Raiders run over Chargers 28-13 in San Diego


Raiders run over Chargers 28-13 in San Diego


SAN DIEGO (AP) The San Diego Chargers are mortal in December, after all.They found out at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, of all teams.Jason Campbell ran for one touchdownand threw for another, Darren McFadden ran for 97 yards and a TD, andthe Raiders took advantage of more mistakes by the Chargers to stun SanDiego 28-13 on Sunday.The loss puts a serious crimp in theplayoff hopes for the four-time defending AFC West champion Chargers(6-6), who trail the Kansas City Chiefs by two games with four to play.Oakland (6-6) revived a running game that had been stopped cold in twostraight losses, ripping through the Chargers for 251 yards. MichaelBush ran for 95 yards and a score.San Diego gained just 21 yardsrushing. Mike Tolbert, who had consecutive 100-yard games, was stuffedfor 16 yards on seven carries. Rookie Ryan Mathews didn't play,apparently still bothered by a high ankle sprain.The Raiders swept the season series for the first time since 2001.The Chargers' streak of 18 straightDecember victories - which tied an NFL record for most victories in anymonth - came to a thudding end. Their last December loss was on Dec.31, 2005. San Diego had been tied with the 1970-74 Miami Dolphins, whowon 18 straight in Novembers.The Raiders beat the Chargers 35-27at Oakland on Oct. 10 when consecutive blocked punts early in the gameled to a touchdown and a safety. That victory snapped Oakland's 13-gamelosing streak to the Chargers.The Chargers corrected their problemsduring a four-game winning streak, but then reverted to the form thatshowed during an ugly 2-5 start. San Diego had two early turnovers inthis game, leading to a 14-0 Oakland lead.Darren Sproles fumbled a punt earlyin the first quarter and Hiram Eugene recovered at the San Diego 18. Onfourth-and-1 from the 9, the Raiders fooled the Chargers with a fakehandoff to fullback Marcel Reece while Campbell ran a naked bootleg tothe left for an easy touchdown.On the next Chargers possession,Rivers overthrew Malcom Floyd and the ball went right to safety MichaelHuff, who returned it 15 yards to the San Diego 41. Campbell completedthe drive with a 4-yard TD pass to rookie Jacoby Ford in the rightcorner of the end zone for a 14-0 lead.After San Diego's Nate Kaedingkicked a 39-yard field goal, Campbell showed that the Raiders didn'tneed a turnover to score. He led an 80-yard, 11-play drive that wascapped by Bush's 7-yard TD run, when he used a spin move and a strongsecond effort to power into the end zone for a 21-3 lead. Among the bigplays on the drive, Reece hurdled safety Eric Weddle to finish a22-yard catch-and-run, Darrius Heyward-Bey had a 14-yard end-around andCampbell had a 9-yard scramble on third down for a first-and-goal fromthe 10.Campbell was back at quarterbackafter Bruce Gradkowski was hurt late in the fourth quarter of lastSunday's 33-17 loss to Miami, which led the Raiders to put him oninjured reserve, ending his season.After taking a 21-3 halftime lead,Oakland's offense stalled and the Chargers cut the gap to 21-13 on a33-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding in the third quarter and PhilipRivers' 4-yard scoring pass to wide-open Antonio Gates with 9:59 left.Campbell then led a drive capped byMcFadden's 7-yard run with 4:35 left. The highlight was Campbell's37-yard completion to Louis Murphy. McFadden carried 19 times whileBush ran 23 times.Campbell outgained the Chargers' running game all by himself, with 38 yards on six carries.Sproles sustained a concussion whenhe was knocked down by a helmet-to-helmet hit by Oakland's RolandoMcClain just before halftime. Sproles caught a pass from Rivers and wasturning to run when he was hit by McClain. The Raiders linebacker ledwith his shoulder, but the side of his helmet hit Sproles' helmet.Sproles was on the ground for a few minutes before walking off thefield.Kaeding was short on a 50-yard field goal try in the last minute of the second quarter.

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs


Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

ALAMEDA – NaVorro Bowman was a sponge this week, absorbing the Raiders defense as quickly as possible.

The veteran inside linebacker signed with the Raiders Monday afternoon and did enough to play Thursday night’s pivotal home game against Kansas City.

That’s a huge plus for a Raiders team looking to snap a four-game losing streak. Bowman should be able to help right away despite being new to the scheme.

“He’s a veteran. He understands ball,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday. “We haven’t tried to install the entire playbook, but specific game plans and things. He’s had a good week. Even though it’s a short week, we feel good and he’ll play.”

He’ll probably start at inside linebacker and play the base defense as least. While many have criticized his speed and coverage skills diminished from major injuries, Bowman remains a sure tackler who can provide solid on-field leadership.

Veteran savvy and natural ability should carry Bowman while he masters a new scheme, allowing him to make the immediate impact required with the Raiders reeling at 2-4.

“He is very instinctive,” Del Rio said. "He’s a veteran guy that’s been there before. He understands what it looks like to lineup against a good football team and help us win.”

Bowman’s fresh and healthy, a step above his others at his position. Inside linebackers Cory James (knee), Marquel Lee (ankle) and Nicholas Morrow (ankle) are all questionable heading into Thursday’s game.

He has also been a willing teacher to a group of inside linebackers featuring a second-year pro and three rookies.

“They’re just soaking it up,” Del Rio said. “They’ll ask, ‘When do you lift? How often do you lift? When do you meet? When do you cover this?’ It’s good stuff to have for a really young group.”

In other injury news, right tackle Marshall Newhouse is out, leaving Vadal Alexander to start in his spot. David Sharpe should be the swing tackle in reserve.

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’


Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

ALAMEDA – Todd Downing has friends with fantasy football teams. Those faux general managers, like many across the roto world, took Raiders with high draft picks.

They would like to know why Derek Carr isn’t throwing touchdowns in bulk, Amari Cooper’s in a slump and Marshawn Lynch isn’t getting more carries.

“I have friends that have him on their fantasy team that are mad at me for that,” Downing said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s part of the business.”

Ah, the life of an NFL coordinator. Players get credit when things go right. Play callers sit over a Bunsen burner the rest of the time.

Downing understands that part of this gig.

“I welcome the responsibility that this job has afforded me,” he said. “I understand that I’m going to have to deal with negative comments and consequences when things aren’t going well. I’m looking forward to standing up here in a more positive fashion some time soon.”

Positives were expected right away. He was given the keys to a Lamborghini with a franchise quarterback under center, 1,000-yard receivers on each flank, an older back considered among the best of his generation, and the NFL’s biggest and most expensive offensive line.

The Raiders ranked No. 6 in total offense before adding Lynch, tight end Jared Cook and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency. Now they’re 30th heading into Thursday night’s game against Kansas City.

The mob is lighting torches, armed with pitchforks. After six weeks.

Everyone has an opinion on what’s wrong and how to fix this offense. More interior runs, less outside zone. More play action, please. Go deep, a lot. Have Derek hold on to the ball longer. Have Derek get rid of it quick. Do all that at once. Do it now.

Downing’s going to stick with his system. The Raiders will stick with their process, thank you very much, with faith that things will turn.

“When you look at the tape, you can see that we’re so close on so many things,” Downing said. “I know that sounds cliché and I know that sounds like someone sitting up here and trying to give you the rose-colored glasses, but it’s the truth. We know that we’re just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product.

“…We’re looking for answers right now, but we know those answers exist in our room and in our scheme. Once we hit our stride, we’re excited to see what it looks like.”

There’s reason to believe that can happen. Take the season’s first two games, for example. The Raiders scored 71 points in that span. There’s talent everywhere in the starting lineup and behind it.

That’s why concern reigns during a four-game losing streak where the offense is averaging 13.1 points. They can’t sustain drives, come through on third down or block consistently in the run game. Their play count is dismally low. According to the Associated Press, the Raiders aver averaging 54 plays per game. Every other team has at least 60. The 2005 49ers were the last team that averaged such a sum. The Raiders haven’t had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher or a 100-yard receiver.

Offense is blamed for a dismal 2-4 start. Even the universally beloved Carr has taken some heat for lackluster performances.

“I don’t think there’s a single guy that can look back over the last few weeks and say, ‘You know what, I’m really pleased with how I’ve played over the last three weeks,’ or, ‘Called the last three weeks’ or, ‘Coached my position the last three weeks.’ We all own this together,” Downing said. “There’s no one guy that is going to save it or break it or anything in between. We need to do this as a team and everybody needs to make the plays they’re afforded the opportunity to make and I need to call the right plays when afforded the opportunity to call them.”

The Raiders can and must do better before falling further. Righting the ship too late to reach the season’s goals might hurt as much as a completely dismal campaign.

Pressing, however, isn’t the answer.

“You do have to stay patient,” Downing said. “I tell the offense this every week, but it’s never been more true than where we’re at now as an offense. We have a belief in what we’ve done this far, and the system we’ve put in place, and the playmakers we have in that room, and the coaches that are up in the room with me, and you will never see me waiver in my belief of any single one of those guys, including myself. If I did, and I started acting different or started calling games differently, then that would mean I didn’t really believe in the first place.”