Tha Sports Junkies 101

TSJ Week 15 Recap: Oakland Raiders Smoke Chargers In San Diego

Raiders roboski73 via flickr


 Raiders Persistence Pays Dividends

After a slow start in San Diego, the Oakland Raiders stayed steady on offense, consistent on defense and were able to come away with a three-point victory, while ensuring a playoff game for Oakland. This January will end the sixth largest playoff drought in NFL history when the Oakland Raiders take the field in their first playoff game since the 2002 Super Bowl embarrassment.

The Chargers came out of the gates blazing down the field led by a hot-handed Phillip Rivers, quickly scoring with just four and a half minutes taken off of the clock. Carr would lead the Raiders downfield before settling for a field goal. Oakland’s offense moved the ball well but became seemingly unfocused in the RedZone and gave the ball away twice, once on a Latavius Murray fumble, and the second on a diving interception by the Chargers. 

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It was not until the closing drive of the second quarter that the Oakland Raiders were able to get into the end zone. Derek Carr found Michael Crabtree on the side of the end zone with a catch that would make even the most talented ballerina envious of his footwork. In the second half, the Raiders were pedestrian on the opponents side of the fifty, stalling three drives ending in field goals.  Lucky for the offense, Janokowski was on, knocking home all four of his attempts. Bruce Irvin and the defense would step up when they were needed. When the Raiders gave the Chargers one last opportunity to win or push the game to overtime, Irvin sacked Rivers. He then followed that up with a hit on the quarterback on fourth down that pushed Rivers’ throw into the hand of roaming safety Reggie Nelson, sealing the game.

With that victory, the seemingly hopeless and constantly written off Oakland Raiders have become the second AFC team to clinch a playoff spot. Only two weeks remain in the season and the race for the AFC West is still wide open. The Chiefs(10-4) hold the tiebreaker over the Raiders(11-3), so it will be key for the Raiders to win down the stretch in order to see a playoff game or two at home come January.