Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Chargers 22, Raiders 14
By Bill Williamson
OAKLAND -- A look at a hard-fought AFC West game on Monday night:
What it means: In a game of two battered teams, it was the Chargers who started a critical season for coach Norv Turner with a win. Meanwhile, the Raiders were betrayed by special teams and a stalled offense to spoil the debut of the Reggie McKenzie-Dennis Allen era.
Raiders may need a snapper: Oakland long snapper Jon Condo left in the first half with a head injury. Reserve linebacker Travis Goethel took over and delivered three bad snaps in the second half. It changed the game's momentum and resulted in three field goals for the Chargers as they ran away with the game. If Condo has to miss an extensive amount of time, perhaps Oakland will look to sign former Denver snapper Lonie Paxton. He was cut this month. Clearly, the Raiders could do worse than the 12-year veteran.
McFadden is Palmer’s favorite target: With receivers Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford injured, Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer relied heavily on screen passes to running back Darren McFadden. He had 13 catches for 86 yards. It was a career high and a Raiders’ record for a running back. McFadden, who missed the final nine games of last season, struggled on the ground, though. He had just 32 yards on 15 carries.
Oakland’s third-down defense does well: Oakland’s defense tightened when it had to and held San Diego to five field goals and one touchdown. Rivers made his plays, but Oakland can build on this defensive performance.
Oakland’s offense stalls in third quarter: Oakland had just 29 yards of offense in the third quarter and was unable to gain any momentum. Had the Raiders' offense been successful, the Goethel gaffes would have never happened. San Diego’s defense was mostly terrific, especially in the second half. The Chargers should be very excited.
Raiders' penalties: The Raiders were penalized six times for 35 yards. That is encouraging for a team that set an NFL record for penalties and penalty yardage last year.
Chargers' third-down defense iffy: The Chargers’ third-down defense was worst in the NFL last season. While Oakland converted on only 5 of 15 third-downs, they made a few big plays on the ones they hit. The Chargers need to do better.
What’s next: San Diego opens its home slate against 0-1 Tennessee and Oakland travels all the way to Miami on a short week to face the 0-1 Dolphins.