Raiders overcome a night of penalties for win over Chargers

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Photo by Raiders/website Matt Aguirre

Oakland – Philip Rivers was frustrated by the Raiders defense all night.  He threw three interceptions and his last came with twenty-five seconds left on the clock.  Rivers went deep to Keenan Allen but his pass was intercepted by Karl Joseph to secure Oakland’s win.

The Raiders 26-24 victory over the San Diego Chargers didn’t come easy.  The team recorded 12 penalties, the most in a game this season.  A curse from the past, almost cost Oakland the game but Rivers attempt for a late touchdown was thwarted by the Raiders defense.

“To me, anytime you play a great quarterback like Philip Rivers or [Matt] Stafford or any of these guys if you let them stand back there, you’re in trouble,” Jon Gruden said.  “I thought we had a good rush, great energy tonight.  We were shorthanded.  We didn’t have [Nicholas] Morrow.  Arden Key broke his foot.  We only had seven defensive linemen.  I credit [defensive coordinator Paul] Guenther.  He did a hell of a job with the scheme.  Really good work.”

The Chargers got back into the game in the second half.  Michael Badgley kicked a 27-yard field goal and cut the lead to 3 points.  By the fourth, Rivers pass to Austin Ekeler for a 6-yard touchdown made it a 24-20 game.  Derek Carr moved his offense downfield with ease before Josh Jacobs rushed up the middle for a 18-yard touchdown giving Oakland a 26-24 lead.  

Jacobs touchdown was the longest carry for the Raiders tonight.  Jacobs continues to lead all rookie rushers in carries (168), rushing yards (811) and rushing touchdowns 

(seven).  Despite a strong comeback for San Diego, Oakland’s defense forced Rivers to turn the ball over twice in the first quarter.  On opening drive, Rivers was sacked for an 8 yard loss, then he threw an interception intended for Allen, that was intercepted by Erick Harris.

Harris rushed it back for 59 yards but due to a pass interference by Trayvon Martin, that play  was called back.  Daniel Carlson kicked a 40-yard field goal for a quick 3-0 lead.  On San Diego’s next series, Rivers pass intended for Hunter Henry was intercepted by Harris again and this time he ran it back for a 56-yard touchdown extending the Raiders lead 10-0.  

“Yes, it was pretty exciting and a special moment for this team, a special moment for my teammates,” said Harris.  “It’s a credit to them for putting me in a position and just trusting those guys.”

Harris recorded his second INT in two drives and returned it 56 yards for a TD, marking the first time a Raiders player has returned two INTs for a TD in a single season since 2007 (Thomas Howard).  Harris is the first Raiders player with two INTs, including one for a TD in a game since Phillip Buchanan (11/16/2003 vs Minnesota).

To start the second quarter, Carr and his offense were unable to move the ball on fourth down. The Chargers took over on their own 40 yard line.  On third and goal, Rivers found a wide open Henry for a 2-yard touchdown making it a 10-7 game.  Rivers looked like he found his rhythm and went with his passing game.

Again on first and goal, Rivers pass was intercepted for a third time by Harris but there was a flag on the play due to offsides by Maxx Crosby.  Gordon rushed up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown and put the Chargers ahead 14-10. 

At the two-minute warning, Carr found himself on fourth down, inches away from a first down.  The Raiders went for it, Alec Ingold rushed for 3 yards and that was enough to move the chains.  Carr connected with Ingold for a 9-yard touchdown making it a 17-14 game to end the half.  

The rookie class continues to lead the NFL in total touchdowns (13), seven more than the next-closest team.  Last time any team had more than 13 TDs from rookies over first the first nine games was in 2016 when the Dallas Cowboys had 14.  Oakland leads the NFL with 102 points on drives of at least 10 plays and rank third in passing completion percentage (70.8).

“We’re focused,” Darren Waller said.  “We don’t, like I said we don’t get too high or too low off wins. We beat Detroit, but we knew like that’s not going to do anything for us.  But Thursday night, people prepare, people are invested, and they’re just excited to get out there and play football so quick again.  We just got a bunch of guys that love football and love to prepare like that. It makes for a winning formula.”

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