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Chargers make it 12 straight over Raiders, but game was far from easy win

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Everybody expected Monday night’s game to be a blowout; it was anything but.

Photo from 'jeffrey beall' via Flickr

Photo from 'jeffrey beall' via Flickr

The Chargers squeaked by with a 24-20 win over the Oakland Raiders making it the 12th straight time the Chargers have beaten the Raiders. “Yeah, just because we’ve beaten them a lot lately people think it would be easy,” San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers said. “It wasn’t easy.” In fact, this game could have gone either way.

Raiders fans may still be upset from a questionable call in the end of the first half as the refs overturned what seemed to be a touchdown and forced the Raiders to settle for a field goal.

The real difference maker in this game was tailback Darren Sproles. Sproles was the player that continually had the ball in his hands, not LT. And it was Sproles that scored the final touchdown on a 5-yard carry.

Darren Sproles also caught two passes for 24 yards and finished the game with 246 total yards, including an astounding 180 yards on kickoff and punt returns. Chargers QB Philip Rivers went 24/36 for 252 yards with one touchdown and one interception while Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell didn’t fare quite as well, and only went 12/30 for 208 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Photo from 'BrokenSphere' via Flickr

Photo from 'BrokenSphere' via Flickr

On paper, the Raiders actually outdid the Chargers in practically every category that mattered, including holding San Diego to just 77 rushing yards. But that’s why we play til the final buzzer.

With the game on the line and trying to protect a three-point lead, Oakland’s defense couldn’t slow down Rivers, who completed 6 of 7 passes on the deciding drive. “That team is much improved,” San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman said. “They’ve been adding top draft picks the past several years and it’s really paying off.” Rivers added, “They look like they are much better.”

One thing’s for sure, if the Raiders keep playing as well as they did last night, and with a little improvement in Russell’s game, they might surprise opposing teams this season. On the flip side the Chargers played well too, but they definitely need to improve on their running game. 77 yards isn’t going to cut it against better opposition.

Regardless of how they played, at the end of week one, Chargers are 1-0 and the Raiders are 0-1. It’s just like old times.

Chargers are up next against the Ravens next Sunday, Sept. 20 at 1:15PM. The game will be on CBS if we can avoid getting blacked out by the NFL.  To avoid blackout, the game must be sold out 72 hours prior to Sunday’s game. Buy your tickets here if you want to see the game in person and help prevent a blackout for the rest of us!

It would be devastating to local fans if the game were blacked out. It’s not a total loss because the NFL’s recently released news that “games that are blacked out in home team markets will be shown on NFL.com in their entirety on a delayed basis.”

Not being able to watch the game on Sunday would be a major bummer to local Charger fans. What is the NFL thinking? We want to see our Chargers play.

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