Chargers play by Marty's book

The Chargers and the Raiders played flag free football in the first half and only one penalty was called the entire game, between both teams.

Nick Hardwick was called for a head butt – a personal foul resulting in a 15-yard penalty. The strange part was it came after a play where the Chargers got a first down. The penalty was assessed but, luckily, was still first and ten for the Bolts. It was the first enforced penalty of the game.

Hardwick, by the way, was chewed out by his head coach for that penalty. Marty Schottenheimer could be seen mouthing how stupid and senseless the penalty was, as well as other obscenities. It turned out to be the only penalty of the day between both teams.

"The most remarkable thing for this whole football game – and I have been doing this a long time – I cannot remember the last time that I coached a football game in the NFL that there was only one penalty," Schottenheimer said. "That is absolutely remarkable."

The Bolts held the ball for all but a minute and 29 seconds of the third quarter and had a ten minute time of possession difference at the end of the game. The defense allowed 139 second-half yards.

"Honestly, they were very soft in their coverage and not really letting anyone get in behind them," quarterback Drew Brees said. "We realized that after the first drive and said, hey, just take what they give us, move the ball methodically down the field, wear them down, take time off the clock, end up with touchdowns then put the defense back out there with a lot of rest to do their job."

"When the offense holds the ball it gives the defense a chance to rest," defensive end Igor Olshansky said.

LaMont Jordan had seven carries for 42 yards before fumbling. He gained 13 yards on his last eight carries after putting the ball on the ground.

Sunday night's game was the 18th time the Chargers and Raiders have faced off in primetime. It's the most nationally televised primetime games the Chargers have played against any one opponent. The Chargers won their sixth in 18 games, with all six victories coming in San Diego.

The Chargers have played in 53 nationally televised prime-time games, winning 23.

The Chargers have won five straight over the Raiders. They also have won six straight home games against teams from the AFC West and nine of their last 11 overall against division rivals.

"It was a game that we were supposed to win but these guys played hard," wide receiver Keenan McCardell said. "Those type of games scare you sometimes. You have to give the Oakland Raiders credit. They played tough early on."

The Chargers have scored at least 17 points in 25 consecutive regular season games, the longest active streak in the NFL. The last team to hold San Diego under 17 points was the Denver Broncos, who defeated the Bolts 23-13 last September 26 at Invesco Field.

The Chargers have not lost by more than four points in 26 consecutive games, including playoffs. It is the longest current streak and is tied for the third longest streak in the NFL since 1950. The Washington Redskins were the last team to accomplish the feat, during the 1982-83 seasons. Next up is a mark set by the San Francisco 49ers when they did not lose by more than four points in 32 straight from 1988-1990.

The Chargers are the NFL's second-highest scoring team with 357 points. Only the Indianapolis Colts (366) have scored more points than the Chargers. This year's team is on pace (29.8 ppg), to break the franchise's single-season scoring mark of 468 points, set in 1981.

The Chargers are the NFL's best team when it comes to scoring points inside the 20-yard line. In 42 trips inside the red zone this season, the Chargers have 30 touchdowns and their touchdown percentage (.714) leads the NFL.

The Chargers have scored at least a field goal in 40-of-42 red zone trips this season. The only two drives that didn't produce points ended in interceptions, one against Dallas in the season opener and another against the New York Jets on Nov. 6. The Bolts have 30 touchdowns and ten field goals in the red zone this season.

With 38 sacks in 12 games, the Chargers have already surpassed their total for the entire 2004 season (29). More players are getting into the act this year as 16 different players have at least half a sack, the most since 1998. The Chargers are on pace for 51 sacks this season, which would be the most since the 1992 squad racked up 51.

"The defense turned up the pressure on them and started getting pressure on Kerry," Tomlinson said of the second half.

Schottenheimer won his sixth challenge of the year in eight attempts when he challenged an apparent touchdown reception by Antonio Gates in the second quarter. Gates bobbled the ball in the back of the end zone but secured it before falling out of bounds. Schottenheimer has the best percentage of any coach in the league on coaches' challenges.

Schottenheimer has a career record of 25-7 against the Raiders. He is also 5-0 against Raiders Head Coach Norv Turner. Schottenheimer's Chargers won both meetings over the Raiders in 2004 and the first meeting this year. His Chiefs defeated Turner's Washington Redskins, 24-3, in 1995. Turner is 1-5 against the Chargers.

With 185 career wins, Schottenheimer is the NFL's winningest active coach. He is the eighth-winningest coach of all-time and he needs just one win to move into a tie with Chuck Knox (186 wins) for seventh place on the all-time list.


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