Turning points aplenty

While Quentin Jammer has gotten better in coverage, his penalty-prone ways showed up again against the Raiders. He has a costly pass interference penalty early in the second quarter that was followed two plays later by a 1-yard Reshard Lee touchdown run. He did redeem himself with a big third-quarter interception that prevented the Raiders from going up by two scores.

Fellow cornerback Antonio Cromartie authored an equally significant play, returning the Raiders first kickoff of the game all the way down to the Oakland 12-yard line. LaDainian Tomlinson scored his 23rd touchdown of the season two plays later.

The Chargers tried some trickery early in the second quarter, as Nate Kaeding tried to send a short kick over the front line of the Raiders return team. It backfired, as the kick went out of bounds, giving Oakland superb field position.

Philip Rivers had his worst day as a pro, finishing 14-of-31 for 133 yards, with one interception and no scores. He almost threw another interception, when he stared down Antonio Gates on a third-and-4 midway through the second quarter. Nnamdi Asomugha dropped the pick.

The wide receivers had a horrible game. Eric Parker, Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson just could not get open against the Raiders cornerbacks, despite Rivers having ample time to throw. Then there was Jackson's instantly infamous bungle when he caught a fourth-down pass and spiked the ball without ever being downed. It was eventually ruled an illegal forward pass and the Chargers maintained possession.

The allusiveness of Aaron Brooks was big reason why the game was so competitive. The Chargers got their hands on Brooks at least a dozen times, but came away with just the five sacks.

"He's the slipperiest quarterback I've ever seen," said Jacques Cesaire.

The Chargers took a gamble on fourth down on their first drive of the second half, and this may have been one occasion where Marty Schottenheimer was not conservative enough. On fourth-and-6 from the Raiders 33-yard line, Rivers through a high fastball which skipped off the hands of Vincent Jackson, and the Bolts turned the ball over on downs.

The Chargers sealed the win when Drayton Florence intercepted Aaron Brooks with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Florence could have downed the ball, allowing the Chargers to take a knee and run out the clock, but instead decided to attempt a runback. Florence, who doesn't count his interceptions unless he returns them for touchdowns, was just too tempted.

"I looked around me and there was no one around, so I figured I'd try to run it back," he said.


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