Source: Associated Press
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Chargers are mortal in December, after all.
They found out at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, of all teams.
Jason Campbell(notes) ran for one touchdown and threw for another, Darren McFadden(notes) ran for 97 yards and a TD, and the Raiders took advantage of more mistakes by the Chargers to stun San Diego 28-13 on Sunday.
The loss puts a serious crimp in the playoff hopes for the four-time defending AFC West champion Chargers (6-6), who trail the Kansas City Chiefs by two games with four to play. Oakland (6-6) revived a running game that had been stopped cold in two straight losses, ripping through the Chargers for 251 yards. Michael Bush(notes) ran for 95 yards and a score.
San Diego gained just 21 yards rushing. Mike Tolbert(notes), who had consecutive 100-yard games, was stuffed for 16 yards on seven carries. Rookie Ryan Mathews(notes) didn't play, apparently still bothered by a high ankle sprain.
The Raiders swept the season series for the first time since 2001.
The Chargers' streak of 18 straight December victories — which tied an NFL record for most victories in any month — came to a thudding end. Their last December loss was on Dec. 31, 2005. San Diego had been tied with the 1970-74 Miami Dolphins, who won 18 straight in Novembers.
The Raiders beat the Chargers 35-27 at Oakland on Oct. 10 when consecutive blocked punts early in the game led to a touchdown and a safety. That victory snapped Oakland's 13-game losing streak to the Chargers.
The Chargers corrected their problems during a four-game winning streak, but then reverted to the form that showed during an ugly 2-5 start. San Diego had two early turnovers in this game, leading to a 14-0 Oakland lead.
Darren Sproles(notes) fumbled a punt early in the first quarter and Hiram Eugene(notes) recovered at the San Diego 18. On fourth-and-1 from the 9, the Raiders fooled the Chargers with a fake handoff to fullback Marcel Reece(notes) while Campbell ran a naked bootleg to the left for an easy touchdown.
On the next Chargers possession, Rivers overthrew Malcom Floyd(notes) and the ball went right to safety Michael Huff(notes), who returned it 15 yards to the San Diego 41. Campbell completed the drive with a 4-yard TD pass to rookie Jacoby Ford(notes) in the right corner of the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
After San Diego's Nate Kaeding(notes) kicked a 39-yard field goal, Campbell showed that the Raiders didn't need a turnover to score. He led an 80-yard, 11-play drive that was capped by Bush's seven-yard TD run, when he used a spin move and a strong second effort to power into the end zone for a 21-3 lead. Among the big plays on the drive, Reece hurdled safety Eric Weddle(notes) to finish a 22-yard catch-and-run, Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes) had a 14-yard end-around and Campbell had a 9-yard scramble on third down for a first-and-goal from the 10.
Campbell was back at quarterback after Bruce Gradkowski(notes) was hurt late in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's 33-17 loss to Miami, which led the Raiders to put him on injured reserve, ending his season.
After taking a 21-3 halftime lead, Oakland's offense stalled and the Chargers cut the gap to 21-13 on a 33-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding in the third quarter and Philip Rivers'(notes) four-yard scoring pass to wide-open Antonio Gates(notes) with 9:59 left.
Campbell then led a drive capped by McFadden's seven-yard run with 4:35 left. The highlight was Campbell's 37-yard completion to Louis Murphy(notes). McFadden carried 19 times while Bush ran 23 times
Campbell outgained the Chargers' running game all by himself, with 38 yards on six carries.
Sproles sustained a concussion when he was knocked down by a helmet-to-helmet hit by Oakland's Rolando McClain(notes) just before halftime. Sproles caught a pass from Rivers and was turning to run when he was hit by McClain. The Raiders linebacker led with his shoulder, but the side of his helmet hit Sproles' helmet. Sproles was on the ground for a few minutes before walking off the field.
Kaeding was short on a 50-yard field goal try in the last minute of the second quarter.