Yesterday’s game was a new start for the Oakland Raiders. They had lost their last ten games and were 0-4 for the season. They fired head coach Dennis Allen and replaced him with assistant head coach Tony Sporano. The difference was immediately seen as the Raiders kept the game close with the division leading San Diego Chargers.
Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes, two to Andre Holmes, one for 77 yards, one to James Jones and another to Brice Butler, the first of his career.
But it wasn’t enough. Philip Rivers and the Chargers were able to score three touchdown passes and a rushing TD by Brandon Oliver, and a field goal that put San Diego ahead by 3 points.
Derek Carr is the future of the Raiders franchise. He made some great passes, and used his running game well. Coming into the game the Chargers had the third best defense in the league, but the Raiders were able to move the ball on the ground and in the air throughout the game. Running back Darren McFadden had 80 rushing yards and Carr had over 280 yards passing.
Both teams scored on their first possessions; the Raiders first score a 77-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Andre Holmes.
Philip Rivers and the Chargers were not firing on all cylinders at first and several times in the game it looked like their winning streak would come to an end and the the Raiders would get their first win. In the third quarter the Chargers made two mistakes: a 54-yard field goal by Nick Novak (the longest of his career) was nullified by a penalty. When the ball was pushed back out of field goal range, the Chargers attempted a fake punt, a pass that went out of bounds. The ball was turned over to the Raiders at the Raiders 46. With the second play from scrimmage Carr threw a pass to Brice Butler who ran for a 47-yard TD, his first for his NFL career. Score: Chargers 14, Raiders 21.
The Chargers tied up the game again when Rivers hit tight end Antonio Gates for a one-yard pass, the 93rd touchdown pass of his 12-year career, over 70 of those TD’s with quarterback Philip Rivers. Everyone agrees Antonio Gates is on his way to the Hall of Fame.
The Raiders scored their fourth and final touchdown of the game when Carr hit Holmes with a six-yard pass, but the Chargers came back and won the game. Nick Novak kicked a 30-yard field goal. With their next possession the Raiders were forced to punt, which allowed Rivers and the Chargers to march down the field for one more touchdown scoring drive that ended when running back Brandon Oliver ran four plays in a row, for a total of 26 yards, the last run a one-yard touchdown.
With just under two minutes left to play the Raiders had one more chance to score and win the game. Carr threw a deep pass to Brice Butler that was intercepted by Jason Verrett, the first of his career. It was the only turnover in the game by either team.
Despite the loss the Raiders were a much-improved team. Sunday they just happened to be playing a team that is on a hot streak. Their losing streak, which now stands at 11, 0-5 for the season, won’t last much longer. Their next opponents are the Arizona Cardinals, a team that is 4-1 this season, but one the Raiders will match up with next week in the Oakland Coliseum. Raiders fans just might get their first win of the season.
When the Chargers lost running back Ryan Matthews to injury most people thought their running game would suffer. But the Chargers have an excellent replacement for Matthews with Oliver.
The Chargers will next play the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers better home the Chiefs don’t get too inspired by the play of the Kansas City Royals in the post season.
The intense rivalry between the Raiders and Chargers continues when the two teams meet again in San Diego, November 16. The big news for San Diego fans was the Chargers team bus was pelted with eggs by the Raiders fans. The rivalry between the fans will get a little more heated when they meet in Qualcomm Stadium in November.
All photos by Claudia Gestro unless otherwise noted.
Claudia is of Peruvian and Italian descent, having been born in a small town, in the North of Peru, South America. She was raised by her grandmother from an early age, living in poverty until Claudia’s mother brought her to America. She landed in Miami, FL and started her new life, playing high school basketball and eventually becoming a United States citizen. Claudia completed her education at Florida International University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and became a model to supplement her income. Since graduating from FIU Claudia has worked with many of the Spanish Language broadcasting companies, including Telemundo, Univision and most recently Spanish Language channels on SiriusXM satellite radio and PasTV Deportes in Venezuela.She encourages you to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her content appears here under a shared content agreement with her Spanish television clients.