PASSING OFFENSE: A - So what if Philip Rivers only threw the ball 11 times. It was a winning effort and that is the bottom line for his position. Once the Chargers went ahead, Rivers was asked to manage the game and not win it. He accomplished just that in his first NFL start. Pass protection was solid and Rivers was hit but once and never sacked.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A - Ho-hum, another 100-yard effort by LaDainian Tomlinson against the Raiders. Tomlinson didn't show any rust of skipping the preseason by rushing for 131 yards and a score on 31 caries. The run blocking was very good, as Tomlinson had plenty of room to romp.
PASS DEFENSE: A+ - Much improvement here, as the backend of the defense reaped the rewards of a pass rush which saw the Raiders be sacked nine times. The linebackers were all over the Raiders' backfield, especially Shawne Merriman who had three sacks. The secondary was tight when it had to be, then backed off when the lead grew to keep everything in front. Good job.
RUSH DEFENSE: A - LaMont Jordan was never a factor as the front three tied up the blockers which allowed the linebackers to do their thing. The Raiders had but 87 rushing yards and only five rushing touchdowns. The Chargers had the top run defense in the league last year and it picked up right where it left off.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A - Nate Kaeding was good on both of his field goal attempts, with both coming off the infield dirt portion of the field - Kaeding had never kicked off the dirt. P Mike Scifres was a weapon with his leg, consistently pinning the Raiders in bad field position. The return game was so-so, with Eric Parker on punts and Michael Turner on kickoffs. One long kickoff return won't go unnoticed in the special teams meetings.
COACHING: A - Raider-hater Marty Schottenheimer does it again, punking the Raiders to run his record to 26-7 against the Silver and Black. This was a Schottenheimer type of game as the Chargers raced to a 13-0 lead and that allowed him to go conservative and let his running game and awesome defense take over. And by not asking Rivers to do too much, his confidence gets a boost as well with the way he managed the game.
Raiders Report Card:
PASSING OFFENSE: F - Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter were a combined 8-for-19 for 96 yards and absorbed nine sacks. Not all of them were the fault of the offensive line. Randy Moss caught 4 passes for 47 yards but couldn't get deep. No other wideouts were a factor. Tight end Courtney Anderson dropped three passes. Pass blocking was a swinging gate. An abysmal performance on every level.
RUSHING OFFENSE: F - Don't be deceived by the 4.4 average yards per rush. Justin Fargas rushed for 35 yards on 5 carries when the game was out of reach, and quarterback Aaron Brooks had 27 yards in scrambles. Starting running back LaMont Jordan had 20 yards on 10 carries, no gain of longer than 4 yards and lost a fumble at the Oakland 9.
PASS DEFENSE: D -- Weren't asked to do much, but the Raiders weren't up to the task when Philip Rivers threw the ball. Rivers completed 8 of 11 passes for 108 yards, but had some clutch completions, most notably a 38-yard strike to Eric Parker that set up a touchdown. The Raiders had only five interceptions all last season, spent all pre-season talking about interceptions, then didn't come close to one against San Diego.
RUSH DEFENSE: C -- First half was awful, second half was pretty good. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 131 yards on 30 carries, but had 101 yards on 16 carries at the half. Part of Oakland's improvement in the second half was that the Chargers made no pretense about sitting on a 13-0 lead and protecting Rivers when they had the ball deep in their own territory. Rookie safety Michael Huff had back-to-back stuffs of Tomlinson on one series, one for no gain and another for a loss of a yard.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Punter Shane Lechler was terrific, with a 46.7 average on nine punts, a 40.7 net and four punts inside the 20-yard line with one touchback. Nnamdi Asomugha received a roughing the kicker call on a missed 42-yard field goal attempt by Nate Kaeding which allowed Kaeding to later convert from 29 yards. The contact was minimal; Kaeding flopped for the call. Return specialist Chris Carr had only one yard on three punt returns but did have a 39-yard kickoff return.
COACHING: F - Five months of preparation for an emotional home opener and this is what they came up with? Offense was a disaster, with no short or intermediate-range passes to ease the pressure on the quarterbacks. No screens, either. Brooks burned two timeouts because the Raiders were confused coming to the line, and it cost them late in the first half when San Diego was pinned deep in its own territory and Oakland had just one timeout to burn. Defensively wasn't a problem of scheme so much as first-half intensity.