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Chargers win, Raiders learn the value of a long snapper

San Diego Chargers v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers got a good game from quarterback Philip Rivers. The Oakland Raiders got a good lesson in the importance of a competent long snapper.

In the Chargers’ 22-14 victory over the Raiders on Monday night in Oakland, Rivers (who completed 24 of 33 passes for 231 yards) was accurate and efficient and everything San Diego needed him to be. But Rivers wasn’t the biggest story coming out of the game.

No, the biggest story was just how disastrous the Raiders’ special teams became after long snapper Jon Condo left the game with a concussion. Most fans only notice long snappers when they screw up, and sure enough, everyone noticed that Condo had left the game because Raiders linebacker Travis Goethel kept screwing up when he was pressed into service as the backup long snapper. Twice Goethel sent such bad snaps back to punter Shane Lechler that Lechler was unable to get the punt off at all, and on another occasion the Chargers blocked the punt when Goethel got off a shaky snap to Lechler.

You’d better believe that every head coach and special teams coordinator in the NFL is going to give practice reps this week to the backup long snapper, because the Raiders demonstrated just how important that position can be. This was a debacle.

Of course, the Raiders’ offense deserves some of the blame for the fact that Oakland had to punt so often. Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer threw short passes almost exclusively, was under constant pressure from Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips, and wasn’t able to engineer any sustained drives until finally leading the Raiders into the end zone with less than a minute left in the game. Raiders running back Darren McFadden was Oakland’s biggest receiving threat but couldn’t get much going on the ground. The Raiders have speed on offense, but that speed didn’t translate into many big plays.

The Chargers’ running game is a mess without Ryan Mathews, but the combination of Rivers consistently finding open receivers in the Raiders’ secondary and Nate Kaeding going 5-for-5 on field goals in his return from missing last year with a torn ACL was enough. Special teams were Oakland’s biggest problem on Monday night, but the Raiders also have problems on offense and defense, and those may be harder problems to fix.

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67 Responses to “Chargers win, Raiders learn the value of a long snapper”
  1. sourdough says: Sep 11, 2012 1:31 AM

    Only seven more losses this season ensures ten (10) seasons w.o a winning record.

    Just lose, baby!

  2. nflhof says: Sep 11, 2012 1:32 AM

    Joetoronto this reality calling are you there?

  3. Mr. Wright 212 says: Sep 11, 2012 1:33 AM

    That was terrible. Basically cost them the game.

  4. raiders1995 says: Sep 11, 2012 1:33 AM

    Well how many checkdowns are you gonna run to DMac?

  5. trbowman says: Sep 11, 2012 1:34 AM

    Man, Greg Knapp is just awful.

    I get that they were missing Moore, but that offense has so much potential for explosiveness that is just gonna get royally sapped this year.

    And they let go of one of the best OCs in the game in Al Saunders, too.

  6. thraiderskin says: Sep 11, 2012 1:37 AM

    Fricken rediculous… looks to be another long season, atleast we have NFL films…

  7. nestaaali says: Sep 11, 2012 1:38 AM

    Not that I have any real gripes about it, we got rid of Hue last season, where our biggest strengths were offense & special teams. Tonight, our defense didn’t look awful. Definitely nothing close to that Bresnahan mess last season. Jon Condo is a huge loss, and our offense? Got a little sick. In times like these, you have to look at some kind of a bright sign. At least Carson didn’t throw a pick.

  8. torontofalcon says: Sep 11, 2012 1:39 AM

    I cant believed I punished my self by watching this game, never watching the raiders play again. (except when Atlanta tumps them)

  9. villa41 says: Sep 11, 2012 1:42 AM

    Um..the Chargers won but I wouldn’t feel too good about it Dolt fans. 32 yards rushing for a 1.6 average. 5 field goals. We’ll meet again, and, hopefully, Condo is healthy.

    A couple things to correct here. Palmer only become under constant pressure when he wa back to pass every play late in the game. The Raiders kept Palmer clean until late and the pass protection wa pretty good.

    Dropped balls by receivers, fumbles, penalties, and a special teams disaster = a loss. The defense looks much improved, though. The offense moved the ball. Even with everything else, this could have easily been a win without the ST follies. It’s a loss. Move on to next week.

  10. demolition510 says: Sep 11, 2012 1:44 AM

    Ummm. Trust me. They know the value of a long snapper. Having a competent backup is another story.

    Take away the 5FGs mostly caused by field position and D did ok to contain Rivers.
    And the speed you talked about not translating to big plays – how bout throwing in there that Moore and Ford didn’t play.

    It may be the first game, but Raider Nation is done with Knapp as OC and the weakass ZBS. It didn’t work the first time with JaMarcus and it won’t work now.

  11. villa41 says: Sep 11, 2012 1:45 AM

    Oh – one other thing. I don’t want to hear any junk about Palmer. He played as well as Rivers. The man played as well. This was mostly on ST with penalties, receivers dropping balls in their hands, and fumbles not helping.

  12. gator2006 says: Sep 11, 2012 1:46 AM

    Run-DMC rocking the PPR leagues

  13. acdrew22 says: Sep 11, 2012 1:46 AM

    that raiders D gave up 10 points… the offense gave up the rest. to have that many possessions in scoring territory and only come up with 4 fgs… I didn’t think the raiders D performed bad.. but let’s face it, when mcfadden touches the ball 28 times and the rest of the team touches it 21… any defense will have it easy stopping 1 player

  14. sportsmeccabi says: Sep 11, 2012 1:47 AM

    Palmer: Keep calm and give the ball to McFadden.

  15. 619sdfan4life says: Sep 11, 2012 1:47 AM

    What were you big mouth Chokeland fans saying last week? Don’t shoot nobody cause you lost again. 15-18 vs raiders. Who was it that said the charges were gonna lose. JUST LOSE AGAIN BABY.

  16. 619sdfan4life says: Sep 11, 2012 1:48 AM

    That’s 15 out of 18 for you raider fans

  17. maiphatdong says: Sep 11, 2012 2:01 AM

    Palmer stinks

  18. boltfan24 says: Sep 11, 2012 2:04 AM

    Great win for the Bolts! Smart efficient football. Cant wait until Mathews and Gaither are back!

  19. oside760 says: Sep 11, 2012 2:04 AM

    the raiders are such a disgrace

  20. riverace19 says: Sep 11, 2012 2:04 AM

    It’s the coaching staff’s fault that the backup wasn’t ready; I felt bad for him because you could tell he had no reps. Thought the Raider D was pretty stingy but Carson Palmer looks like he’s older than Favre.

  21. lanjoith says: Sep 11, 2012 2:07 AM

    Quit trying to spin it Raider fans. You were dominated at home by a division rival.

    We will see you again … In the final week of the season when your season will already be long over and Run DMC will be on injured reserve and Matt Leinart is starting.

  22. radrntn says: Sep 11, 2012 2:13 AM

    hard game to watch…..ice cube pre game glitch was a sign of things to come…..props to the chargers. yes the raiders missed their pro bowl long snapper. offense tried to much east West stuff. but overall i thought d looked ok all things considering. right side of o-line looked bad.

  23. lanzurrah says: Sep 11, 2012 2:22 AM

    Chargers left alot of points on the field. Would have been a much worse beat down with Gaither, Matthews and Brown on the field. Consider yourself lucky that it wasn’t worse Oakland.

  24. coolgato13 says: Sep 11, 2012 2:25 AM

    I want to like the Raiders, I really do.
    They just make it so damn hard !
    That is what I call losing ugly.

  25. raideralex99 says: Sep 11, 2012 2:41 AM

    It’s one game people … Chargers played a mistake free game … that’s the difference.
    Raiders finally have a defence … the only problem besides the long snapper is the playcalling. Knapp should have watched the Redskins/Saints game … Shanny had RGS throwing the short dump passes once the Saints stopped it … Shanny burned them for a long TD pass on the next series.
    Message to the Raiders … if you want McFadden to play the whole season and afew more years DON’T keep calling his number every play … how long do you think he will last?

  26. hoodheisman says: Sep 11, 2012 2:52 AM

    Knapp is a joke. The Chargers couldn’t matchup with the Raiders run game until they re-introduced this silly zbs this year. If they Raiders can’t pound the Chargers on the ground, then the Raiders likely aren’t going to run on anybody this year. Stunning 180 degree turnaround from the Cable / Hue Jackson teams that could run on almost anybody. Wow. Knapp will give Bresnahan a run for worst coordinator in Raider history.

  27. raideralex99 says: Sep 11, 2012 2:56 AM

    Charger fans … don’t brag too much … all you got is Rivers and maybe Gates and that’s it. Seriously if that’s best … I can’t this this team above .500.

  28. dasmol says: Sep 11, 2012 3:06 AM

    McFadden’s scared. Running out of bounds, and taking his eyes off the ball because he’s expecting contact.

    Got to love the bandwagon raiduh fans booing their team in the home opener.

    There’s some mascara running tonight.

  29. stewbag says: Sep 11, 2012 3:11 AM

    They both looked terrible, I was able to get a 3 hour nap in though.

  30. tdubdizzle says: Sep 11, 2012 3:17 AM

    The Raiders played awful. I’m excited to see what they can do next week if they just play ok. Greg Knapp needs to let that offense loose, Carson needs more reps with the receivers. You could tell they hadn’t practiced together enough. Moore is more important to this offense than I thought. All in all Greg Knapp needs to call better plays giving his players more of a chance to make plays. Checkdowns to Darren Mcfadden all night aren’t going to win you games, the guy had 15 receptions! 15! He only ran 13 times, C’mon Greg Knapp.

    Rod Streaters fumble was a young player trying to do to much to make a play. The D looked good besides a couple of incoherent Tommy Kelly penalties. The Chargers being the smart team they are, let the Raiders beat themselves.

    I hope Ron Bartells injury isn’t too serious. You can bet Reggie is going to be checking out some veterans tomorrow. Getting Chris Cooley will help a lot, giving us a veteran tight end that can make plays.

  31. holahey123 says: Sep 11, 2012 3:22 AM

    Sleep tight, Matt Barkley. Enjoy your days while you are still playing for USC, and hope you don’t follow the same fate as your alumni: Todd Marinovich, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. Yikes…the Raiders could have three QBs from USC next year on their rosters, and guess who is coaching USC now, Lane Kiffin. How ironic.

  32. maximus929 says: Sep 11, 2012 3:49 AM

    Really. There are fewer more delusional fans the Dolt fans.

    Norv Turner. Enjoy another frustrating season.

  33. hoetoronto says: Sep 11, 2012 4:44 AM

    radrntn says:
    Sep 11, 2012 2:13 AM
    hard game to watch…..ice cube pre game glitch was a sign of things to come…..props to the chargers. yes the raiders missed their pro bowl long snapper. offense tried to much east West stuff. but overall i thought d looked ok all things considering. right side of o-line looked bad.
    ——————————————–

    No. It wasn’t a “hard game to watch (sniff, sniff). You’re just a buster. Maybe if you paid for your own internet then you can crawl out of mommys basement and come full circle to what being a man is about. Youre a fraud. You run away at the first sign of adversary. Its spelled clearly in your previous posts. Try grabbing a hold of your own sack one of these days and stop backpedaling about how your “Raiders” (even though you just like the uniform colors) were going to wipe the floor clean with the Chargers. Youre a weasel. Try to back out silently without leaving trace, but unbeknownkst, fools like you leave a paper trail then modestly “disappear”. Homeboy your china doll. I called you out. What.

  34. chargersdiehard says: Sep 11, 2012 6:10 AM

    I thought the new coach and gm were changing the culture in oakland! Looked like the same old raiders to me. A lot of bark, no bite, shooting themselves in the foot like plax.

  35. tennesseeoilers says: Sep 11, 2012 6:18 AM

    Philip Rivers looked good? Of course he did. He’s like Tony Romo. Smooth operator during the regular season, but when the pressure’s on in the playoffs? Night night.

  36. vincespowersweep says: Sep 11, 2012 6:31 AM

    The thing that made this game hard for me to watch was Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer. Berman’s schtick was tired 15 years ago and Dilfer is just annoying. Glad they wont be disgracing any more NFL telecasts this year.

  37. joetoronto says: Sep 11, 2012 6:36 AM

    villa41 says:
    Sep 11, 2012 1:42 AM
    Um..the Chargers won but I wouldn’t feel too good about it Dolt fans. 32 yards rushing for a 1.6 average. 5 field goals. We’ll meet again, and, hopefully, Condo is healthy.

    A couple things to correct here. Palmer only become under constant pressure when he wa back to pass every play late in the game. The Raiders kept Palmer clean until late and the pass protection wa pretty good.

    Dropped balls by receivers, fumbles, penalties, and a special teams disaster = a loss. The defense looks much improved, though. The offense moved the ball. Even with everything else, this could have easily been a win without the ST follies. It’s a loss. Move on to next week.
    **************************************************
    This sums it up very well, the Raiders couldn’t stretch the field with both Moore and Ford out.

    I was happy with the defense, I thought the front 7 especially played very well.

    Overall, I don’t think either team looked impressive last night.

  38. zoxitic says: Sep 11, 2012 6:46 AM

    Joetoronto, stop spending time bashing other teams and help your team find a long snapper, a quarterback, some offensive lineman and some receivers. Oh yeah and get that silly star wars looking silver and black garb off, you guys look wesome wearing that when your winning, but when youre losing, it looks pathetically sad.

  39. lanzurrah says: Sep 11, 2012 7:06 AM

    Were these the new schemes that were going to put the Raiders back on top of the AFC West. They haven’t looked that inept since Art Shells second stint as coach. Laughable.

  40. congocash says: Sep 11, 2012 7:15 AM

    In your face oakland…
    While im here, u can go ahead and peal off you oakland raider car decals….clowns…

  41. mrcogburn says: Sep 11, 2012 7:39 AM

    ESPN has ruined the MNF experience, making it unwatchable. Bergman and Dilfer make the dental drill sound pleasant, and Tirico and Gruden are little better. When will this long national nightmare be over?

  42. stratomaticfan says: Sep 11, 2012 8:03 AM

    “Carson Palmer threw short passes almost exclusively, was under constant pressure from Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips,”

    Did you watch the game, or only the last 5 minutes when they were in “throw every down” mode when Phillips got to pin his ears back and bull rush every play rather than have to worry about the run?

    Palmer did a great job and executed the plays called almost to perfection.

    The only difference in this game was the long snapper and a couple of bad missed penalties on the Chargers (ie the Horse Collar that subsequently turned into a bad punt snap two plays later).

  43. raiderlyfe510 says: Sep 11, 2012 8:14 AM

    Hopefully the rest of Raider Nation realizes the value of Hue Jackson. He’ll coach circles around this coaching staff. The offense looks just as it did before Hue arrived. Struggling to find the endzone and can’t get McFadden going so they turn him into a glorified receiver.

    All Hue Jackson needed was a D coordinator. RAIDERS ARE 0-5 out the gate, 1-4 at best.

  44. ddogdaddy says: Sep 11, 2012 8:17 AM

    Hello is this Justin Snow the long snapper for the Colts for the last 15 years thatt was just cut last week. This the Raiders, how fasr can you be in California?

  45. jbaxt says: Sep 11, 2012 8:18 AM

    Carson Palmer has to be the worst QB in the league. SD didn’t even look good, Chokeland was just that bad.

  46. bukkasson says: Sep 11, 2012 8:21 AM

    Palmer was better than I expected. Defense played the run well and the pass poorly. Knapp’s play calling reminded me of Trestman’s – 2 yard passes for every situation. I forgave the fumble of the opening kickoff because it was recovered but the turning point, to me, was Tommy Kelly’s 2 absolutely boneheaded offsides penalties. Sure, sit him down after he lets the air out of his team but it’s too late. Time to show him the door. “Tommy, the organization has decided to jettison undisciplined idiots. This means you. Take Taiwan with you.”

  47. rickeydynamite25 says: Sep 11, 2012 8:40 AM

    Run the ball with McFadden,,pass the ball to McFadden,, run the ball with McFadden,, pass the ball to,,,,McFadden. At this rate he’ll be on IR by week 5. Greg Knapp might wana call some plays other than 6yd hitch routes,, Jeez!!!! Please go find a long snapper bcuz Goethel is not gona be the answer,, and with the way Ron Bartell played,, we might as well have stuck with DeMarcus Van Dyke.

    DMAC go hit that ice tub bcuz you’re gona hella sore this year with those thousand touches.

  48. oaklegend says: Sep 11, 2012 8:48 AM

    Steve Hoffman, ST Coordinator, failed to have a ready squad. The Raider STs have been a disaster under his leadership.

  49. spellingcops says: Sep 11, 2012 9:15 AM

    Raider fans have more excuses than a pregnant nun.

  50. spellingcops says: Sep 11, 2012 9:15 AM

    Commitment to Excrement

  51. glazerh8er says: Sep 11, 2012 9:29 AM

    I cannot understand all of the hatred from Raider Nation towards the play calling. The real story was the long snapper. I have never seen such a cluster-f in all of my years watching pro football. This was LITERALLY a case where one of the fans could have done a better job with 20 minutes of practice.

  52. mullman76 says: Sep 11, 2012 9:48 AM

    Charger fans are funny. Delusional, irrational, but most of all- funny.

    The RAIDERS D looked pretty good- held the chargers to 5 FGs when they had great field position.

    Take away Kelly’s two offsides that led to two extra 1st downs and ultimately a TD and the special teams debacle and it’s a different story.

    Enjoy yet another regular season win charger fan- it’s all you have.

  53. thatstinks says: Sep 11, 2012 9:54 AM

    Well if we lose to the Dolphins next week we might as well see what we have in Terrell Prior . Yes I’m that jaded and I think Miami is that bad . I actually watched every episode of Hardknocks and just typing that makes me want to bathe in bleach .

  54. r8rsfan says: Sep 11, 2012 10:23 AM

    Baby steps people. Old habits die hard as seen by Kelly’s ridiculous offisides calls. It’s a work in progress, and the foundation is still under construction. I miss Mike Bush.

  55. jbaxt says: Sep 11, 2012 10:29 AM

    The long snapper can be blamed for 1 snap. But even with his bad ones no one was blocking. Hardly the snappers fault. Faiders still suck though.

  56. jjackwagon says: Sep 11, 2012 10:41 AM

    And you think the long snapper cost you the game…really? If you are counting on the long snapper to keep you in a game, you’ve already lost.
    You can always count on Oakland to invent new ways to lose.
    I apologize for picking the Raiders to win this game. You can count on it never happening again this season.

  57. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Sep 11, 2012 11:14 AM

    He bounced his first snap in there but the Charger was in there so fast the snap didn’t matter. That was proven on the next punt when the snap was fine (you said it was “shaky” to fit your storyline but it got there) and the same guy came in free to block it. The replay showed the long snapper was blocking his guy. It wasn’t all the long snapper’s fault.

  58. Raider-in-PA says: Sep 11, 2012 12:41 PM

    Look at the silly Dolts fans pounding their chests after barely beating a team that gave them 90% of their points via field postition…

    No more talk of how the Dischargers dominated… The only team that dominated were the Raiders dominating themselves with stupid penalties and botched snaps… Even with all the hapless play from Oakland, SD still barely squeaked out a win…

    Once you win a championship, then maybe you can flap your gums… til then, its all hot air…

  59. JSpicoli says: Sep 11, 2012 1:28 PM

    The defense didn’t do a thing wrong past two hideous penalties on 3rd down (thanks TK). they played well, up against a short field all night.

    Other than that your article is mostly correct.

  60. ilovefoolsball says: Sep 11, 2012 1:50 PM

    This was such a boring game. I really hope that the NFL doesn’t do this double header Monday night game scenario at Oakland again. Do it in San Fran, Seattle, or San Diego, just not Oakland. That stadium seemed so lifeless and the home team didn’t help either.

  61. dougydougdoug says: Sep 11, 2012 3:49 PM

    Excuses. Excuses. What else are Raiders fans good for, besides misdemeanors and felonies?

    A very injured, and talent-depleted Chargers team just beat “your” (as if there is some stock you own in the team) Raiders. At home. Again. Just like they did at the end of last season, to keep “your” team out of the playoffs. Again.

    Chargers’ fans aren’t “pounding their chests” in the slightest. They know the team is a mere shadow of its former self. But that just makes the defeat all that more embarrassing for you fanatics.

  62. jaialaicharger says: Sep 11, 2012 4:17 PM

    You could hear a pin drop in T0r0nt0, eh?

  63. covercorner says: Sep 11, 2012 4:49 PM

    Trey Junkin is a free agent.

  64. ajchargers says: Sep 11, 2012 11:51 PM

    There was a lot of great things in this game, as well as some awful things. No need to go into details, because we all watched the same thing.

    Both teams really did looked good, on both sides of the ball.

    All and all, it was a good game, the biggest problem(s) that occurred was the Raiders D penalties in key moments, and all things that surrounded the loss of the Raiders Long Snapper.

  65. icantadd says: Sep 11, 2012 11:56 PM

    It’s hard to tell exactly what happened last night because it’s still too early in the season. The average starting position for the Chargers in the second half was the OAK 37 and they were held to field goals. San Diego was ahead, however, and had done a good job on defense already up to that point, so they weren’t exactly going all out on offense. Was Oakland playing that good or was San Diego playing conservatively? It was hard to tell, though I assume a bit of both…

    I will say that Oakland played pretty well on defense in the first half; I was actually pretty worried with the way the game started. San Diego’s defense started playing well wayyy before Oakland started passing every play; San Diego was only up by 4 at the half and 10 at the end of the third, not exactly a margin that makes a team start passing non-stop. They seemed much more aggressive than the past few years, and though most of their big plays came when Oakland was dropping back every play, at least they were making those “expected” plays, something they haven’t been doing for a long time.

    I still think that San Diego wasn’t being held to field goals, I think they were just taking easy points as they could get them. If the Raiders had been playing great offense, I think the Chargers’ play calling would’ve been a bit more agressive. Still, I hope Matthews is going to play as good as everyone is suggesting, because the run game was atrocious last night. If he can contribute and free up the passing game, I think San Diego will have a great chance to make the playoffs.

  66. boltdaddy says: Sep 12, 2012 2:11 AM

    nice little jv squad to tune up on. They’ll come in handy later in the year when another easy W comes in handy and the faiders as they always do are happy to let us have our way with them…I thing they really like that, 15/18 wins says as much.

  67. atacoshipinaseaofwhitesauce says: Sep 12, 2012 6:36 PM

    Joe Toronto is full of… excuses as always. You SAID that Oakland would crack Rivers skull, which is mean spirited and malevolent. What you didn’t say is that Oakland would play like Jokeland.

    Chargers in the last 8 years are like 14-4 against Oakland and you are still yapping jo(k)etoronto?

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