the fourth quarter in the team’s final five minutes of the game this season.

The Chargers blew a 13-point second half lead in a 35-34 loss to the New Orleans Saints, thanks to fumbles by wide receiver Travis Benjamin and running back Melvin Gordon.

Benjamin, who signed with San Diego in the offseason following four years in Cleveland, leads the Chargers with 21 catches for 277 and two touchdowns.

San Diego’s season has been decimated by injuries, with 14 players on injured reserve.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries have taken out top-flight wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back  Danny Woodhead on the offensive side, but that doesn’t seem to bother Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

Despite all of the season-ending injuries, and with security blanket in tight end Antonio Gates dealing with a hamstring injury, Rivers has continued to put up arcade-like numbers throwing for 1,110 yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception.

Rivers’s 104.5 passer rating ranks seventh in the league behind Carr’s 104.6, while engineering an offense that averages 30.2 points per game.

Defensively, San Diego lost star linebacker Manti Te’o (Achilles) in the third game of the season, but linebackers Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown have filled in nicely combining for 44 tackles and two sacks.

The loss of Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett for the season with a partially torn ACL really hurts San Diego’s pass defense, especially against Cooper and Crabtree.

Cornerback Casey Hayward has recorded three of the team’s six interceptions, while outside linebacker Melvin Ingram is the team leader with three sacks.

On paper, Oakland should dominate San Diego, but Rivers, who is 14-6 with 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for his career against the Raiders, is the quarterback who can prevent Oakland from earning their first win at home Sunday if he gets hot.

Oakland took both meetings last year against San Diego.


Woodson, Raiders prep for Chargers in home finale

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

photo credit: KCRA TV Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson

OAKLAND — When Raiders safety Charles Woodson announced his retirement on Monday from the game of football after an illustrious 18-year career, it came as a shock since Woodson has been playing at high level for the Raiders this season.

On Tuesday, Woodson, along with linebacker Khalil Mack, and fullback Marcel Reece were selected to the Pro Bowl, as announced on the NFL Network during the network’s annual selection show.

Quarterback Derek Carr, rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper, and running back Latavius Murray are heading to Honolulu as well on Jan. 31, 2016 after being selected as Pro Bowl alternates for the first time in their young careers.

It marks the ninth time that Woodson has been voted to the Pro Bowl, while Reece is making his fourth-straight team, and Mack being voted to his first.

Woodson is a viable lock for a spot in Canton once the five-year waiting period is over.

When the Raiders host the Chargers (4-10) on Thursday in Oakland’s last home game (possibly in Oakland, but don’t lose hope), Raider Nation will have one more opportunity to see one of the greatest defensive players (at any position) in the NFL.

The former fourth overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft will no doubt receive the loudest ovation from the expected sellout crowd on Christmas Eve.

Oakland (6-8) dropped their last home game to the visiting Green Bay Packers 30-20 on Sunday eliminating the Silver and Black from playoff contention for the 13th straight season.

The Chargers (4-10), defeated the Miami Dolphins 30-14 in what many believe was the final game in San Diego for quarterback Philip Rivers and Co.

Rivers passed for three touchdowns (one interception), all to running back Danny Woodhead.

Woodhead added a rushing touchdown, giving him four total for the game.

Oakland and San Diego have been rumored, along with the St. Louis Rams as teams that are planning to relocate to Los Angeles next season.


Raiders, Chargers get set for battle in San Diego

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — With the losing streak (dating back to last season) reaching 15 games, the Silver & Black will look to end the continuous losing as they head to San Diego for an AFC West battle with the Chargers Sunday. Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. PDT.

Oakland (0-9), were demolished at home by the reigning AFC Champion Denver Broncos 41-17 in Week 10. Offensively, the Raiders were in a funk, finishing with 222 total yards and 10 first downs while only managing to convert 5-of-18 (27%) on third down.

Raiders signal caller Derek Carr struggled, completing 30-of-47 passes for 192 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. According to Raiders Insider, Scott Bair, the coaching staff thought about pulling Carr in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand.

“I should be out there no matter what, good, bad or ugly,” Carr said. “For a long time, it was ugly. For me, it was really important to continue to finish. I’m all about finishing, so it was really important to me to go out there and finish. I’m glad that they kept their guys in, because I would have been mad if they weren’t. I wanted to go out there and compete one last time and just try and correct the things we’d been trying to correct all game.”

Defensively, Oakland showed a glimmer of hope early in the game forcing two turnovers (both interceptions) off of Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning that helped Oakland take a 10-6 lead in the second quarter. But, it was short-lived.

Manning regrouped and took apart Oakland’s 24th ranked defense, tossing for 340 yards and five touchdowns while completing 31-0f-44 passes.

“They’re looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow and it hasn’t been there,” Oakland’s interim head coach Tony Sparano said after the game. “We have to stay the course and believe in the things that we’re doing and we’re getting better as a football team. I know this is not an indicator of that.”

Sunday won’t get any easier for Oakland, especially against a Chargers team that are coming off an embarrassing 37-0 Week 9 drubbing at the hands of the Miami Dolphins in South Florida.

San Diego (5-4), are looking to complete a sweep of the season series over Oakland. The Bolts defeated the Raiders, 31-28 in Oakland on Oct. 12. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns.

For the season, Rivers has 20 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. It is Rivers’ ninth consecutive season with at least 20 touchdown passes.

Players to Watch

Oakland, LB, Sio Moore. Moore has emerged as one of the few bright spots on a Raiders defense that has been bitten hard by the injury bug. The second-year outside linebacker is tied with teammate Miles Burris for the team lead with 61 tackles. Moore recorded seven tackles in the Week 6 loss to the Chargers.

San Diego, RB, Branden Oliver. Oliver torpedoed the Raiders back in Week 6, rushing for 101 yards on 26 carries including the game-winning one-yard touchdown run with 1:56 left to play.


Carr’s 4 TDs not enough as Chargers slip by Raiders

Raiders show grit, and progress, but can’t get into the win column.

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND, Calif — Chargers running back Branden Oliver’s 1-yard plunge with 1:56 remaining soured interim Raiders head coach’s Tony Sparano’s debut, as San Diego pulled away from Oakland, 31-28 Sunday in front of a Raider Nation crowd of 53,329 at Coliseum.

“We have to be in these kinds of football games,” interim Raiders head coach Tony Sparano said. “We have to win one of these types of football games and that’s how you get this thing turned around.”

Oakland (0-5), got on the board in a hurry in the first quarter, when wide receiver Andre Holmes beat Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers for a 77-yard touchdown pass from Carr on the team’s third play from scrimmage. It was Oakland’s longest scoring pass since 2008, when former quarterback JaMarcus Russell connected with tight end Zach Miller for an 86-yard touchdown.

Carr completed 18-of-34 passes for 282 yards, and a career-high four touchdowns, but threw a deep pass to wide receiver Brice Butler that was intercepted by rookie cornerback Jason Verrett with 1:13 remaining in the fourth quarter to preserve San Diego’s fifth straight win.

“He made a great play,” Carr said. “Brice went up, he had it and the guy made a great play. Those things are going to happen. Yeah, it hurts. It hurts because that’s the way it ended.”

San Diego quickly answered with a touchdown of their own, when quarterback Philip Rivers took San Diego 80 yards on seven plays in 4:30 that ended with a 29-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline to wide receiver Eddie Royal that knotted up the game at 7-7 in the first quarter.

After both teams traded a pair of stalled drives to end the first quarter, San Diego took a 14-7 lead when Rivers engineered a 13-play, 85-yard drive in 7:20 to toss his second touchdown of the game, a five-yard completion to wide receiver Malcolm Floyd midway through the second quarter.

Oakland tied the game up at 14-14, after Carr found wide receiver James Jones from six yards out. It was Carr’s second touchdown pass of the game at that point. The Raiders had a chance to take a three-point lead at halftime, but kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed a 54-yard field goal as time expired.

On Oakland’s first possession of the third quarter, Carr threw his third touchdown of the game when he found Butler for 47 yards that gave the Raiders a 21-14 lead.

Not to be outdone, Rivers threw his third touchdown of the game (an 8-play, 80-yard drive; San Diego’s third 80-yard drive of the game), that resulted into a 1-yard pass to tight end Antonio Gates that tied the game at 21-21 with 2:45 left in the third quarter.

Rivers completed 22-of-34 passes for 313 yards, and three touchdowns, his third straight game with three touchdown passes. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Rivers became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards against Oakland, joining John Elway, Dan Fouts, John Hadl, and Dave Kreig.

Carr and the Raiders took a 28-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter, behind Carr’s fourth touchdown of the game to Holmes for six yards. It was Holmes’ second touchdown of the game, finishing with four catches, for 121 yards to lead all receivers.

Nick Novak booted a 30-yard field goal to pull San Diego closer, 28-24, before the aforementioned Oliver’s go-ahead touchdown that increased the Chargers’ lead for good.

With running back Ryan Matthews and Donald Brown both out with injuries, Oliver looks to be the Chargers new featured running back after picking up his second-straight 100-yard rushing game with 101 yards on 26 carries. The rookie from the University of Buffalo rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in San Diego’s 31-0 thumping of the New York Jets in Week 5.

Floyd finished with five catches for 105 yards receiving and a touchdown to lead the Chargers.

Running back Darren McFadden ran the ball hard, rushing for 80 yards on 14 carries (his highest output of the season), while fellow running back Maurice Jones-Drew chipped in 30 yards on four carries to the lead the ground game for the Silver and Black.

San Diego (5-1) sits alone atop of the AFC West and are tied with the Dallas Cowboys (5-1 after their 30-23 road victory over the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks Sunday), for the best record in the NFL.

Defensively, Oakland played gritty, but couldn’t hold a fourth quarter lead that results in the team’s 10th straight loss dating back to last season.  San Diego’s offense kept Oakland’s defense on the field, controlling the football for 37 minutes.

“The goal is to win the game,”  linebacker Sio Moore said. “We didn’t do that. We didn’t execute in the last bit of plays when we needed to, how we needed to.

“It’s a very sick feeling because we let a team off the hook that’s not supposed to be let off the hook. They’re not what they’re acclaimed to be, whatever the situation is. I’m pretty pissed about it.”

Moore finished with a team-leading seven tackles (3 assisted), strong safety Usama Young had six tackles, and defensive end C.J. Wilson recorded the Raiders lone sack.

“This group played with a lot of energy…we are going to continue to work our tails off and get better,” Sparano added.

The Raiders host NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals (4-1), who are coming off a 30-20 home victory over hapless Washington Sunday, in Week 7.





Raiders begin Sparano era with San Diego coming to Oakland

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

ALAMEDA — Coming off a much needed bye where Oakland fired head coach Dennis Allen and named offensive line coach Tony Sparano interim head coach,  the Oakland Raiders look to get into the win column as they will host the San Diego Chargers Sunday at Coliseum. Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. PDT.

Oakland, (0-4), has been dreadful offensively through the first quarter of the season, ranking last in points scored per game (12.8), total yards per game (270), and rushing yards per game (61.5). Opponents have outscored the Raiders 103-51.

Quarterback Derek Carr, who suffered a sprained ankle and MCL during Oakland’s brutal loss to Miami 38-14 in London, should be a go on Sunday after the week off.

Carr is slowly developing into a quarterback in the NFL, completing 84-of-133 passes for 734 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions in his four starts this season. The Raiders signal caller maybe in for a tough day as he is set to face a stingy Chargers defense that ranks third in the NFL in total defense.

Running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden have been virtually non-existent this season. MJD and McFadden need to find a way to take some of the pressure off Carr and run the ball better than their 1.1 and 3.3 yards per carry average (respectively) have shown.

Defensively, the Raiders will be in trouble Sunday.

Oakland has just four sacks this season, one from the defensive line. Strong safety Tyvon Branch, who leads the team with 30 tackles, is done for the season after three games with a fractured foot.

The team just placed linebacker Nick Roach on season-ending injured reserve due to lingering concussion symptoms.Roach suffered a concussion against the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 22 during the exhibition season.

It would be nice to see Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver get more pressure out of defensive end Justin Tuck, defensive tackle Antonio Smith, and linebacker LaMarr Woodley. These were the guys (along with cornerbacks Terrell Brown and Carlos Rogers), that were suppose to add some much needed punch to a pedestrian defense.

San Diego has been red hot, winners of four straight and sit atop the AFC West at 4-1; a big reason for the Chargers great start has been because of the play quarterback Philip Rivers.

Rivers is off to one of his best starts in his 11 years in the NFL, ranking near the top of the list among the game’s best quarterbacks in passing yards (1,443), touchdown-to-interception ratio (12/2), and passer rating (116.3).

Players to Watch:

Oakland – QB Derek Carr. It will be interesting to see how Carr will perform Sunday coming off the injury he sustained before the bye week. Carr will be working in another wide receiver to the mix, after the Raiders claimed former New England Patriots WR, Kenbrell Thompkins Monday.

San Diego – QB Philip Rivers. No question that Rivers has reestablish himself as a premier quarterback. Rivers is coming off back-to-back three touchdown passing performances and will be looking for his favorite target, TE Antonio Gates down the middle of the field where Oakland has been vulnerable all season.


Raider report: Lack of inexperience reason for Raiders big loss in KC

by David Zizmor

ALAMEDA–The Oakland Raiders who suffered a pretty humilating defeat at the hands of their division rivals the Kansas City Chiefs this last weekend. They lost big 56-31 that is the most points the Raiders have ever given up in a football game. It was done in dramatic fashion the Chiefs jumped out to a big lead they were up 21-0 just in the first quarter.

The big story in the game it was not only the 56 points but who scored them, five of those touchdowns were scored by the Chiefs Jamal Charles the tiny running back for the Chiefs and four of them on receptions. He became the first running back in NFL history to catch four touchdown passes in a game.

Scoring five touchdowns puts him in pretty rare company as well, five touchdowns is a huge accomplishment no matter what and at the NFL level it’s very, very rare and only three people have scored six touchdowns n a game and Charles might have had a shot at that becuase he had five touchdowns with 12 minutes left in the game he had a shot at it but he mostly sat on the bench from that point on.

Charles sat because the Chiefs were up by so much looking at it from the Raiders side this was a rough, rough loss, they were out of this one from the very beginning they really had no chance and what we’ve seen in the last few weeks is that the Raiders are falling apart on the defensive side of the football.

The Raiders have had a real tough time of it not only did they lose this game to the Chiefs last week they got hammered by a very bad New York Jets team they gave up 37 points to a Jets team that have had one of the worse offenses in the league. They lost to Dallas, Tennessee, you have to go all the way back to week 11 when they beat Houston and as we all know now is probably the team that’s going to get the number one pick in the draft that’s how bad they are.

The Raiders have had a really rough run it’s kind of disappointing their defense played really well in the first half of the season it was surprising and one of the reasons why everybody had low expectations for the Raiders was their defense. They’ve had a lot of new guys on the team and not necessarily all new but they had a lot of inexperienced guys some of them were rookies.

These were guys on the Raiders that have really never been starters at this top level and the Raiders had so little room under the cap they had to get what they could and for the most part that meant bargain basement shopping and early in the season they did a good job of motivating these guys in keeping offenses on their toes, the defense was surprising.

The Raiders face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday the 29th for their next game with a 1:25 PM kickoff at Qualcomm.

David Zizmor covers the NFL for Sportstalk Radio