Raiders 14

(2-6, 0-4 away)

Chargers 42

(5-3, 3-1 home)

4:15 PM ET, October 31, 2004

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA 

1 2 3 4 T
OAK 0 7 7 014
SD 14 14 14 042

Brees 22-of-25 for 281 yards

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Drew Brees has never looked better than he did against the hated Oakland Raiders.

He was practically perfect.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Raiders-Chargers: Can the Chargers make a run at the playoffs in the tough AFC?

The Chargers are definitely serving notice that they are able to compete in a tough AFC and a tight AFC West. They have a balanced offense that has only gotten better with the recent acquisition of WR Keenan McCardell and the strong play of TE Antonio Gates. That's one more threat at the receiver position than QB Drew Brees has had in his career. They have a great offensive line in front of RB LaDainian Tomlinson and a surprisingly strong defense. Right now, the Chargers are the surprise team of the NFL and will make a run at the playoffs.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

Brees continued his remarkable turnaround from last season's nightmare, throwing a career-high five touchdown passes and setting team records for pass efficiency in leading the surprising San Diego Chargers to a 42-14 rout of the hapless Raiders on Sunday.

Brees completed his first eight passes to quiet the thousands of Raiders fans in the stadium, and finished 22-of-25 for 281 yards and no interceptions. His 88-percent completion rate and 153.1 passer rating were team records. The highest rating a quarterback can have is 158.3.

"Drew's on fire," star running back LaDainian Tomlinson said.

"It was fun," Brees said. "It felt like we could run anything in our base offense and we knew it was going to work. We had that confidence."

If Brees had played like this last year, the Chargers wouldn't have needed to spend a No. 1 pick and $40 million on another quarterback, Philip Rivers.

Brees is doing his best to keep Rivers on the sideline. And since this is the last year of his contract, he could present the front office with a dilemma if he keeps playing well.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer planned to take Brees out in the final minutes, but said Rivers told him: "Coach, the way he is playing, let him finish."

The Chargers made Brees the scapegoat for an NFL-worst 4-12 season in 2003, a move that backfired when Rivers, obtained in a draft-day deal with the New York Giants for Eli Manning and a handful of picks, missed the first month of training camp in a contract holdout, allowing Brees to keep his job.

Brees said his motivation is to keep winning games and a championship, not to prove people wrong.

"I play for this team," he said. "Obviously I love the game and feel we have something special. I want more than anything for it to keep going."

Brees said the biggest difference between last season and this season is experience.

"The game is slowing down. You see things before they happen," he said.

The Chargers are 5-3 at the season's midpoint and tied for the AFC West lead with Denver, which lost to Atlanta.

Brees has thrown 14 touchdown passes against just three interceptions this year, compared to his 15 interceptions and 11 TDs last year. His previous best for touchdown passes in a game was three, which he did three times.

He hit tight end Antonio Gates with scoring passes of 5 yards and 1 yard on consecutive drives in the third quarter to give the Chargers a 42-7 lead. The second scoring pass to Gates came on fourth down, and the former Kent State basketball star spiked the ball through the uprights. He normally throws the ball to an official.

"We all trust Drew," Gates said. "Right now, he's the captain of the ship. He's making this offense click."

The Raiders (2-6) lost their fifth straight and for the 13th straight time on the road. Kerry Collins was intercepted twice -- giving him 11 in 5½ games since replacing the injured Rich Gannon -- and the Raiders were held to 22 yards rushing.

"It is real simple -- we are not a good football team," said cornerback Charles Woodson, who re-injured his hip.

The Raiders have lost 16 of their last 20 games.

"We just got flat embarrassed," defensive lineman Warren Sapp said. "For some reason, we just can't turn this vibe off."

It was just the second time the Chargers scored more than 40 points in their last 132 games dating to 1996.

Brees' first three TD passes Sunday went 17 yards to tight end Justin Peelle in the first quarter, and 13 yards to Keenan McCardell and 23 yards to Tim Dwight in the second. The Chargers led 28-7 at halftime.

McCardell, obtained two weeks ago from Tampa Bay, said he knew Brees was a competitor.

"He steps up to challenges. You've got to give him a lot of credit. He wants to be great," McCardell said.

Tomlinson, slowed the last four games by a strained groin, scored on a 1-yard dive over the pile for a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. He finished with 71 yards on 19 carries.

Tyrone Wheatley scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter and Collins threw a 13-yard TD pass to Doug Jolley in the fourth for the Raiders. Collins was 24-of-39 for 263 yards. ^Notes:@ San Diego's previous completion percentage record was 81.8 percent by Rick Neuheisel, the replacement quarterback during the 1987 strike. ... Brees' five TD passes tied him for second-most in team history, one behind Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, who threw six at Oakland on Nov. 22, 1981. ... Chargers rookie center Nick Hardwick sustained a concussion in the second quarter and was replaced by David Brandt.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 4 plays, 52 yds, 1:51
Drive info: 5 plays, 50 yds, 2:40
Drive info: 5 plays, 66 yds, 2:00
Drive info: 4 plays, 52 yds, 1:51
Drive info: 5 plays, 50 yds, 2:40
Drive info: 5 plays, 66 yds, 2:00
Drive info: 6 plays, 60 yds, 3:00
Drive info: 6 plays, 60 yds, 3:00
sdTD0:13LaDainian Tomlinson, 1 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 29 yds, 3:10
Drive info: 7 plays, 29 yds, 3:10
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 5:00
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 5:00
oakTD10:09Tyrone Wheatley, 5 yd run
Drive info: 10 plays, 74 yds, 4:52
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yds, 6:34
Drive info: 10 plays, 74 yds, 4:52
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yds, 6:34