NFL@L.A.: Adrian Peterson

Raiders rising but can they breathe?

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
4:08
PM PT
For the first three quarters of their 27-21 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, the Oakland Raiders looked like the class of the AFC West and a scary good young team that could make enough noise in the playoffs to net the Cincinnatti Bengals two first-round draft choices from the Carson Palmer trade after all.

In the fourth quarter they looked like the same undisciplined, immature Oakland Raiders team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2003.

The Raiders weren't just bad in the fourth quarter Sunday, they seemed hellbent on giving away the game to a Vikings team that has done the same on way too many occasions this season.

First Sebastian Janikowski had a 48-yard field-goal attempt blocked. Then Michael Bush fumbled inside the Raiders 40 yard line just moments after the Oakland defense came up with a key interception in the endzone to thwart a nice drive by the Vikings. In between the Raiders committed an alarming number of penalties.

Some of the dysfunction can be attributed to the scary injury to wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was carted off the field because of a neck injury.

Some of the penalties whistled by the officials were probably due more to the Raiders' reputation for reckless, undisciplined play. They are guilty until presumed innocent far too often for it to be a coincidence, which I assume is why coach Hue Jackson decided to take a heavy fine for the team and criticize the officials after they whistled his team for 12 penalties that cost the Raiders 117 yards during the game.

But way too much of the Raiders problem late in Sunday's game has to do with attitude.

This has been a team on its way up for the better part of two years now. They've played -- as young teams generally do -- with a large chip on their shoulder.

Now all of a sudden they have arrived and they seem to have little idea of how to breathe the air up there.

(Read full post)

Three things: Chargers-Vikings

September, 8, 2011
9/08/11
11:58
AM PT
The following are three keys things for the San Diego Chargers against the visiting Minnesota Vikings on Sunday:

1.Hold onto the ball: Ball security was a point of emphasis during the Chargers’ training camp. Coach Norv Turner believes the team’s inability to secure the ball has directly contributed to San Diego’s slow starts in recent seasons.

2. Stop the run: The Vikings can stay in the game if Adrian Peterson takes over. He ran for an NFL record 296 yards in 2007 when he last met the Chargers. San Diego must keep Peterson’s big runs to a minimum and it can’t let the Vikings control the clock on the ground.

3. Don’t let up: The Chargers can’t afford to lose this home game to a less talented team. With a road test at New England looming next week, the Chargers would be haunted by the ghosts of past slow starts all next week if they lose this game. The Chargers have to use their strong offensive attack and bury the Vikings quickly. They have to take away Minnesota’s will as soon as possible.

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TEAM LEADERS

PASSING
Philip Rivers
ATT COMP YDS TD
544 378 4478 32
RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
R. Mathews 285 1255 4.4 6
D. Woodhead 106 429 4.0 2
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
K. Allen 71 1046 14.7 8
A. Gates 77 872 11.3 4