Coach: Loss not Philip Rivers' fault
SAN DIEGO -- Coach Norv Turner says Philip Rivers shouldn't be blamed for the tumbling Chargers' 24-17 loss to the Raiders.
On the contrary, Turner praised Rivers for surviving a fierce pass rush Thursday night that resulted in six sacks and numerous hits.
"I've been around some guys that wouldn't make it that far through that game," Turner said Friday.
The Raiders went after Rivers, who didn't have the luxury of a tie, let alone a lead, over the final three-plus quarters en route to the Chargers' (4-5) fourth consecutive defeat, their longest skid since 2003. The game left Oakland (5-4) alone in first place in the weak AFC West.
Turner didn't relish calling pass plays in those circumstances. "You still have to make plays to try to win," he said. "That's the tough one."
Rivers was 23 of 47 for 274 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Turner wasn't patient Friday with "people who don't appreciate Philip Rivers and what he's able to do, and what he's done for this football team over the last year-and-a-half. With all of the different people who he's played with, it's phenomenal."
Coming out of halftime, quicker passes and completions over the middle contributed to San Diego's 14-point third quarter. Tight end Randy McMichael and running backs Jacob Hester and Mike Tolbert were called upon to help protect Rivers. In the first half, however, Raiders linebacker Kamerion Wimbley sacked Rivers four times after beating injured tackle Marcus McNeill's replacement, Brandyn Dombrowski. Guard Louis Vasquez also was injured in the game.
Turner didn't say which, if any, of the injured players are likely to return against the Bears on Nov. 20.
Coming off a stretch of three games in 11 days, the Chargers will not practice until Monday.
"We're going to need to get every guy healthy we can, and we're going to need to play better than we did (Thursday)," Turner said.
Against the Raiders, "there were four or five plays where we had a chance to make some big plays, but we were unable to hold up from a protection standpoint," Turner said.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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