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San Diego at Oakland

Rivers steers Chargers to come-from-behind victory in Oakland

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Philip Rivers walked into the huddle unfazed by another fourth-quarter deficit and poised to prove why the San Diego Chargers made him their $93 million man.

Rivers answered a pair of go-ahead scores by Oakland by leading two touchdown drives and Darren Sproles scored the game-winner on a 5-yard run with 18 seconds left to give the Chargers their 12th straight victory over the Raiders, 24-20 Monday night.

This might have been the toughest one of the bunch. JaMarcus Russell had given Oakland a 20-17 lead with a 57-yard touchdown pass to rookie Louis Murphy with 2:34 left. But despite having two backup linemen in the game, Rivers calmly led the Chargers down the field for the winning score.

"One thing I know is no team in this league can practice two-minute situations as much as we do," Rivers said. "It's a little different executing it on Murphy Canyon Road as it is in Oakland. ... I said: 'Well, we've done this a million times, let's go score. All we need is three."'

Rivers was 6 for 7 for 79 yards on the winning drive before Sproles silenced the crowd with his run up the middle. This marked the Raiders' 11th straight loss in prime time and perhaps the most painful, considering how close they came.

 Chargers lose two offensive linemen

Raiders offensive lineman Cornell Green let out Oakland's frustration with an expletive-laden outburst as he left the field, screaming that the Chargers got lucky to win.

"Our football team played its guts out and didn't finish the game," coach Tom Cable said. "That's the bottom line."

They took a 13-10 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 35-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski before Rivers drove the Chargers down and gave them the lead with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson. Then Russell's fourth-down pass to Murphy looked as if it would provide an emphatic end to a pair of losing streaks. Instead, it was just a footnote to Oakland's league-worst 73rd loss since the start of the 2003 season.

The Chargers offense looked overmatched for much of the night against newly acquired Richard Seymour and the Raiders defense. Injuries to center Nick Hardwick and guard Louis Vasquez in the third quarter made moving the ball even tougher for San Diego and the frustration led Rivers to commit a personal foul that thwarted one drive.

But the two last drives were the reason why the Chargers gave Rivers the big, six-year contract extension with $38 million guaranteed last month. He finished 24 for 36 for 252 yards, playing his best when it counted most.

"People talk about quarterbacks that handle pressure, that respond and lead their teams from behind," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "He's done it continuously and he's done it in some real difficult situations like tonight. It's great to get the win here."

Russell nearly had overcome a rough night with that one pass to Murphy. Russell was 12 for 30 for 208 yards and two interceptions, including one on a desperation heave following Sproles' TD.

Oakland got a big boost from Seymour, who arrived from New England two days ago and didn't even go through a full practice with his new team. He sacked Rivers twice in the first half and helped Oakland keep longtime nemesis LaDainian Tomlinson in check.

Tomlinson, who averaged 119 yards rushing per game against Oakland coming into the game, managed only 55 on 13 carries and rolled his ankle. But Sproles helped out with two long kickoff returns, five catches for 43 yards and the winning touchdown.

"It was like two completely different games with what we did in the beginning and those last two drives," Raiders Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. "We were good with the run and good with the pass and then in the fourth quarter we had a couple of breakdowns. That's what hurt us."

The Raiders dominated the play in the first half, outgaining the Chargers 217-74, but were still tied at 10 because of two turnovers, and a replay review that went against Oakland.

With the offensive line creating big holes, Darren McFadden and Michael Bush ran the ball down the field on the opening drive before Russell threw an interception from the San Diego 25 to Quentin Jammer.

The Raiders finished the job on the second drive, getting a 30-yard pass from Russell to Zach Miller to set up Bush's 4-yard run. McFadden fumbled on the next drive, setting up Tomlinson's 1-yard run to tie it, his 20th career rushing touchdown against Oakland.

Oakland was on the wrong end of a replay review at the end of the half, when an apparent 19-yard touchdown pass to Murphy was overturned because the ball came loose as he hit the ground. Oakland settled for a 37-yard field goal by Janikowski with 40 seconds left.

"By definition in our rule book, he's going to the ground and has to maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire act of the catch," referee Carl Cheffers told a pool reporter. "And in this case, he lost possession and the ball hit the ground. Therefore, it's incomplete."

Sproles returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards, setting up Nate Kaeding's 47-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

Notes

  • Tomlinson's lost fumble in the first quarter was his first since Oct. 22, 2006, against Kansas City.
  • Former first-round pick Michael Huff had an INT and a fumble recovery for Oakland, matching his total from his first three seasons.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Darren Sproles marches into the end zone in the final minute to give San Diego the win.
 
Darren Sproles marches into the end zone in the final minute to give San Diego the win. (Getty Images)
 

 

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Mon. Sept. 14Final
01001424
Oakland
(0-1)
7301020
ChargersRaiders
Pass: P. Rivers (24-36, 252) J. Russell (12-30, 208)
Rush: L. Tomlinson (13-55) D. McFadden (17-68)
Rec: A. Gates (5-83) Z. Miller (6-96)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDMichael Bush, 4 Yd run (Sebastian Janikowski kick is good), 3:13. Drive: 10 plays, 84 yards in 6:10.
2ND QUARTER
TDLaDainian Tomlinson, 1 Yd run (Nate Kaeding kick is good), 4:45. Drive: 7 plays, 45 yards in 4:22.
FGSebastian Janikowski 37 Yd, 0:40. Drive: 10 plays, 45 yards in 1:38.
FGNate Kaeding 47 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 5 plays, 12 yards in 0:40.
3RD QUARTER
None
4TH QUARTER
FGSebastian Janikowski 35 Yd, 13:01. Drive: 7 plays, 51 yards in 3:43.
TDVincent Jackson, 15 Yd pass from Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding kick is good), 7:22. Drive: 10 plays, 77 yards in 5:39.
TDLouis Murphy, 57 Yd pass from JaMarcus Russell (Sebastian Janikowski kick is good), 2:34. Drive: 9 plays, 71 yards in 4:48.
TDDarren Sproles, 5 Yd run (Nate Kaeding kick is good), 0:18. Drive: 9 plays, 89 yards in 2:16.
Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

L. Murphy
Rec 4
Yds 87
Avg 21.8
TD 1
San Diego

P. Rivers
Att 36
Comp 24
Yds 252
TD 1
 
San Diego
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
P. Rivers24/3625211
RushingATTYDSTDLG
L. Tomlinson1355113
D. Sproles92317
P. Rivers1-10-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
A. Gates583025
V. Jackson556117
L. Naanee549023
D. Sproles543015
M. Floyd117017
J. Hester1505
L. Tomlinson1101
B. Manumaleuna1-20-2
Oakland
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
J. Russell12/3020812
B. Gradkowski2/21700
RushingATTYDSTDLG
D. McFadden1768011
M. Bush1255117
J. Higgins119019
J. Russell2604
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
Z. Miller696030
L. Murphy487157
D. McFadden225013
T. Stewart113013
M. Bush1404
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
BUF 24 Final
NE 25
CHI 15 Final
GB 21
STL 0 Final
SEA 28
WAS 17 Final
NYG 23
SF 20 Final
ARI 16
DAL 34 Final
TB 21
DET 27 Final
NO 45
JAC 12 Final
IND 14
NYJ 24 Final
HOU 7
MIN 34 Final
CLE 20
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CIN 7
PHI 38 Final
CAR 10
KC 24 Final
BAL 38
MIA 7 Final
ATL 19
TEN 10 Final
PIT 13