Shows you how meaningless stats are, especially since they have no factor in a game. You still have to play the game. The Chargers no.1 Defense gave up 251 rushing yards to the Raiders RBs McFadden and Bush. Though they only had 117 passing yards, the ground and pound was enough to win the game for them. The defensive line had no answer for the Oakland running game and it made them venerable to play action; as we noticed with a fake run up the middle which resulted in a pass from QB Campbell to Louis Murphy for a first down in the red zone. Jason Campbell had more rushing yards with 37 than the core of RBs for the Chargers.
When AJ moved up during the 2007 draft to get Weddle from Utah in the second round, I was excited. I thought he would be that threat that would make receivers think twice from catching a ball down the middle, similar to how Rodney Harrison used to patrol the field. Though, he had 5 tackles and one assist in the game, the tackles he didn’t make made more of a difference. First, he missed a tackle when Marcel Reece jumped over him, and then he was run over by Darren Mcfadden when he scored a TD in the fourth quarter to put the Raiders up 28-13. Eric seems to save his best tackling for practice, but when he gets on the field he is as soft as a marshmallow. And about his hands? Well, he is going to be alongside Bart Simpson for a certain candy bar commercial.
Through 11 weeks, Rivers was looking at an MVP candidate; still on pace to break Marino’s passing record for a season. Though, he is not far from breaking Dan’s record, MVP seems to have diminished, with the performances of other QBs. Phillip was clearly off on Sunday, overthrowing/under throwing his receivers. Though, the blame cannot all go to Phillip, the O-line was subpar at best, allowing 4 sacks on critical drives. Even though Rivers was pressured all day, he ended the game with 280 yards passing with one TD and one interception.
The Special Teams
Finding positive things out of this game was hard, and the only thing I could think about that wasn’t disastrous was the special teams; this of course not including Sproles fumble with resulted in a Raiders TD, or the missed Nate “not-clutch” Kaeding field goal.
Looking at the special teams glass half-full, trust me it’s definitely a stretch, is that they did not allow a block punt, or a punt/kick off return for a TD. For the most part, the Raiders field position wasn’t great either, a credit to the coverage.
On a side note: Its the first time the Chargers have lost a December game in which Rivers has started. The first time the Raiders have swept the series in a long time. Their first win in San Diego in a while, snapping a 13-game losing streak to the Chargers.