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John Pagano must feel proud after this one.
The defensive coordinator watched as his unit came through, pressuring Matt McGloin enough to force a game-deciding interception. The pressure was just enough to force the Raiders into a mistake and just enough to preserve the Bolts' 26-13 win -- their eighth of the season.
The quarter started with a missed connection from Rivers to Allen. The quarterback threw behind his target and Allen couldn't reach back for the ball in time. Novak kicked his third field goal of the game instead.
The Raiders bounced back with two passes to Andre Holmes that gained 40 yards. But the Bolts defense got to a Matt McGloin pass on third down before Marcel Reece could, and on fourth down, they sent out Janikowski for a 42-yarder.
The Bolts got right back in scoring range when they mixed a 22-yard pitch-and-catch from Rivers to Eddie Royal in with some tough runs by Danny Woodhead. Rivers tried for a touchdown in the back corner to Allen, but the duo couldn't connect. Enter Novak, who made it 26-13 with his fourth field goal.
The Raiders went deep for Streater on the next series. Stuckey denied them with his excellent play, and later, Shareece Wright slapped a ball away in the end zone.
The drive came down to two fourth downs. McGloin converted on the first with a pass to Mychal Rivera. But on 4th-and-1, the loud Qualcomm crowd caused the opposition to jump early. And on 4th-and-6, Eric Weddle nearly dragged McGloin down before he let the ball go.
It sailed to Reece, but Richard Marshall was there just in time to throw off his line of sight. Reece dropped the ball, and in doing so, helped the Bolts to a big home win. Read
Now that's more like it, Keenan Allen.
The rookie made good on a first half fumble by doing what he does best -- finding the end zone. His four-yard touchdown was the first of two third-quarter scores for the Bolts, and after 45 minutes of play, the Bolts lead the Raiders 20-10.
Allen dropped an early third-down pass and the Bolts punted on their first possession of the half. But the defense held strong and got after Matt McGloin. When the Raiders faced a third down of their own, Eric Weddle got just enough pressure on McGloin to force his throw off-target.
Rivers and Co. went back to work after that. They drove the ball, picking up two big first downs on Raiders penalties. On the Raiders' 20, Danny Woodhead carried the ball twice for 16 tough yards. Then, Allen came through with his big scoring catch.
The rookie slanted inside when Eddie Royal drove a safety up field. Allen walked into the end zone, ball in hand, with no Raiders defenders around him.
McGloin came under fire again and the Raiders went three-and-out. Two plays after their punt, Ryan Mathews went 34 yards off left tackle to set the Bolts up for a Nick Novak 48-yard field goal.
That big rush set a new season-high for Mathews. And he'll look to add to that total in scoring range again -- the Bolts recovered a fumble on the kickoff after Novak's scoring boot.
Turnovers have haunted and helped the Bolts in the second quarter.
A mistimed center-quarterback exchange and a Philip Rivers interception interrupted potential scoring drives. Eric Weddle astoundingly pulled his own tipped pass down for a much-needed pick to set up a seven-yard run later in the quarter. But with a minute and a half left in the half, Keenan Allen muffed a punt that set the Raiders up to tie the game at 10-10.
On the third play of the quarter, Rivers stepped to the line and motioned out to his receiver out right -- but the ball was snapped. Miles Burris fell on the early turnover and set his Raiders up with great field position.
They took advantage of that field position with a six-play drive that seized the lead. On 3rd-and-5, Matt McGloin escaped an incoming pass rush and airmailed a pass to tight end Mychal Rivera, who made an acrobatic 37-yard catch. On the next play, Darren McFadden ran up the middle for a five-yard score.
The Bolts drove the ball again on the ensuing drive, but fell victim to another turnover. This time, Mike Jenkins stepped in front of a Rivers bomb and secured an interception.
That's when Weddle responded with a pick of his own. He left his feet to redirect a McGloin throw, relocated the tipped ball, and dove again to grab it. After replay conformation, Weddle's athletic interception set the Bolts up in scoring range.
And score they did. Mathews had a spinning, powerful seven yard run for his third rushing touchdown in three weeks.
The offense might’ve had a chance to build on that drive if not for Allen’s fumble. The rookie stepped up in the sun to field the punt, but it dropped to the turf as soon as it hit his hands. The defense held strong and forced Sebastian Janikowski to kick a 20-yarder to knot it up.
The Bolts get the ball back to start the second half.
The dangerous duo connected three times on a 16-play opening drive. Nick Novak booted a 27-yard field goal to end that nine-minute drive, and after one quarter, the Bolts lead the Raiders 3-0.
The Bolts defense wrestled Rashad Jennings down early and forced the Raiders to punt on their first drive. The punt backed Rivers and Co. to their own nine-yard line, but that didn't stop a long and methodical scoring drive from taking shape.
Ryan Mathews carried the ball six times on the drive. And when he wasn't toughing out yards on the ground, Rivers looked to Gates.
First, they connected on a crossing route over the middle. Gates delivered his signature ending stiff-arm -- much to the delight of the Qualcomm crowd -- for a 16-yard pickup.
The Raiders fell victim to a similar crossing route from Gates on a 3rd-and-10 later in the drive. And when the Bolts were in scoring range, Rivers faked a shotgun draw, reset his feet, and set Gates up on a tight end screen that went for 13 yards.
That drive stalled deep in Raiders territory and led to Novak's first field goal. But behind a Melvin Ingram sack, the Bolts defense forced another punt, and Keenan Allen returned it for a nifty 28-yard gain at the end of the quarter. Read
The San Diego Chargers (7-7) head home to Qualcomm Stadium to face their fierce interstate rivals, the Oakland Raiders (4-10). The Chargers’ head coach wants the home crowd on its feet from start to finish for today’s divisional matchup – the second of three AFC West bouts to end the 2013 regular season. Kickoff is slated for 1:25PM.
It’s a tall task to beat Philip Rivers in December – especially when he’s playing at this level. The ten-year veteran owns an .826 career winning percentage this month, and in the past two games, he’s 33-for-48 with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Four of those touchdowns belong to Rookie of the Year candidate Keenan Allen; the Cal product has emerged as a dangerous receiving option to compliment tested veterans like Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead. The offense has been just as lethal with the ball in the hands of Ryan Mathews, too. The resurgent runner has toted the ball 58 times the last two games, and has two 100-yard performances and two rushing touchdowns to show for it.
From undrafted rookie to starting quarterback, Matt McGloin has transformed the Raiders’ offense into a quick-strike attack. Since he took over five weeks ago, he’s connected for 15 passes that gained at least 25 yards – more than any other passer in the league – thanks to players like receiver Rod Streater and tight end Mychal Rivera. He also benefits from the second-ranked rushing attack in the AFC. With Rashad Jennings leading the way, the Raiders average just over 134 rush yards per contest this season.
Inactives for the Chargers include: Brad Sorensen, Lavelle Hawkins, Brandon Taylor, Marcus Cromartie, Steve Schilling, Kenny Wiggins and Kwame Geathers.
Stay tuned to Chargers.com for all the latest news and analysis from Bolts-Raiders. Read