Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Halftime notes from Oakland
By Bill Williamson
Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
OAKLAND -- Halftime from a 10-10 deadlock between the Raiders and Chargers:
The Coliseum is in an uproar. An apparent Louis Murphy touchdown was overturned by an official’s review. The ruling was Murphy did not have possession of the ball. It seemed good to me. Oakland had to settle for a field goal with 40 seconds left in the half.
Murphy, who has looked good, brought the ball back to the Oakland sideline to commemorate his first NFL score.
- San Diego’s Darren Sproles reminded everybody why he is a premier return man with kickoff returns of 66 and 59 yards in the first half.
- San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers was a tidy 10 of 12 passing for 60 yards.
- Darren McFadden, who had fumble issues in college at Arkansas, fumbled in the second quarter. It set up a game-tying touchdown by the Chargers.
- San Diego tight end Antonio Gates looked good and looks like he will be one of Rivers’ top targets again this year. He had a 24-yard catch to the Oakland 1 on third and 12 to setup the Chargers’ score.
- Oakland’s defense is hitting hard and making San Diego work.
- Oakland tight end Zach Miller is quarterback JaMarcus Russell’s favorite target. Miller has four catches for 69 yards in the first quarter.
- San Diego linebacker Stephen Cooper dropped a sure interception at San Diego’s 10-yard line late in the second quarter. Cooper would have been able to run a long time had he caught the ball. Oakland ended up scoring a field goal on the drive.
- Oakland first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped the first two passes thrown to him in his NFL career. Heyward-Bey’s college career was peppered with drops. That why his selection at No. 7 overall shocked the league.
- Oakland ran 40 plays in the first half compared to San Diego’s 20. Oakland controlled the clock for 19:14 in the first half.
- The Chargers had better success against Oakland’s run offense in the second quarter.
- We are seeing a punting clinic. Both Oakland’s Shane Lechler and San Diego’s Mike Scifres are blasting the ball. Not surprising. They are two of the very best punters in the game.
- It doesn’t seem Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha's wrist injury is bothering him too much. He is having a very active game. He had surgery on the wrist two weeks ago.
- Oakland guard Robert Gallery left the game with a back injury. He is questionable to return.
- San Diego’s offensive line looked out of sync in the first half at times. Rivers often didn’t have much time to pass.
- San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman has been unable to provide much of a pass rush all game.
- Oakland converted 6-of-8 plays on third down.