What a difference having a clutch kicker makes.
Though the Los Angeles Chargers have their own unique set of problems inside their home stadium, they earned their second victory in a row away from StubHub Center on Sunday, defeating the Oakland Raiders 17-16.
It was a hard-fought divisional matchup, as the games between these two teams generally are, but the Chargers found a way to grind out the victory.
The Chargers took a 14-10 lead with just over 10 minutes to play when Philip Rivers found a wide open Melvin Gordon for a 6-yard touchdown pass. However, the Raiders came right back at them, scoring just minutes later on an end around to Cordarrelle Patterson that went for a 47-yard touchdown.
But on the ensuing extra-point, a poor snap threw the timing of the play off and Giorgio Tavecchio shanked the kick. That would end up being the difference.
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Trailing by just two points, Rivers led the Chargers down the field on a terrific 11-play, 78-yard drive that ended when Nick Novak booted a 32-yard field goal as time expired. Novak, who had missed an earlier field goal, drilled it right through the middle of the posts.
On the game-winning drive, Rivers hit tight end Hunter Henry on two big pass plays. One went for 34 yards and the next covered 23. He finished the game with five receptions for 90 yards. Gordon had 150 combined yards and two touchdowns while Rivers had 268 yards through the air. Most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over.
It has to be refreshing for Chargers fans to see a game end like that, considering their team has been on the opposite side of that scenario too many times to count.
The Chargers improve to 2-4 on the season while handing the Raiders their fourth loss in a row. The Bolts will return to StubHub in Week 7 to host the Denver Broncos.