Humbled at Home

The San Diego Chargers lost their winning streak -- and possibly their postseason hopes –- in the most disappointing way. The rival Oakland Raiders came into Qualcomm Stadium and whooped the Chargers up and down the field en route to a 28-13 victory.

This game had a lot of elements that led to San Diego's disappointing 2-5 start. The Chargers had struggles on special teams (Darren Sproles' muffed punt return) and turned the ball over (an overthrown interception by Philip Rivers).

But unlike earlier, one or two fluke plays did not decide this contest. The Raiders dominated the line of scrimmage and imposed their will on the helpless Chargers.

The Raiders dominated on the ground, holding a 251-21 edge in rushing yards. Mike Tolbert averaged just over 2 yards per carry before the Chargers were forced to abandon the run in hopes of an epic comeback.

CB Antoine Cason
Donald Miralle/Getty
The Raiders made sure the game never got close, making big plays in big moments. Jason Campbell dominated with his arm and his legs, hitting 10 of 16 passes for 117 yards and a TD and running seven times for 37 yards and another score.

The Chargers could counter with no such timely plays. San Diego converted just three of 10 third-down opportunities, with two of those conversions coming on Oakland penalties. This dud comes one week after going 0-of-8 on third downs in Indianapolis.

The Chargers had some excuses for the poor game. Injuries struck at receiver and on the defensive line. Legedu Naanee, Darren Sproles, Luis Castillo and Antonio Garay were all injured during the game. Naanee and Sproles were unable to return, leaving the cupboard bare for Rivers, who was already without Vincent Jackson (calf) and Patrick Crayton (wrist).

The Chargers are long on excuses and short on time. The 8-4 Kansas City Chiefs come to town next week and will be looking to knock the Chargers out of the playoff race. Even if the Chargers win, they will be playing catch-up in the AFC West with only three weeks to go.

Lightning Quicks

--Rivers completed just 59 percent of his passes, his lowest completion rate since Week 3.

--RB Ryan Mathews was active but did not play, even after Sproles' injury. Of course, it's hard to divvy up seven rushing attempts, which is all the Chargers authored.

--Antonio Gates played through foot pain and scored his tenth touchdown. He finished with 73 receiving yards, one better than Malcom Floyd. Kelley Washington played a lot in the second half and caught his first pass as a Charger (14 yards). He became the 16th player to catch a pass from Rivers this season.

--LB Stephen Cooper, battling a knee injury, was active but did not play. That came back to haunt the Chargers, who kept NT Cam Thomas on the inactive list. Thomas would have come in handy after Castillo and Garay were hurt. The Chargers were already without Travis Johnson, who was down with a shoulder injury.

--CB Quentin Jammer forced a Darren McFadden fumble late in the first half that was recovered by Shaun Phillips.

--K Nate Kaeding was short on a 50-yard field goal attempt, the second time he has been short on a try since returning from a groin injury.

--The Chargers held the ball for just over 20 minutes and finished with only 286 total net yards.

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Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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