It was the latest kickoff in NFL history and the Oakland Raiders emerged victorious 27-17 against their AFC West rival San Diego Chargers. The Raiders move to 2-3 on the season and the Chargers drop to 2-3.
It was the second consecutive game Oakland got off to a fast start. Last week against the Washington Redskins, the Raiders were unable to keep their 14 point lead. Tonight, Oakland burst out to a 17-0 lead and hung on for the win.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor got the Raiders off on the right foot with a nice 44 yard touchdown pass deep down the sideline to Rod Streater. Streater used his body to shield the cornerback and leap to make the catch and give the silver and black a 7-0 lead. After the defense forced a punt, the Raiders embarked on a 13 play, 82 yards scoring drive capped off by Pryor to Denarius Moore in the back of the endzone. Pryor completed his first 10 passes and finished the game 18-23 for 221 yards and two scores to go along with no interceptions.
Defensively, the Raiders did what no teams were able to do against Charger's quarterback Philip Rivers and force him into mistakes. The defense forced four turnovers and the special teams added a fumble recovery for five total. The Raiders intercepted Rivers three times, including the game clinching pick from Charles Woodson on his birthday. Woodson also gave the Raiders the cushion they needed when he scooped a Danny Woodhead fumble, forced by Nick Roach, and took it 25 yards for the touchdown. That gave the Raiders a 24-3 lead. It was Woodson's 13th career defensive touchdown which ties him for the most in NFL history.
Rivers was able to collect a plethora of garbage time yards as the Chargers feverishly tried to close the Raiders' advantage. He tossed touchdown passes of five yards to Woodhead and seven yards to wide receiver Keenan Allen. Rivers finished 36-49 for 411 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The Oakland defense shut down the Chargers rushing attack, holding them to 32 yards on 19 carries.
Along with Woodson's terrific effort, the Raiders got a big play from rookie first round pick DJ Hayden. After Sebastian Janikowski split the upright from 50 yards out to give the Raiders a 27-17 lead, Rivers lead the San Diego offense down the field to the Oakland four yard line. There, Hayden stepped in front of Allen and picked off the Rivers' pass, ending the comeback hopes. Safety Usama Young added an early interception; Lamaar Houston added a sack and Kevin Burnett accounted for a sack and a fourth and goal stuff of Woodhead at the one yard line to prevent a score in the second quarter.
This was as good of an effort as the Raiders have put together in two years. Without starting running back Darren McFadden and two key offensive linemen in tackle Jared Veldheer and center Stefen Wisniewski, the Raiders clawed out a big home win over a rival AFC West opponent. Next week, the Raiders will get another crack at an AFC West squad when they take on the undeafeated Kansas City Chiefs.
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