Oakland, CA – They watched the entire season slip away. The only thing they had to do was win but a task that seemed attainable was farther away than what many thought. A win for the Raiders would have clinched the AFC West after learning the Denver Broncos lost 7-3 to the Kansas City Chiefs.
But the San Diego Chargers ended Oakland’s hope to return back to the playoffs when they defeated them 38-26. The Raiders specifically requested not to be told the outcome of the Bronco’s game until their game was over. Yet, I wonder if they found out sooner, would that have changed anything?
“If you can’t stop a team with everything on the line, you don’t deserve to be a playoff team,” said Richard Seymour. “We didn’t get it done, so this one hurts. It stings for sure, it’s just very frustrating.”
A penalty to start the game wasn’t too surprising for Oakland, Matt Giordano got called for a hit than picked off Vincent Jackson for the interception. The Raiders rushing game took over with Louis Murphy’s 27-yard carry for the first down followed by Darius Heyward-Bey’s 4-yard touchdown. This was a good finish for Oakland but the Chargers wasted no time getting their offense going.
Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes and Richard Goodman returned a 105-yard kickoff for another score. San Diego kept their division rivals out of the playoffs and celebrated by looking forward to next season.
“It was our goal to end their season, but it’s kind of nice because we are going home as well,” Vincent Jackson said.
Rivers found Antonio Gates for a 38-yard touchdown pass giving them a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. Sebastian Janikowski’s 52-yard field goal cut the lead to 14-10 however, the Raiders defense was missing in action. The next play was mind blowing even for Oakland fans. Goodman ran 105-yards untouched for the touchdown.
Philip completed 19 for 26 passes for 310 yards, his heroics in the fourth kept them in the game. After the Raiders cut the lead 31-26 with Kevin Boss’s touchdown with 9:37 left to go in the game. But Antoine Cason’s intercepted on Carson Palmer’s pass intended for Jacoby Ford with 4:36 left Oakland with little time to get back into the game.
The Raiders settled for four field goals from Janikowski and never sacked Rivers. Tommy Kelly was the only player who got close enough to push him early in the first quarter. San Diego’s offense completely dominated the game leaving the defense in question.
Oakland set a single-season record in penalties and yards penalized by committing eight for 64 yards. That gave them 163 for 1,358 yards surpassing the totals of 158 for 1,304 set by the 1998 Kansas City Chiefs. The record-setting penalty started off with a hold by Rock Cartwright on the opening kickoff of the second half.
“At some point as a group of men, you go and win the game,” said Raiders coach Hue Jackson. “You can say whatever you want about coaches. You win the game, here’s your time to make some plays. We didn’t get them stopped and we didn’t make enough plays.”
Written by: Malaika Bobino
Photos by: Miguel Blair