Bolts beat Oakland to stay alive in playoff race
There was no way the Chargers could get through Sunday without
doing some serious scoreboard watching.
Buffalo’s 19-0 win against Miami was being shown on the
scoreboard video screen while the Chargers were warming up for
their game against Oakland. Updates of New England’s 41-7 victory
against Baltimore were shown during the game.
”I was going to know, somehow,” said quarterback Philip
Rivers, whose Chargers needed both Miami and Baltimore to lose to
stay alive in the race for the AFC’s second wild-card spot.
The Chargers still had to do their part, which they did with a
26-13 victory against the hapless Raiders. San Diego overcame three
turnovers while benefiting from two turnovers and 12 penalties for
73 yards by the Raiders.
The Chargers (8-7), who have won three straight games for the
first time this season, head into their finale still needing help.
They have to beat Kansas City at home while needing Baltimore to
lose at Cincinnati and Miami to lose at home to the New York
”All three went our way today, including the one we had our
control in,” Rivers said. ”Same boat next week. We need all three
to go our way. The only one we can control is the one here against
Rivers threw a go-ahead, 4-yard touchdown pass to rookie Keenan
Allen with 5 minutes left in the third quarter and Ryan Mathews ran
for 99 yards and one touchdown, setting a career high with 1,111
yards. Nick Novak kicked four field goals for San Diego.
Mathews limped to the locker room in the fourth quarter but
later returned to the game. He left the stadium wearing a
protective boot on his left foot.
”The Chargers are still beating and I know no one wants to play
us right now, that’s for sure,” said safety Eric Weddle, who had
Oakland could have pulled within one score, but Rod Streater
couldn’t hold on to Matt McGloin’s 39-yard pass as he came down in
the end zone with 4:38 left. Oakland challenged but the ruling was
upheld. Oakland turned it over on downs with 54 seconds left and
lost its fifth straight game.
”It shouldn’t have been close, but they don’t give you any
extra points for winning by a bigger margin,” Rivers said. ”Just
find a way to win.”
Oakland (4-11) helped San Diego, too, by committing a dozen
penalties. Mike Jenkins was penalized 15 yards for taunting Mathews
after he pushed the running back out of bounds. Allen scored six
”We had too many penalties,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said.
”A lot of our penalties, specifically defensively, came on third
down, which allowed them to extend some drives.”
The game was tied at 10 after a sloppy first half that included
three turnovers by the Chargers and seven penalties for 39 yards by
The only score of the first half that wasn’t set up by a
turnover was a 27-yard field goal by Novak in the first
Early in the second quarter, Rivers wasn’t ready for a shotgun
snap and the ball bounced off him for a fumble that was recovered
by former San Diego State linebacker Miles Burris at the Raiders
The drive stayed alive when Mychal Rivera leaped to catch a
37-yard pass from McGloin, and Darren McFadden scored on a 5-yard
run on the next play for a 7-3 Oakland lead.
Rivers was picked off by Mike Jenkins to end San Diego’s next
drive, but Weddle then intercepted McGloin at the Raiders 20,
deflecting the ball to himself. That set up Mathews’ 7-yard run and
the Chargers regained the lead at 10-7.
San Diego forced the Raiders to punt from their 40 but rookie
Keenan Allen’s fumble was recovered by Shelton Johnson at the 16.
The Raiders had to settle for Sebastian Janikowski’s tying 20-yard
field goal with 10 seconds left before halftime.
”Really, the series of the game was us holding them to a field
goal at the end of the half,” Weddle said. ”That gave us some
momentum. We made it interesting for a while but the better team
won today. Just a great team win to have everything on the line and
to struggle for a little bit but to show some character and
toughness to overcome those issues we had.
Novak kicked three more field goals in the second half, from 48,
28 and 33 yards. Janikowski added a 42-yarder.
”We were right there in the game,” Oakland’s Charles Woodson
said, referring to the halftime tie. ”There really wasn’t a whole
lot that needed to be fixed. It was a close ballgame, our game to
go out there and win.”
NOTES: Chargers tight end John Phillips injured a knee in the
first quarter and didn’t return. Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist
was shaken up in the second quarter but returned.
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