Palmer leads Raiders to 24-17 win over Bolts

Carson Palmer is catching on with Oakland just as the Raiders

are regaining their swagger.

Palmer threw two touchdown passes and Michael Bush ran 30 times

for a season-high 157 yards and one touchdown to lead Oakland to a

24-17 win over San Diego on Thursday night, the Chargers’ fourth

straight loss.

The Raiders (5-4) broke a two-game losing streak and took a

half-game lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.

Palmer was 14 of 20 for 299 yards, with one interception. He

threw touchdown passes of 33 and 26 yards to Denarius Moore in his

second start and third appearance since being acquired in a trade

with Cincinnati. Palmer had been semi-retired and living in Del

Mar, just north of San Diego, before being traded. His next-door

neighbor is Chargers coach Norv Turner.

The Raiders have won three straight against the Chargers. Before

that, San Diego had won 13 straight in a rivalry that dates to the


”We had a real good rhythm going,” Palmer said. ”There were

some great play calls at the right time. We still have some things

to get better at, but it’s just good to come into this environment

and get a win.”

The Raiders traded for Palmer after Jason Campbell went


”I know the man, I know what he is and what we have,” coach

Hue Jackson said. ”We haven’t seen the best of him yet. He’s just

warming up.”

Last December, Palmer helped crush the Chargers’ playoff hopes

when he threw four touchdown passes as the Bengals stunned San


Palmer said he’s put in ”long days, long nights,” in getting

back to form. ”It has been information overload at times just

trying to get everything in and whittle it down into a game


Bush helped carry the load for the Raiders with his running and

also had three catches for 85 yards.

The Chargers (4-5) looked dismal most of the night and lost left

tackle Marcus McNeill, right guard Louis Vasquez and linebacker

Takeo Spikes to injuries.

Philip Rivers struggled again as the Chargers hit their longest

losing streak since they started 0-5 in 2003.

”We’re in a rough stretch right now. We get a few days off to

take a deep breath,” Rivers said.

With the Chargers threatening to tie it, Rivers was intercepted

in the end zone by Matt Giordano with 3:22 left. It was Rivers’

NFL- and career-high 15th interception. Rivers was sacked on

consecutive plays near midfield to end the game. He fumbled on the

final play, giving him an NFL-high 19 turnovers.

Rivers was 23 of 47 for 274 yards. He was sacked six times as

the Raiders overwhelmed Brandyn Dombrowski, who replaced McNeill at

left tackle.

”Obviously some of the offensive linemen went down and we

smelled blood and we just went after him,” Raiders defensive

tackle Richard Seymour said.

”All week our defensive coordinator said, `Hey, they can score

from anywhere on the field and it’s going to be up to our defensive

front to get pressure on the quarterback,”’ Seymour added. ”We

knew we could get it done but it was going to be a collective


Rivers said Oakland ”in a lot of ways is built to be up 14

because they can pound it and obviously Carson played great today.

They have a huge defensive front and they can just rush four and

play coverage, coverage, coverage, because they know you’ve got to

throw it a lot.”

The Raiders had 14-point leads in the second and third quarters,

and San Diego could never quite catch up.

San Diego struggled in the first half, going three-and-out four

straight times after getting a 20-yard field goal by Nick Novak on

the opening drive.

Rivers was only 4 of 11 for 44 yards for a passer rating of

49.1. By comparison, Raiders punter Shane Lechler had a rating of

39.6 by going 0 for 1. Sebastian Janikowski has a sore hamstring,

so the Raiders tried a fake punt from the Chargers’ 34 on their

first drive. Lechler threw a pass to Jacoby Ford, who was mauled by

Quentin Jammer because pass interference can’t be called in a punt


Bush scored on a 2-yard leap over the pile late in the first

quarter and Janikowski kicked a 23-yard field goal on the next

drive. Palmer threw a 33-yard scoring pass to Moore for a 17-3 lead

that held up at halftime.

The Chargers finally came to life on the first drive of the

second half, capped by rookie Vincent Brown’s leaping catch of a

30-yard touchdown pass in double coverage, his first NFL score, to

pull to 17-10.

Rivers completed five passes on the drive, one more than he had

in the first half, and the Chargers gained 80 yards, compared to 65

yards total in the first half.

The Raiders pushed the lead to 24-10 on the next drive after

Palmer found Moore for a 26-yard score. Two plays earlier, Bush

gained 55 yards on a screen pass.

Brown appeared to come down with another great TD catch in the

third quarter, this one for 33 yards. But referee Ed Hochuli

overturned it on replay, saying that since the defender landed out

of bounds with his hand on the ball, it was considered out of


”It really is pretty clear cut,” Hochuli said.

Three plays later, Rivers found fullback Jacob Hester for a

7-yard TD pass to pull to 24-17.

NOTES: Raiders WR Ford left with a foot injury after a 41-yard

reception late in the first quarter. … The Raiders, playing

without injured Darren McFadden, rushed for 191 yards. When they

beat the Chargers here in December, they ran for 251 yards.