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A Second Half Surge Boosts Bolts over Raiders, 26-13

Posted Dec 22, 2013

Photo Gallery: Raiders vs. Chargers | Charger Girls | More Photos

The Chargers won the toss and once again opted to defer.  After allowing one first down, the defense came up with a clutch stop on third down when Marcus Gilchrist brought down Marcel Reese after a short gain.  With the ball for the first time, the Bolts picked up a first down on a pass to Ryan Mathews, and that was followed immediately by another first down reception by Antonio Gates who had a vicious stiff arm to reach the sticks. Three plays later on 3rd-and-4, Vincent Brown caught a pass over the middle on a well-drawn up play for 14 yards down to the Oakland 39 yard line. Gates came through with two more big plays as he had a 13-yard reception on another third down followed by a TE screen to number down to the 11 yard line. Unfortunately, that was as far as the Bolts made it as they settled for a 27-yard field goal by Nick Novak to take a 3-0 lead. On the Raiders first play from scrimmage, Melvin Ingram raced around the right tackle to sack Matt McGloin.  The sack eventually led to a punt by Marquette King that Keenan Allen took back 28 yards, the longest punt return of the year for San Diego. A catch by John Phillips and short run by Mathews made it 3rd-and-5 as the first quarter came to a close.

Even though Rivers drew the defense offside, the quarterback connected with Eddie Royal for a 13-yard gain into Oakland territory.  Unfortunately, two plays later Rivers was not ready for the snap and Miles Burris pounced on it to force the turnover.  On 3rd-and-5, Mychal Rivera reached high and hauled in a 37-yard catch to the five-yard line.  One play later, Darren McFadden ran five yards up the gut for a 7-3 lead. It looked like the Chargers went three and out to begin the next drive, but defensive holding against Tracy Porter kept the drive alive.  Two strong runs by Danny Woodhead followed by a terrific catch and run by Allen for 18 yards brought the Bolts to midfield.  Facing an improbable 3rd-and-13, Vincent Brown pulled in a 24-yard catch to the 31-yard line.  However, on the next play Rivers underthrew Brown and the ball was picked off by Mike Jenkins on the Oakland nine yard line.  On 1st-and-15, Rashad Jennings took a check down pass for 16 yards and a first down.  Two plays later, Eric Weddle came through with a clutch, jaw-dropping interception.  Leaping high, he tipped the ball in the air then caught it as he dove to the ground.  Just like that, the Bolts had the ball at the 20-yard line. A roughing the passer call against Burris moved the ball to the seven yard line.  Mathews made the Raiders pay with a tremendous second effort touchdown, spinning out of tacklers for a big-time touchdown to go up 10-7. A pass interference call against Shareece Wright moved the ball to the Oakland 40 with just over two minutes to go in the half.  The defense responded strongly forcing a punt, but Keenan Allen muffed a punt at his own 16-yard line, setting the Raiders up in scoring range.  A screen to Reese moved the ball to the three, but the Bolts held strong behind a perfectly called blitz on third down by Weddle to limit the damage to a field goal.  With that, the teams entered halftime tied 10-10.

San Diego picked up on first down via penalty before being forced to punt to the Raiders.   Oakland tried to get tricky by running a reverse on second down, but Manti Te’o and Melvin Ingram read it perfectly.  The stop led to an eventual punt as the Bolts took over at their own 23-yard line.  A strong run by Mathews followed by a nifty pass to Eddie Royal on third down put the Bolts into Oakland territory. Jenkins aided the Chargers by committing a taunting penalty, moving the ball up to the 32-yard line.  A pair of plays by Mathews got another first down to the 20, Woodhead carried it down to the 10, setting up first and goal.  Two plays later on a perfectly drawn up play by the coaching staff, Rivers found Allen crossing over the middle and over the goal line to put San Diego up 17-10.  The Bolts went 12 plays and 77 yards in 6:18 to take the lead, and the defense responded in kind by forcing yet another three-and-out.  On second down, Mathews exploded off left tackle for 34 yards into Oakland territory. Unfortunately the drive stalled at the 30-yard line, and Novak came in to attempt a 48-yard field goal.  He slipped as he kicked it, but he still had enough power to split the uprights for a 10 point advantage, 20-10. On the ensuing kickoff, Darrell Stuckey and Seyi Ajirotutu converged on Greg Jenkins to force a fumble that Ladarius Green came away with, setting the Bolts up at the Oakland 13-yard line.   San Diego faced 3rd-and-7 from the 10-yard line as the quarter came to an end.

A pressured Rivers misfired on a pass to a wide-open Allen, so the Chargers settled for a 28-yard field goal and a 23-10 lead. A couple big plays to Andre Holmes moved the Raiders into San Diego territory. On 3rd-and-4 from the 24-yard line, Shareece Wright broke up a McGloin pass, so the damage was limited to a 48-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal to trim the lead to 23-13.  Back with the ball, Danny Woodhead ripped off two strong runs to move the Chargers to midfield. On 3rd-and-1, Rivers connected with Royal for a 22 yard gain to the 21-yard line.  On 3rd-and-4, Rivers looked for Allen in the end zone but they couldn't connect and the team setteld for a 33-yard Novak field goal and a 26-13 lead. The Raiders moved the ball into Chargers territory on the ensuing drive as the clock continued to roll. The Raiders faced 4th-and-3 from the 17-yard line at the two minute warning. Moving the ball all the way to the five yard line, the Raiders were unable to get into the end zone.  The Chargers took over on downs and Philip Rivers took a knee to end the game 26-13.

Turning Point

Pretty much the entire third quarter proved to be the turning point for the Chargers.  After each team went three-and-out, San Diego marched down the field 77 yards for a Keenan Allen touchdown.  After the defense forced another three-and-out, the Bolts added to their lead with a field goal to make it a 10 point game.  Then, Darrell Stuckey and Seyi Ajirotutu converged on Greg Jennings on the ensuing kickoff to force a fumble that Ladarius Green recovered.  That turnover led to a field goal to kick off the fourth quarter, and overall, the game turned from a tied 10-10 affair to a 23-10 advantage.

It was Over When…

Facing 4th-and-5 from the six-yard line with 59 seconds remaining, Matt McGloin was under pressure by Eric Weddle when he tossed a desperation ball to Marcel Reese.  The fullback was unable to corral it, turning the ball over on downs.  After two Philip Rivers' kneel downs, the ball game ended with a Chargers victory.

Play of the Game

Eric Weddle had an interception for the ages in the second quarter.  The safety dropped back into coverage and jumped high to deflect a Matt McGloin pass with his outstretched left arm.  His momentum carried him forward and as he fell to the turf he tipped it to himself with his right hand just when he hit the ground.  It was a play that proved pivotal for the Bolts and one that will surely make highlight reels nationwide.

Stat of the Game

With 99 yards on the ground, Ryan Mathews set a new season high for rushing yards with 1,111 on the year.

Bolt Quotebook

“We have a big one coming up this week.  We need our largest, loudest fan support this week.  This is what it all comes down to.  It comes down to the last game of the season. So fans, we’re asking you as an organization, we need as many Charger fans in that stadium.  As much of our colors and our colors only please.  Be as loud as you can because it’s going to be a great weekend.” – Head Coach Mike McCoy

“It’s a different thing when you play the Raiders.  During Raider week everybody has a little extra amp.  You know it’s going to be a dog fight the whole game and we fought.” – Wide Receiver Vincent Brown

“We knew they were going to come in here and try to run the ball.  They had (Darren) McFadden back.  He saw limited action but he got in there.  He’s a gamebreaker. So we had to be on our P’s and Q’s for him.  (Rashad) Jennings, he’s a strong runner too. We went out there and handled business.” – Linebacker Donald Butler

“It feels amazing knowing we can go in next week with a purpose and something to play for.  It feels good.” – Wide Receiver Keenan Allen

“We just had to execute.  We couldn’t beat ourselves.  That’s exactly what we focused on – not beating ourselves and understanding what it takes to execute….We played well. There were mistakes here and there and we’ll correct those.  We’ll come back better.  We’re constantly getting better.” – Linebacker Donald Butler

“We weren’t too focused on what was going on outside.  We just wanted to focus in on us, really come out and try to play a great game and build off of the last two weeks.  The more energy and time you spend on what other people are doing, your play will hinder because of it.  We just stick together.  It was a great, great effort out there.  The crowd was amazing and really continues the momentum and continues this season alive.  It’s a one game season for all three of us, so hopefully things will go our way.  We’ve got to go out and play a good game.” – Safety Eric Weddle

Odds and Ends

Philip Rivers finished the game 19 of 29 for 201 yards, one touchdown and one interception for an 82.7 passer rating.

Ryan Mathews led all rushers with 99 yards on 25 carries, along with one touchdown.  Danny Woodhead chipped in with eight carries for 52 yards.

Eddie Royal led all receivers in catches with four and yards with 54.

Keenan Allen scored his fifth touchdown in the last three games.

Shareece Wright led all Chargers with seven tackles.

Melvin Ingram notched his first sack of the season, and second of his career, in his third game of 2013.

The Chargers had 344 yards of total offense compared to the Raiders with just 265.

The Bolts churned out 148 yards on the ground while limiting Oakland to only 59.

San Diego finished 6-of-11 (55%) on third down while limiting Oakland to just 4-of-13 (31%).

The Chargers won the time of possession battle yet again, 34:42 to 25:18.

Inactives for the Chargers include: Brad Sorensen, Lavelle Hawkins, Brandon Taylor, Marcus Cromartie, Steve Schilling, Kenny Wiggins and Kwame Geathers.

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