OAKLAND -- It was everything it was billed to be.
After all the battles the Raiders and Chargers had waged in the Coliseum over the years, their final meeting in Oakland was one worthy of the storied AFC West rivalry.
The 4-5 Chargers entered the Coliseum on Thursday night riding a two-game winning streak and a wave of momentum after their Week 9 win over the Packers. A win over the Raiders would get them back to .500, erasing a horrid 2-5 start and setting them up for a playoff run.
The Raiders, with playoff dreams of their own, wanted to make sure the final primetime game at the Coliseum was one to remember, one that ended with them on at 5-4 and looking at a favorable schedule the rest of the way.
Oakland jumped out to an early 10-0 lead, but the Bolts came right back, scoring two straight touchdowns to grab a 14-10 lead and take hold of the momentum. Right before the half, quarterback Derek Carr found fullback Alec Ingold for a 9-yard touchdown to take back the lead, 17-14 at the half.
The Raiders held the lead for the entire second half until Philip Rivers hit Austin Ekler for a 6-yard touchdown to give the Chargers a 24-20 lead with 4:02 remaining.
Looking to snap a four-game losing streak against the Chargers, Carr drove the Raiders down the field with surgical precision, dicing up the Chargers with ease. With the ball at the LA 18-yard line, Carr handed it off to running back Josh Jacobs and the rookie did the rest, bursting through a hole on the left side and waltzing into the end zone to give the Raiders the 26-24 win.
"Man, I'll say this about that game," Carr said after the win. " That was an old-school, AFC bloodbath basically. Just two defenses playing out of their mind, and we just found a way to win, you know?"
That way to win? Carr going 3-for-4 for 44 yards while driving the Raiders 75 yards in three minutes to knock off their rival and send the Coliseum into delirium. He didn't find the end zone, but it was Carr carving up the Chargers with bullets to Hunter Renfrow and Jalen Richard with the game on the line.
The win was important for team goals, yes. But it was even more meaningful to give the Black Hole a proper primetime send-off.
"It's unbelievable," Carr said of the Coliseum crowd. "I love this place, it's special. Very said this is the last time, right? It's weird. I've spent more years here than I have on any team in my life. So, it becomes home, it becomes family. The smells, the atmosphere, the noises, the things you can hear, those are the memories you keep forever.
"So we can win in front of our home crowd, it means a lot because I can only speak for myself personally, they've just given so much for this organization. I just want to see our fans happy."
The win put the Raiders to 5-4 with games against the Bengals and Jets on deck. They also sent the rival Chargers to 4-6, almost entirely out of the playoff picture. The final night game at the Coliseum saw Rivers run for his life, as the Raiders young pass rushers came alive. It saw safety Erik Harris record two early interceptions, including a pick-six.
It saw Carr, in front of the crowd that watched him grow up, lead one final game-winning drive under the Coliseum lights. With the building still shaking, Gruden ran over to the Black Hole and celebrated with those who bleed silver and black.
"No, I never think about that," Gruden said when asked if he gets worried the postgame celebrations are too wild in the Black Hole. "Every win, I'm going down there. I get face paint all over me. I get to see some costumes I have not seen before at any football games. Awesome."
Bloodbath. Awesome. Old school.
Raiders-Chargers one final time at the Coliseum was all of that.