By Danny Cox
In a game that had an 11:35 p.m. EST start, the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers both had to deal with playing well into the night. While both are West Coast teams, it seemed as if the Raiders came much more prepared for a late night and they showed it by jumping out to a very fast start.
After jumping out to 17-0 and then 24-3 leads; the Raiders were able to get their second victory of the season and send the Chargers below them in the division. It wasn’t always pretty, but there were truly some great signs on both sides of the ball.
Dennis Allen obviously had a plan in place to have as well-balanced an offensive game as possible, and it showed once all was said and done. The Raiders ran 27 passing plays and 28 rushing plays for 195 and 104 yards respectively. The idea was there, but it just wasn’t executed all too well.
Oakland is desperately missing Darren McFadden in the running game, but the team still stuck to their plan. They mixed it up and tried to keep the entire attack off of the shoulders of quarterback Terrelle Pryor, and it worked.
It didn’t work perfectly, but it worked for what they needed and the defense helped out.
The balance gave the team the chance to succeed, and they even did well at holding onto the ball, but some more is going to be needed. Pryor had a great game with two touchdown passes and he completed 78 percent of his throws, but that’s not the problem. The Oakland offensive line allowed four sacks and for a mobile quarterback, that has got to get better.
Darren McFadden’s absence in the running game is obvious, and this team will be even better when he returns. Still, the Raiders had three rush for over 30 yards. Pryor also spread the ball around to many different receivers and they had no turnovers, so kudos to them.
Philip Rivers amassed 411 passing yards, but that was due to the Chargers playing from behind the entire game. Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen each had over 100 yards receiving, but this is all that the Raiders did wrong defensively. Rivers was sacked twice and intercepted three times.
The Chargers were held to a mere 32 yards rushing from Danny Woodhead, Ronnie Brown, and Ryan Mathews, and that is no small feat. Let’s also add up that Oakland recovered two turnovers to go along with the three picks and they had a +5 turnover differential in just one game.
Jacoby Ford had four kickoff returns for a total of 92 yards, so he did well at giving the Raiders decent starting field position.
Marquette King kept San Diego pinned back while averaging 49.5 yards on each punt.
Sebastian Janikowski came out and did what he always does best. He was three-for-three on extra points and hit both of his field goal attempts with a long of 50 yards. Not a single problem to be found.
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.