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Scouting Report: San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders
The San Diego Chargers look to finish the season the way they began it; with a win over their division rivals, the Oakland Raiders. The Chargers beat the Raiders to kick off the 2012 season with a 22-14 victory at the O.Co. Coliseum. The Bolts will also look to close out the season with back-to-back wins and victories in three of their last four games.
A Look Back At Last Week
Down 14-10 at halftime, the Chargers used a strong third quarter to propel them to a 27-17 victory. San Diego outscored New York 14-0 in the pivotal frame behind Philip Rivers’ touchdown throws to Danario Alexander and Antonio Gates. History was made on Gates’ TD as it was the 82nd of his career, which gave him sole possession for the most touchdown receptions in team history over Lance Alworth.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
It’s been a “Jekyll and Hyde” season for the Chargers offense. Some games they look lethal, putting up points at ease while other weeks they have struggled. One constant has been when Philip Rivers has had time to get set in the pocket, he’s been able to pick apart the opposing team’s defense. Last week against the Jets, Rivers attempted only 22 passes, but he didn’t turn the ball over and recorded two touchdowns. In the running game, the Chargers will look to have their first 100 yard rusher of the season as Jackie Battle, Curtis Brinkley and Ronnie Brown form a three-headed backfield by committee.
On Offense for the Raiders
Despite being outscored this season, 419 to 269, the Raiders have racked up 5,239 yards of total offense. Tight end Brandon Myers has emerged as a big time weapon, pulling in a team-leading 75 catches for 753 yards and four touchdowns, while wide receivers Denarius Moore (50-736-6) and Darrius Heyward- Bey (39-593-4) have been big-play threats. Darren McFadden recently returned from an ankle injury that forced him to miss four games, but he leads the Silver and Black with 650 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 197 carries.
On Defense for the Chargers
The Chargers tied a team record with 11 sacks in last Sunday’s win over the Jets. Kendall Reyes became the first Chargers’ rookie to record 3.5 sacks in a game since Leslie O’Neal’s five-sack performance against the Dallas Cowboys in 1986. Shaun Phillips added 2.5 sacks to take over sole possession of second place on the team’s all-time list. Overall, seven different Chargers took down the QB, while the team also recorded 17 hits on Jets quarterback Greg McElroy.
On Defense for the Raiders
Defense has been a weakness for Oakland this season, giving up the third most points per game, 27.9. A bright spot has been the play of outside linebacker Philip Wheeler, who leads the team with 107 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. Meanwhile, defensive end Matt Shaughnessy paces the squad with 3.5 sacks.
Sunday’s game will mark the 107th meeting between the Chargers and Raiders. Oakland leads the series 58-46-2, but the Chargers have won two straight and 15 of the last 18 in the series, including 13-straight wins from 2003-09.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank 29th in total offense (303.1 yards per game), 23rd in passing (210.3 ypg), 27th in rushing (92.7 ypg) and 19th in points (21.7). The Raiders rank 18th in total offense (349.3 ypg), eighth in passing (262.3 ypg), 29th in rushing (87.0 ypg) and 29th in points (17.9)
Defensively, the Bolts rank 11th in total defense (330.5 ypg), 18th in passing (234.5 ypg), fourth in rushing (95.1 ypg) and 15th in points allowed (21.9). Oakland ranks 21st in total defense (364.1 ypg), 22nd in passing (242.3 ypg), 20th in rushing (121.9 ypg) and 29th in points allowed (27.9).
Milestones on the Horizon
Norv Turner (118 career wins) needs one more win to break a tie with Dennis Green for the 31st-most wins by a head coach in NFL history (playoffs included). Turner’s all-time record is 117-126-1. On Dec. 9 in Pittsburgh, Turner led the Chargers to their first-ever regular-season win in the Steel City and after the game he received a game ball in the locker room from team president Dean Spanos. Last Sunday, Turner coached the 101st game of his Chargers career and led the Bolts to a 27-17 win over the Jets in New York. Turner’s record as the Bolts’ head coach is 58-43.
Philip Rivers has passed for 3,455 yards and needs just 45 yards to become the first Chargers quarterback with five-straight seasons of 3,500-or-more passing yards. Rivers has 24 touchdown passes this season and needs only one more to extend his streak of seasons with 25 or more touchdown passes to five. Only five other quarterbacks in NFL history have put together such streaks for five seasons or longer. They include Peyton Manning (1998-2012), Brett Favre (1994-98), Dan Marino (1984-88), Drew Brees (2006-12) and Aaron Rodgers (2008-12). Rivers’ 24 touchdown passes in 2012 are 10th in the NFL.
Antonio Gates has 640 career catches and needs 23 to pass Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome (662) for fourth-most by a tight end in NFL history. Gates (8,306 career yards) currently ranks fourth all-time in receiving yards by a tight end.
Dante Rosario’s next catch will be the 100th of his career.
Takeo Spikes had three tackles last Sunday in New York to raise his season total to 98. He comes into Sunday’s season-finale just two tackles shy of his 12th-career 100- tackle season.
Quentin Jammer (20) is tied with Chuck Allen (1961-68) for 10th on the team’s all-time interceptions list. With one more, Jammer will tie Woodrow Lowe (1976-86), Bob Howard (1967-74) and Leslie “Speedy” Duncan (1964-69) for seventh. Eric Weddle (15) needs four interceptions to crack the Top 10.
Nick Novak (44 career field goals) ranks sixth on the team’s all-time field goals list. He needs seven more to pass George Blair (1961-64), who ranks fifth with 50.
Antoine Cason (245 int. return yards) needs 64 to crack the team’s career Top 10 list.
Head Coach Norv Turner is a native of Martinez, Calif. and spent the 2004-05 seasons as Raiders head coach.
Defensive line coach Don Johnson coached Raiders defensive tackles from 2007-08.
Tight ends coach Jason Michael served as Raiders offensive quality control and video assistant in 2005.
Cornerback Chris Carr played for the Raiders from 2005-07.
Tackle Kevin Haslam went to training camp with the Raiders in 2012.
Oakland senior offensive assistant Al Saunders served as Chargers head coach from 1986-88 after serving as an assistant from 1983-86.
College scout Raleigh McKenzie played for the Chargers from 1997-98.
Raiders Linebacker Carl Ihenacho went to training camp with the Bolts in 2011 and is also from Gardena, Calif..
CBS Sports (KFMB-TV, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS-TV, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Bill Mcatee(play-by-play), Steve Tasker (analyst)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst), Mike Costa (sideline reporter)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play), Dante Lazcano (analyst) Read