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Chargers clinch third seed in AFC playoffs with 30-17 win over Raiders

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/recap?gid=20071230013&amp;prov=ap" target="_blank">Associated Press</a>

    By Josh Dubow

    <img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20071231/capt.98f5d86969c64a96acee1ca2f661db4d.chargers_49ers_football_cadv102.jpg" alt="Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell, right, is sacked by San Diego Chargers' Jyles Tucker (94) and fumbles the ball, which Tucker recovered, in the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007, in Oakland, Calif." align="right" height="191" width="236" />OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Norv Turner got just what he wanted in his return to Oakland: a win against his former team, a rushing title for his star running back, and most importantly, the third seed in the AFC playoffs.

    Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes, LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 56 yards to win his second straight rushing title, and the San Diego Chargers spoiled JaMarcus Russell's first career start with a 30-17 victory over the Raiders on Sunday.

    By ending the season with six straight wins, the Chargers (11-5) beat out Pittsburgh for the No. 3 seed. San Diego will host either Tennessee or Cleveland next Sunday at 4:30 instead of playing Jacksonville, the last team to beat the Chargers.

    Russell, the No. 1 overall draft pick, got off to a slow start by throwing an interception on his first play and losing a fumble in the end zone that led to a touchdown by Jyles Tucker midway through the third quarter.

    After throwing short passes early, Russell finally got to show off the strong arm that made him the No. 1 pick for Oakland (4-12). He moved nicely in the pocket before hitting Jerry Porter with a 32-yard scoring strike that cut San Diego's lead to 24-17 late in the third quarter.

    Russell played as a reserve in three games this month after missing all of training camp in a contract dispute, committing four turnovers and throwing one touchdown pass. The $61 million quarterback was 23-for-31 for 224 yards in his first start.

    Tomlinson didn't have nearly the success he usually does against the Raiders as Turner limited him to 15 carries to make sure he's fresh for the playoffs. But that was enough for L.T. to finish the season with 1,474 yards rushing, 133 ahead of Minnesota rookie Adrian Peterson.

    Turner's task now is to help the Chargers win their first playoff game since going to the Super Bowl following the 1994 season. Marty Schottenheimer was fired when he lost San Diego's playoff opener following a 14-2 campaign last season in a move heavily questioned when the Chargers opened the season 5-5.

    But now Turner has them back in the playoffs, something he failed to do in two seasons with the Raiders. Turner went 9-23 in Oakland before being fired after the 2005 season. He has beaten the Raiders twice in 2007, extending San Diego's winning streak over its AFC West rival to nine games.

    Rivers went 13-for-23 for 135 yards and the two first-half touchdowns. Nate Kaeding added three field goals for San Diego.

    Dominic Rhodes had 29 carries for 122 yards for the Raiders, the first Oakland back since Napoleon Kaufman in 1997 to reach the century mark against San Diego.

    Russell got a standing ovation in pregame introductions from the fans who waited eight months since he was drafted for this day. Then, in just one play he showed how far he has to go to be a franchise quarterback; his first play ended with an interception by defensive lineman Igor Olshansky.

    Nine plays later, Rivers made Russell pay for the rookie mistake, throwing a 7-yard touchdown pass to Tomlinson.

    Oakland got its first score after a turnover, as well. Warren Sapp caused a fumble when he hit Rivers' arm before he could hand off to Tomlinson, giving Russell the ball at the Chargers 35. A pass interference call against Drayton Florence gave Oakland the ball at the 1 and Rhodes ran it in on the next play.

    The teams then traded scores in the final minute of the half, Rivers throwing a 19-yard TD pass to Chris Chambers with 38 seconds left before Russell set up a 53-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski on the final play of the half to cut San Diego's lead to 14-10.

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