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Chargers End Season with Win Over Raiders
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The San Diego Chargers ended the 2012 season in style, handily defeating the Oakland Raiders 24-21.
Fresh off being named last week’s Special Teams Player of the Week, Micheal Spurlock did it again, taking the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead. After the teams combined for three punts, Philip Rivers marched the Chargers down the field with a pair of big passes to Eddie Royal. The drive stalled in the red zone and the Bolts settled for a 30-yard Nick Novak field goal to increase their lead to 10-0.
The Raiders offense came to life on their third possession of the game, which spanned the first and second quarters. Oakland got on the board when Terrelle Pryor found Darrius Heyward-Bey for a nine-yard touchdown strike to cut the lead to 10-7. Back with the ball, it appeared as though the Bolts were going to go three-and-out. Instead, the team called a fake punt and Eric Weddle rushed up the middle for six yards to keep the drive alive. It turned out to be a 12-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown to Antonio Gates that gave the home team a 17-7 lead at the half.
Oakland received the ball to start the second half and put together a methodical drive that appeared destined to end with points. However, Quentin Jammer made an acrobatic play in the end zone to come away with an interception and give the Bolts possession. After both teams went three-and-out, Rivers and the offense took over at the Raiders’ 47-yard line. Just four plays later, Rivers found Danario Alexander down the left sideline for the 34-yard touchdown and a 24-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Chargers began the final frame with the ball but were forced to punt the ball away. Pryor led the Raiders to their best drive of the game, an eight-play, 91-yard drive that ended with the QB scampering into the end zone on a design run. The score cut the Bolts’ lead to 24-14. The Raiders pulled within three after a blocked punt set up the Raiders deep in San Diego territory, and Pryor found Denarius Moore in the back of the end zone. However, the Chargers recovered the on side kick and ended up victorious with an emotional 24-21 victory.
The Raiders, having just scored to make it a 10-7 game, appeared set to get the ball back after bringing Micheal Spurlock down one yard shy of the first down marker. But instead of it being a three-and-out, Eric Weddle ran a fake punt straight up the middle for a gain of six yards. The play sparked the Bolts, who went 75 yards on 12 plays to increase their lead to 17-7 with an 11-yard touchdown strike from Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates. The shift in momentum carried over for the rest of the game as the Chargers easily went on for the victory.
It Was Over When…
The Chargers got good field position, starting at the Raiders’ 47-yardline, and Philip Rivers made Oakland pay. After converting a third down, the Chargers QB lobbed a perfect ball down the left sideline to Danario Alexander, who powered his way past defenders on his way into the end zone. The 34-yard TD pass gave the Bolts a 17-point lead the Raiders would not be able to overcome.
Play of the Game
Sebastian Janikowski’s kick to start the game landed in Micheal Spurlock’s arms at the one yard line. The reigning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week sprinted straight up the field as the blocking unfolded perfectly in front of him. He began to angle to his right at the 30-yard line, and finding a crease, sprinted up the sideline all the way into the end zone for a touchdown.
Stat of the Game
With the win, the Chargers finished the season 7-9. The recorded a 4-2 record against the AFC West and a 7-5 record vs. the AFC.
“Our guys didn’t blink. The Jereomy Clarys and the Louis Vasquezes and the Philip Rivers and the Eric Weddles and the Quentin Jammers; they prepared, they played and they competed. Like every game was for something a lot more than it was. I will always appreciate that from those guys.” – Head Coach Norv Turner
“I talked the last few weeks about finishing it right. Obviously we didn’t play well at all against Carolina, but we finished winning three of the last four.” – Quarterback Philip Rivers
“We all know what our job is and we came out here wanting to win, wanting to play well, especially for Coach Turner.” – Wide Receiver/Returner Micheal Spurlock
“It means a lot (to win this game). We’ve been through a lot this season. I’ve only been here for some of the games, but I’ve seen some of the ups and downs so it’s always good to come out with a win.” – Wide Receiver Danario Alexander
“It’s tough. We prepared to play all year long. We’re going to miss the things like being in the locker room or preparing for a game or in the airplane. Those are the things that you miss more than anything. We have such a great group of guys. Each and all of us will keep in contact in the offseason and workout together.” – Linebacker Shaun Phillips
Odds and Ends
Micheal Spurlock became the first Charger in franchise history to have a punt return and kickoff return for a touchdown in consecutive weeks.
Philip Rivers surpassed 3,500 yards for the season in the first quarter. This marks his fifth straight season surpassing that plateau, the most in franchise history.
Rivers also threw two touchdowns to bring his season total to 26. It marked his fifth straight season of 25-plus TD passes, becoming the fifth quarterback in NFL history to do so.
Antonio Gates tied Lance Alworth for second most total touchdowns in franchise history (83).
Takeo Spikes and Mike Goodson were ejected in the second quarter following a scuffle.
The inactives today included Edwin Baker, Gary Guyton, Donald Butler, Stephen Schilling, Mike Willie, Ladarius Green and Greg Gatson.
Changes to the starting lineup included Demorrio Williams for Donald Butler at inside linebacker and Kevin Haslam for Mike Harris at left tackle. Read