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Chargers make it eight-straight over Oakland

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Sunday, Oct 14, 2007
    By Casey Pearce, Chargers.com

    LaDainian Tomlinson found all of the running lanes and the Chargers’ defense didn’t provide any for Oakland on Sunday as the Chargers came away with a 28-14 victory over the Raiders, their eighth-consecutive win over their arch rivals.

    “This was a big game and we needed it,” Tomlinson said. “We ran the ball early and ran the ball successfully. We finished. It feels great.”

    Tomlinson rushed for 198 yards and four touchdowns to spark a Bolts’ offense that totaled 362 yards on the day.

    Oakland came into Sunday’s game averaging an NFL-best 198 rushing yards but found nowhere to go against a defense that prides itself on shutting down the run. The Raiders finished the game with just 53 yards on 23 carries, an average of 2.3 yards per attempt.

    “It was a challenge for our defensive front,” Turner said. “We haven’t seen a team line up and come out and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to run the football.’ They ended up with (53) yards and it wasn’t because they didn’t try. They kept hammering and hammering.”

    The Chargers came out on fire as they scored on their first two drives of the afternoon, both via the legs of Tomlinson. The reigning NFL MVP scored on a three-yard run to cap an 11-play, 80-yard drive on the opening possession.

    Drayton Florence’s first interception of the season ended Oakland’s opening drive and gave the Bolts the ball back on the Raiders’ 39-yard line. After a 12-yard catch by Buster Davis, LT found the end zone from 27-yards out to give the Chargers a quick 14-0 lead.

    The only real blemish from the Bolts’ offense Sunday allowed the Raiders to keep things interesting in the first half. Midway through the second quarter, Rivers rolled to his right, threw across his body and was intercepted by Raiders linebacker Thomas Howard who returned it for a 66-yard touchdown. It was Howard’s fourth interception on the season and made it a 14-7 contest.

    “They really covered pretty good,” Rivers said. “That’s trying to make something that’s not there. You eat it, take the sack or try to run for whatever I had there. It was a big momentum swing that could have hurt us but fortunately didn’t cost us.”

    Oakland had a chance to tie the contest just before halftime but the Bolts’ held strong with their backs against the wall. Cornerback Quentin Jammer delivered a touchdown-saving tackle at the one-yard line following a 31-yard catch by Ronald Curry.

    On 1<SUP>st</SUP>-and-goal, linebacker Shawne Merriman sacked Culpepper for a six yard loss. Linebacker Shaun Phillips dropped Culpepper and forced him to fumble on the next play, and Jamal Williams’ recovery got the Chargers out of the woods.

    “Our defense has made critical stops and that was as big as we’ve had this year,” Turner said. “To knock them back and end up getting the fumble and not let them get (at least) three points, it’s as big a play as there is in the game.”

    The Bolts’ offense opened the third quarter much like they did the first, and it was quickly a 21-7 lead. On their first drive of the second half, Rivers connected with tight end Antonio Gates for a 28-yard gain. Then five plays later Tomlinson scored his third touchdown of the afternoon on a 12-yard run.

    The Raiders again got the score within seven points late in the third quarter, but it wasn’t without resistance. Early in the fourth quarter, Oakland began a drive at their own 40 yard line with 13:22 remaining. It took them 17 plays and more than eight minutes to score their only offensive points of the game, a one-yard touchdown catch by rookie tight end Zach Miller.

    “(The defense) made them earn every bit of it,” Rivers said. “They really ate two or three minutes extra off the clock.”

    By that time it was too late. On the next series, Tomlinson broke lose on a 41-yard touchdown run to seal the game with 2:48 remaining in the contest.

    Rivers finished the game 14-of-21 passing for 156 yards. For the sixth time this season, Gates led the club in receiving with three catches for 58 yards. Defensively, the Chargers were led by Phillips, who had a game-high nine tackles to go with two sacks and a forced fumble.

    The win allowed the Chargers to even their record at 3-3 on the season and pull into a first-place tie in the AFC West as they head into their bye this week.

    “It was important for us to get back to 3-3,” Turner said. “We’re getting better. We have young players getting better. We’re getting a better feel for each other. We come out of the bye and we’ve got a 10-game season.”

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