Raiders-Chargers: Matchups to watch


Raiders-Chargers: Matchups to watch

ALAMEDA -- With tales of locker room discord, curious personnel decisions and a short work week enveloping Silver and Blackdom, the banged-up Raiders (a mind numbing 17 players appeared on the injury report this week, with 11 not practicing) face a potentially season-defining game tonight.On prime time. At a heated division rival. With questions abounding.
Win, and the Raiders take the lead in the AFC West. Lose, and the Raiders drop their third straight game in the division.

A look, then, at some key on-field matchups to watch Thursday night in San Diego:Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer (3) vs. Chargers free safety Eric Weddle (32)TALE OF THE TAPEPalmer: 6-5, 235, USC, ninth seasonWeddle: 5-11, 200, Utah, fifth seasonThe book on Palmer, who will be making his second career start for Oakland, throughout his career has been that while he can often put up gaudy stat lines, he has not won big. His numbers against the Chargers are a microcosm of that claim.In three career starts against San Diego, Palmer has completed 74 of 103 pass attempts (71.8 percent) for 1,023 yards with nine touchdowns and only one interception for a 128.4 passer rating. His career-high 440-yard passing day came against the Chargers on Nov. 12, 2006.Yet his career record against San Diego? Just 1-2."I mean, every year's a new year," Palmer said this week. "Whether it's a new coordinator, new players, free agent pickups, drafted players, whatever it may be, new scheme, so every year's a new year and you have to treat it like it's a new team, a different team, because it is. This is a different team than it was last year. The San Diego Chargers are a different team than they were last. So you have to study, you got to understand what they're trying to do, what they're trying to take away and what they're going to give up and just get ready to play."
RELATED: Raiders midseason report: Defense
Palmer has thrown six interception in six quarters of play with the Raiders. Surely, that has to have Weddle licking his chops, right? After all, Weddle is tied for the NFL lead with five interceptions.Especially if the Raiders' offensive gameplan has them getting into a shootout with the Chargers.Other matchups worth watching:
Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt (26) vs. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) -- Was Rivers simply engaging in some gamesmanship this week when he compares Routt to former Raiders All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha?Or was Rivers simply giving credit where credit is due?Besides, Rivers was that rare QB who dared venture to Asomugha's side of the field when he faced the Raiders. So why shouldn't he attack Routt, who has indeed been afforded some of the same respect given Asomugha in terms of gameplans shying away from his side?
RELATED: Raiders midseason report: Offense
Rivers is 8-2 in his career against the Raiders, with both of this losses coming last year. Still, he averaged 377 passing yards in those two defeats. And he has an 87.8 passer rating against Oakland in his career with 12 TDs and seven INTs.Routt, meanwhile, is allowing a relatively minuscule 4.6 yards per catch, according to STATS LLC. Asomugha? He's giving up 9.3 yards per catch.
RELATED: Raiders midseason report: Special teams
Raiders running back Michael Bush (29) vs. Chargers inside linebacker Takeo Spikes (51) -- Darren McFadden will miss his second straight game (really, his third since he initially sprained his right foot in the Raiders' first series against Kansas City on Oct. 23) so the bulk of the running duties will again fall on the sturdy shoulders of Bush.And he'll see a somewhat familiar face between the tackles in Spikes, who spent the previous three years across the Bay with the 49ers.The 6-2, 242-pound Spikes is leading the Chargers with 67 tackles.The 6-1, 245-pound Bush has run for 199 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games against the Chargers, 195 yards in his past two games overall and had his first career TD catch last week.Something has to give, right?

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game


Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch watched most of Thursday night’s game versus Kansas City from the stands after getting ejected for making contact with an official.

He’ll also be a spectator next week.

The NFL suspended him one game for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident where left the sidelines to join an on-field scuffle and ended up pushing an official.

The league announced the suspension Friday afternoon. Lynch has already appealed the suspension, per multiple reports.

He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and automatically ejected by rule.

Punishment after the fact has gotten expensive.

By rule, Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official. He could get hit with other penalties, including entering a fight unnecessarily.

Lynch is also suspended without pay, meaning he’ll forfeit a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

The Cal alum won’t play a Week 8 contest in Buffalo, against a Bills team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2007.

Lynch was on the sidelines during a third down draw play where quarterback Derek Carr incurred what officials called a late hit from Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters.

The Raiders offensive line took offense, and came after Peters in a scrum. Lynch and Peters, both Oakland natives, are extremely close. Lynch ran on the field to get between his teammates and his friend, but ended up inadvertently pushing an official. The league has zero tolerance for that, and sent him off the field.

Lynch watched a dramatic 31-30 victory over Kansas City from the stands and screens near the field, and congratulated his teammates after a big win.

Lynch did not explain why he entered the fray, though he seemed to be trying to get Peters out of harm’s way.

“They can say what they want but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first,” Peters told Bay Area News Group’s Logan Murdock.

His Raiders teammates and coaches must carry on without the 31-year old power back. They’ll roll with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale against the Bills, as they did against the Chiefs.

Lynch had two carries for nine yards before getting tossed. He has just 266 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries through seven games.

If the suspension is upheld, Lynch will be eligible to return in Week 9 against Miami.

Snap count: Bowman worked overtime to be 'hunting dog' in Raiders' defense


Snap count: Bowman worked overtime to be 'hunting dog' in Raiders' defense

OAKLAND – NaVorro Bowman would’ve been forgiven for skipping Thursday’s game. The veteran inside linebacker signed with the Raiders, and had one practice and a pair of walk-throughs before facing Kansas City.

That isn’t much time to absorb a new scheme. No matter. As he said Monday, Bowman wanted to show you something.

The former 49er certainly did, even more than Bowman expected. He played 60 of 62 defensive snaps in a crucial 31-30 victory over the Chiefs.

He didn’t just play. He performed. Bowman led the Raiders with 11 tackles, including one for a loss and a crucial hit on Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith on a crucial third-down stop in the fourth quarter.

He wore the green dot – play calls were relayed to his helmet speaker -- and helped get the defense lined up.

“I just absolutely love the football player in him. He’s a hunting dog,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He loves to play. He brought experience during the week. He was a settling influence, kind of a determined influence on the sideline. I thought he did a remarkable job.”

That’s the result. The process of getting there was remarkable. He put in 40 hours of work in three days, memorizing terminology and defensive concepts specific to the game plan. He bunkered down and ignored the world during his acclimation process, and came out a functional member of the Raiders defense.

“Everyone knows I’ve only been here for three days and must be wondering how I did it,” Bowman said. “It was my commitment to the game, and my family understanding how much I love the work and giving me that peace and quiet time in hours away from them to really get everything down. This is why you want to come out so well and execute. So many people are sacrificing so you can play the game.”

Bowman helped keep the Raiders close down the stretch, and had key stops in a pair of defensive stops that allowed quarterback Derek Carr to orchestrate a successful two-minute drill.

"I was on the sidelines with my back turned, saying ‘I can’t watch, I can’t watch,’” Bowman said. “They all looked at me funny like, ‘This is what we do.’ They went out and won, and acted all normal. I guess that’s how we roll. It was a great game, and I enjoyed it.”

That was clear after the game. There was a good reason for it. Bowman hadn’t won a game since September 2016. Bowman lost most of last season recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury, meaning he last tasted victory in Week 2 last season.

“I’ve worked my way back from the Achilles injury, and to have a shot to better and get better and possibly win a division is huge,” Bowman said. “We just beat a really good team. I think this will propel us and get us going.”

Quarterback –
Derek Carr 82
Running back – Jalen Richard 26, DeAndre Washington 25, Jamize Olawale 11, Marshawn Lynch 10
Wide receiver – Amari Cooper 78, Seth Roberts 72, Michael Crabtree 72, Cordarelle Patterson 18, Johnny Holton 6
Tight end – Jared Cook 67, Lee Smith 17, Clive Walford 8
Offensive line – Kelechi Osemele 82, Rodney Hudson 82, Donald Penn 82, Vadal Alexander 82, Gabe Jackson 82

Defensive line –
Khalil Mack 62, Denico Autry 46, Justin Ellis 44, Treyvon Hester 32, Mario Edwards 28, Eddie Vanderdoes 19, James Cowser 3
Linebacker – NaVorro Bowman 60, Bruce Irvin 59, Nicholas Morrow 38,
Cornerback – TJ Carrie 62, Dexter McDonald 50, David Amerson 28, Sean Smith 19
Safety – Reggie Nelson 62, Karl Joseph 62, Keith McGill 7, Shalom Luani 1

Keith McGill 25, James Cowser 25, Shalom Luani 21, Xavier Woodson-Luster 19, Erik Harris 19, Jamize Olawale 19, Shlique Calhoun 16, Jon Feliciano 14, Lee Smith 14, Giorgio Tavecchio 12, Johnny Holton 12, Marquette King 11, Jon Condo 11, Cordarrelle Patterson 11, Jalen Richard 10, Nicholas Morrow 10, Darius McCray 8, Kelechi Osemele 7, Gabe Jackson 7, Vadal Alexander 7, Clive Walford 7, Justin Ellis 7, David Sharpe 7, Khalil Mack 6, TJ Carrie 6, Denico Autry 6, Treyvon Hester 6, Eddie Vanderdoes 6, Mario Edwards Jr. 5, Karl Joseph 5, DeAndre Washington 4,

QB EJ Manuel

CB Gareon Conley, QB Connor Cook, OT Jylan Ware, LB Marquel Lee, LB Cory James, DL Jihad Ward, RT Marshall Newhouse