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Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Momentum changes in a snap

By Bill Williamson

OAKLAND -- Think a long snapper isn’t important?

The position could cost the Oakland Raiders on Monday night as standout long snapper Jon Condo left in the first half with a head injury.

Reserve linebacker Travis Goethel took over and he delivered a bad snap on a punt that set up a San Diego field goal to give the Chargers a 13-6 lead in the third quarter. Then, later in the quarter, San Diego blocked a Shane Lechler punt (it was clean but slow snap by Goethel) deep in the Raiders' territory. It setup another field goal as the Chargers took a 16-7 lead.

It was the first time a Lechler punt was blocked in six year. Oakland’s offense has also stalled in the third quarter -- compounding the Raiders' problems on special teams.

Give Oakland’s defense credit for buckling down and keeping the Chargers to field goals after these two snapping miscues. The truth is, Goethel’s mistakes are hurting the Raiders as the fourth quarter begins. I will be back with a rapid reaction and a column after the game.