The Raiders are still alive. I wrote this week that they needed to beat the Chargers to legitimately stay relevant in the AFC West, and they did so. The Chiefs now lead the Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers by one game. A few thoughts from Oakland’s big 35-27 win:
1. The Chargers special teams has passed the Carolina passing game as the single worst thing in the NFL. Yes, the Chargers made a ton of mistakes turning the ball over. Yes, the Raiders were feisty. Ultimately, you can’t give up nine points on back-to-back punt blocks and expect to win.
This is the third game of the year the Chargers special teams has cost them a game. Insane.
2. Congrats to the Raiders for ending seven years of futility to the Chargers. Jason Campbell took over Bruce Gradkowski, who left the game with a shoulder injury for good in the third quarter. (Gradkowski missed the second quarter with the injury.)
After a slow start, Campbell finished 13-of-18 for 159 yards and a touchdown. Oakland had touchdown drives of 97 and 73 yards in the second half.
3. The Chargers out-gained Oakland 506-279. They went 2-of-6 in the red zone and lost three fumbles. Philip Rivers threw for 431 yards, and two touchdowns. Rivers is averaging 352 yards-per-game this year. It’s criminal if A.J. Smith can’t take advantage of Rivers’ prime, because he’s putting together another MVP-caliber season.
4. Oakland’s rushing game was strong even without Darren McFadden. Michael Bush rushed for 104 yards on 26 carries.