Chargers sweep the Raiders

The San Diego Chargers had a chance to bury the Raiders early but Oakland held out and kept it close throughout. The Bolts maintained a lead throughout and came away with a six point victory, 23-17 as a blocked extra point did not come back to haunt them. The sweep of the season series was the first time the Bolts accomplished the feat since 1992.

Faced with a third and two on the Chargers first possession, Antonio Gates went into his route unhindered and ended up with a 23 yard gain before he was pushed out of bounds. Charles Woodson was then called for a holding penalty on third down and 11 that gave the Chargers a first down on the Oakland 26. A ten yard pass on third down from Drew Brees to Keenan McCardell gave the Bolts a fresh set of downs. Brees then hit Gates on an out pattern against Ray Buchanan for the touchdown and an early lead. Nate Kaeding missed the extra point when it was blocked by Barry Sims.

Eric Parker returned a punt 15 yards to the San Diego 44 to setup the next drive. LaDainian Tomlinson began to make his twists and turns and cuts on the next drive and was helped by two other stars, Gates and Brees. Tomlinson caught a ball for eight yards and had an eight yard run and a twelve yard run before giving way to the rest of the cast. A holding call on Jarrod Cooper who was attempting to cover Gates gave the Chargers a first down on third and long. Napoleon Harris was then called for pass interference attempting to cover Gates to give the Bolts first and goal at the six. A quarterback draw from Brees put the Bolts up 12-0. Kaeding added the extra point.

The Raiders came back quickly when Kerry Collins hit Jerry Porter on consecutive plays for 17 yards and 12 yards. Amos Zereoue caught an 11 yard screen pass and the Chargers coverage unit left Ronald Curry wide open in the end zone as Collins hit him from 22 yards out for the score. The Raiders lined up with three wide receivers on the right side of the line and no one covered Curry as he ran his route.

After a roughing the passer penalty on Tommy Kelly on the Chargers first possession in the third quarter, Tomlinson busted a 16 yard gain behind the blocking of Roman Oben and Toniu Fonoti and McCardell caught a seven yard pass. Tomlinson added another nine yard gain before the offense faltered. Kaeding then pulled his field goal attempt wide left from 41 yards out.

On the next play, Collins hit Porter for a big gain and Randall Godfrey trucked him as he tried to turn the play inside. The ball squirted free and Ben Leber picked it up and returned it to the Oakland 23. Tomlinson gained 22 yards to put the ball at the one but the Raiders defense came up big, stopping one Tomlinson run and two passes as the Bolts settled for a 19 yard field goal to make the score 16-7.

A tripping call on Tim Dwight on the kickoff gave Oakland the ball at their own 46. Tyrone Wheatley had two runs to bring the ball into San Diego territory. Collins then hit Ronald Curry for 18 and Jerry Porter for nine yards. Wheatley had a one yard run to make it first and goal. Collins hit Teyo Johnson on the next play for the touchdown.

Despite burning two timeouts on one drive in the third quarter, the Chargers made a key third down and 13 when Brees hit Parker over the middle. McCardell had caught an 18 yard pass to move the ball into Oakland territory. Brees then hit Gates over the middle for another first down inside the twenty yard line. Tomlinson ran the ball three times from the 14 yard line and pushed the last one in from six yards out to put the Bolts on top 23-14.

Collins hit Doug Gabriel for 16 yards at midfield on the Raiders next drive. Jerry Wilson then hit Porter in the face with his hands, drawing a 15 yard penalty on what should have been a third and long to put the Raiders back in business. Collins hit Gabriel for 20 yards in front of Wilson to put the ball on the 14. He went back to Gabriel in the end zone but it was called back when rookie Robert Gallery was called for an illegal block in the back, his third penalty of the game. After a completion to J.R. Redmond, Sebastian Janikowski came on to kick a 31 yard field goal to cut the Chargers lead to six.

A circus jump throw by Brees on third and four with just over two minutes to go in the game to McCardell for a first down sealed the game for the Bolts.


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