Chargers 24, Raiders 20
OMG, what a game!! I am truly surprised the cops didn’t show up with how loud I was and to top it off I have no fingernails left. For the 12th consecutive game, the Chargers have beaten the formerly lowly Raiders who looked scary good last night. If they had a decent QB who knows what they could accomplish. Nevertheless, the Raiders have now lost 7 straight season openers as well.
It’s interesting that the game was virtually a mirror image of the Buffalo/New England game with the winning team being outplayed through the majority of the game. But like Broncos fans say, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Let’s face it, the Chargers were NOT good last night. They have no offensive line resulting in Philip Rivers being sacked 5 times. The defensive line was equally ineffective allowing the Raiders to rush for 148 yards (vs. only 77 for San Diego.) At least the secondary played better than last season with INTs by Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason and a forced fumble AND recovery by Stephen Cooper who led the team with tackles and whom I am so happy I drafted in my fantasy league! Eric Weddle, who is seemingly in on EVERY play, came up big as well.
Rivers wasn’t his usual impeccable self with 24/36, 252 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT (although the INT was a deflected ball reminiscent of the Troy Polamalu INT in the playoffs last season.) LaDainian Tomlinson carried the ball 13 times for 55 yards and a TD (plus an uncharacteristic fumble), and that he wasn’t in the final drive drove the commentators into a speculative frenzy. Calm down guys, he’s fine. Darren Sproles amassed 246 total yards (180 of them on KR/PR) and a TD despite uncharacteristically bobbling 3 KR/PRs. Vincent Jackson’s TD catch was incredible and both Legedu Naanee and Antonio Gates had some clutch receptions as well.
Unfortunately, San Diego lost 2 offensive linemen – C Nick Hardwick (foot) and RG Louis Vasquez (knee). The Chargers can ill-afford to lose Hardwick who says that he is fine.
On the bright side, the obviously fabricated charges against Shawne Merriman have been dropped due to insufficient evidence.
By the way, I was aware of the rule which negated the Raiders’ TD (tis a shame, only one of two JaMarcus Russell accurate passes over 5 yards) and had Steve Young and Mike Golic read my blog earlier this year, they would have known as well!!
Next week the Chargers host Baltimore. Hopefully they can get their act together a little sooner and not have to rely on Rivers’ leadership at the end.