The Raiders’ first victory over the Chargers was largely a function of special teams and turnovers. This one? In spite of the 14-0 hole the Bolts dug themselves with two horrific first quarter turnovers, this was a comprehensive butt kicking. The “collapsing” Oakland running game did San Diego for 251 yards, a mere 230 yards more than the Chargers put up.
The Philip Rivers traveling air circus just missed going for another 300 yards, but Rivers wrapped up the game with a passer rating of 79.0. Jason Campbell delayed the eagerly awaited Raider debut of J.T. O’Sullivan, tossing the pill a little bit and leaving The Q with a QB rating of 105.5.
So…how now navy blue and gold cow? Well, the Kansas City Chiefs eked out a 10-6 win over Denver, causing a few problems. The Chargers have the Chiefs this week; the Raiders close the season with them. With both teams two games back of K.C., they’ll be wishing for the Chiefs’ other opponents (at improving St. Louis, home to disintegrating Tennessee) well. Of course, with the Raiders now holding the tiebreaker over the Chargers, they’ll need to hope the Colts or Jags pose a problem for the Silver & Black.
Not that the long term picture looks particularly cheery in Oakland either. Still two games behind the Chiefs, the Raiders now get to root for their hated rivals this Sunday. (How does that taste, Raider fan?) Oh, and unlike the Bolts’ relatively easy remaining schedule, traveling to Jacksonville and hosting what will be a very desperate team from Indianapolis may not be good for the Raiders’ health.
How’s this for irony? The Raiders and Chargers now need each other in order to win the AFC West. And they do need to win the division.
The wild card? Fuhgeddaboutit. Both teams are two games behind what has to be an extremely angry bunch of Baltimore Ravens in the wild card chase with four games to go. The Ravens, by the way, finish with three games against teams with losing records (Houston, Cleveland, and Cincinnati) and one home game against the defending Super Bowl champions.