Chargers beaten with a blunt object


Raiders coach Tom Cable decided early on last week to dispense with misdirection.

With Bruce Gradkowski out with a separated throwing shoulder, Jason Campbell would be the quarterback. And it was made clear repeatedly during the week that Campbell would be executing a lot of handoffs.

Following a 28-13 win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday, Cable and his team were like a boxer who called the round and then delivered.

“Identity” was the word of the week. Pick a Raider, any Raider, and it came up. The Raiders would get back to running the ball. As for that stout Chargers run defense, and the fact that the Raiders had only 70 yards in their previous two games?

Didn’t matter.

The Raiders would run, or they would be done.

San Diego has by now removed those powder blue uniforms, adorned by cleat marks and grass stains. The Raiders offensive line served up more pancakes than an all-you-can-eat breakfast. When it was all over, the Raiders had run the ball 52 times, gained 251 yards and had three rushing touchdowns.

Darren McFadden was back on track with 19 carries for 97 yards and a game-clinching 7-yard run where he lowered his shoulder and brutalized Eric Weddle to get into the end zone.

Michael Bush contributed 23 carries for 95 yards, and his 7-yard scoring run in the first half was equally impressive in that he broke three tackles to make it into the end zone. Quarterback Jason Campbell had an artful 37 yards on seven carries, faking the entire San Diego defense with a play-fake on fourth-and-1 from the 9 and running all by himself into the end zone to his left. Even at that point, on its first possession, Oakland had been hammering at the Chargers with enough success that defenders were hopelessly biting on the run.

The Raiders ran for 111 yards on 25 carries in the first half while taking a 21-3 lead. They ran 27 times for 140 yards in the second half while maintaining it.

Only the week before, McFadden’s first two rushes lost three yards each, the Raiders lost yardage on five of 16 attempts and were held for no gain on two others.

Against San Diego, on the road, against a statistically superior run defense, the Raiders (excluding a kneel-down) didn’t lose yardage until the fourth quarter when Bush was hit for a 3-yard loss on the 38th rushing play. Of Oakland’s 52 carries, 45 were for positive yardage, four were for no gain, one was for the 3-yard loss and two were kneel-downs.

“Our main focus today was to get positive yards on first and second down and create the opportunity on third down to have the opportunity to make the first down,” Campbell said.

The Raiders ran a couple of reverses and no Wildcat. No spread option, either. Just a lot of basic meat-and-potatoes running plays which kept them in the thick of the AFC West race at 4-0.

“There really wasn’t any trickery,” Cable said.

Everything the Raiders did in this game was in large part due to their ability to control the game with the run.

“We told ourselves all week we wanted to stick with the run, whether it was working or not,” McFadden told reporters afterward. “We feel like we got back to our identity today. We wanted to run the ball and we did a great job with it.”

The early muffed punt return by Darren Sproles got things rolling, but Oakland started quickly with a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Miami and it meant little in the final result.

As good as Campbell is in terms of play-fakes, neither the touchdown run nor the 37-yard camera-fooling pass to Louis Murphy are possible without a defense that has been kicked repeatedly in the teeth.

Running not only helped Campbell with his efficiency and effectiveness, but it kept a defense fresh enough to choke off the Chargers running game and harass Philip Rivers (23-for-39, 280 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) into an erratic performance.

“A tremendous football game by the Raiders,” Cable said. “Getting back to our identity, getting back to what we do best, and that’s play hard on defense, battle them in the kicking game and run the football . . . it’s a great job of pulling together and gettinb back to what I think we are.”

More news, notes and observations:

— The Raiders stumbled a bit in the third quarter and lost a pair of scoring opportunities to penalties (unnecessary roughness on Langston Walker, holding on Samson Satele), but generally maintained control of the game throughout. It didn’t have the same shock value of the explosion in Denver, but it came against a better team, at a place where the Raiders hadn’t won since 2002, in a game they absolutely had to have. The Raiders hadn’t swept the Chargers since 2001.

“They have been the big dogs for as long as I’ve been in the league,” defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. “To come down there and beat them, to sweep them _ beat them at home and then come here and prove it wasn’t a fluke _ that says a lot right there.”

In short, it was the most noteworthy Raiders performance since Jan. 19, 2003, the day they beat Tennessee in the AFC championship game to go to the Super Bowl.

— Cable did just about everything right in this one, converting fourth-and-1 plays after the early turnovers, one on the 9-yard scoring run by Campbell, with Campbell also getting the first down on the second fourth-and-1 by following Satele for a 3-yard gain up the middle.

The end result justified his decision to kneel on the ball at the end of the half even though he had a time out left, 27 seconds to play and about 20 yards to go for a long-distance Sebastian Janikowski field goal attempt.

In the second half, Cable burned the Raiders final time out on an Antonio Gates reception after an 18-yard gain to the Chargers 43-yard line and 3:22 to play. San Diego trailed 28-13, but two touchdowns an extra-point and a two-point conversion could have tied the score in the extreme. The fact that the Raiders lost the challenge wasn’t the point. It stopped San Diego’s momentum and Rivers was incomplete on his next four passes.

— Rolando McClain blew up Sproles on a short pass over the middle, a costly 7-yard gain in that the Chargers lost one of their best offensive players with a concussion. There’s already a lot of “helmet-to-helmet” conjecture, but officials ruled it a catch-and-run (Sproles was not defenseless) and it seemed more like McClain got him with his shoulder not his head, although some of the Chargers players begged to differ.

McClain finished with seven tackles, and apparently his “arthritis,” according to the CBS broadcast crew, has been re-diagnosed as “tendinitis.”

— Instead of looking rattled and confused when faced with poor down and distance, Campbell was relaxed and in control. He completed 10 of 16 passes for 117 yards, a 12-yard touchdown to Jacoby Ford and no interceptions.

“Over the last two weeks, we’ve been in third and long situations and it’s been hard for us to stay on the field when you have to convert third and nine-plus all the time,” Campbell said. “Everything is predicated off our run game. We really just got back to the basics and guys did a good job coming off the ball today.”

Of his 37 yards rushing, Campbell credited the inspiration of a certain Heisman Trophy winner-to-be that attends his alma mater.

“Watching Cam Newton, I had to go back to my Auburn days and make some plays with my feet,” Campbell said.

It was evident Campbell played better with Gradkowski out of the picture.

“Today there was really a calmness about him,” Cable said. “I’ve felt for about three days now that he was confident and ready to go. He just did what you asked him to do.”

— San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers never got into a steady rhythm as Oakland stopped the run and applied mostly natural pressure with a blitz here and there.

“Even if we didn’t get sacks we had to hurry him,” defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. “We had to make him feel jittery in the pocket.”

— Cable said no Raiders failed to finish the game due to injury. Chaz Schilens saw limited action but didn’t catch a pass.

— Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey still hasn’t caught a pass since Oct. 31 (he wasn’t even targeted against San Diego), but his rub-off screen enabled Ford to get free for a 12-yard touchdown pass and he ran 14 yards with a reverse.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • J Hill

    The key to us having a successful passing game is not being predictable. Hue needs to understand the chess game of the passing game as well as he did the running game yesterday.

    Where is Bush and DMac on the field together in the passing game? DMac motioning to the slot instead of Reece?

    How about Ford on some short crossing routes? Some of the routes Miller runs?

    There are only so many times that screen to Reece is going to work. Or that post to Ford.


  • Raccoon, I think the Raiders are playing the NFC North next year.

  • aig-raiders

    With this ground game and Dline, we just need a QB at the same level of Trent Dilfer and we’re playoff bound. Just pound them to submission and use the QB’s mobility to keep the drives going.

  • J Hill

    Look for the Raiders to sign Vincent Jackson and Haynesworth this offseason.

  • Did Brien leave? Or is he still here venting about how he’s having trouble breaking hoes?

    You know, Brien, it’s been said that every woman has one guy in her life that she would do anything for. She would cook, clean, suck his toes. He doesn’t even have to call her. She calls him to check in every hour, to see if he wants her to come through. She would kill for him.

    If you’re not that guy, Brien, refer to what Short said in Pimpology.

    Basically, your rant about women has been cried for years. Decades. Centuries. You can point to any time and era, and you’ll find men complaining about the independence women had. It’s not an excuse. Some guys still have it. They know just what makes a woman melt, and know how to get a woman to do absolutely anything for them. Even today. So, like Short said, if you just can’t pimp, and the hoes are treating you like a simp, go to the store and buy some toys. Or some Raider tickets. Cause you can’t play this game.

    Or, just don’t even try to pimp and be a good guy. But you’re too much of a wannabe for that. You’ll always try to be the man. And the end result will be occasional success, but most of all failure, and we’ll be entertained when you complain about it.

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    905.aig-raiders Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 12:47 pm
    With this ground game and Dline, we just need a QB at the same level of Trent Dilfer and we’re playoff bound. Just pound them to submission and use the QB’s mobility to keep the drives going.


    I do not like Cambpell, but he is better than Dillweed.

  • SilverNBlackPA

    A.B. Paine III Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    Raccoon, I think the Raiders are playing the NFC North next year.


    Yep. NFC North and AFC East, I believe.

  • The Raiders are playing the NFLPA next year, and no one else. And they’re going to lose.

  • Yeh, that’s it, guys. Campbell is like Dilfer, and we’re like the 2000 Ravens. This is the new rationale. Because of course our defense is a mirror image of what the 2000 Ravens were.

  • Hoping the Raiders come to Chicago next year. I also want to make a trip out to Oakland for a game. My sister lives there.

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    Don’t be a trick. If she’s poor, if she’s rich,
    If your game is soft or hard,
    It shouldn’t take long to break the broad.
    Lesson 4:
    Keep ya ho. It’s the most important thing to know.
    ‘Cause I pimp or die. I’m like the Mack:
    riding around Oakland in a Cadillac.
    But on the other hand, if you can’t pimp
    And the hos keep treating you like a simp,
    I don’t know what to say about you boys.
    You better go to the store and buy some toys.
    ‘Cause you can’t play this game.

  • Wow, what a coincidence. MR and A.B. Paine return to the blog at the same time. It’s like they are the same person.

  • J Hill

    Campbell is going to be our QB for the a pretty long time. The guy is winning games and the owner likes him.

    It is what it is.

    Hue can make it so much easier for JC and our WRs. Find a matchup that favors us and go to it. Find a way to get Ford matched up one on one against a nickle corner. Find a way to get DMac matched up one on one with a S or LB. Find a way to get DHB the ball quickly and let him run with it.

    Win the chess game Hue!

  • morilla

    What’s with this talk of Palmer possibly coming to Oakland on ESPN.

  • Dirtiest Raccoon
  • # morilla Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    What’s with this talk of Palmer possibly coming to Oakland on ESPN.


    Al thinks HE’S actually the next Jim Plunkett. Sorry, Campbell.

  • DKnight007

    Would rather the team stick with JC ahead of Palmer at this point.

    Palmer has regressed badly.

  • J Hill

    One of you ESPN Insiders paste the snipet for us out of the rumor mill.

  • Dirtiest Raccoon


    No one happier than Mitchell for that hit!

  • DKnight007

    906.J Hill Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 12:48 pm
    Look for the Raiders to sign Vincent Jackson and Haynesworth this offseason.

    V Jack yes please…..Fat Albert not so much….unless they can get him at a bargain deal.

  • J Hill

    Palmer has Benson, TO, 85, a young stud TE ….

    and 2 wins, lol.

    Let’s upgrade the Oline and Dline in the draft, sign Vincent Jackson and Haynesworth, and stick with Campbell.

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    Yes to V Jackson!

    Why to Fat mouth Albert? This D-line can cet it done without a pile of dog $hit like him.

    We will need another John Henderson like cat though. And a back up penatrating DT guy.

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    922.DKnight007 Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 1:06 pm
    906.J Hill Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 12:48 pm
    Look for the Raiders to sign Vincent Jackson and Haynesworth this offseason.

    V Jack yes please…..Fat Albert not so much….unless they can get him at a bargain deal.


    If you sign this pig cheap, he gonna play cheap!

    Well cheaper that he is now. and he is getting PAID!

  • Don’t you guys see what’s happening? It’s like a kid wants a toy. Parents buy him the toy, then when they’re driving home, he sees another toy through a store window that he wants. When we get old, we revert to children again. Al’s 80. And he’s proven time and time again he’s not all there. He wanted Campbell because Campbell’s the next Plunkett. Now he thinks Palmer it the next Plunkett.

  • RaiderRockstar

    A woman, married three times, walked into a bridal shop one day and told the sales clerk that she was looking for a wedding gown for her fourth wedding.

    “Of course, madam,” replied the sales clerk, “exactly what type and color are you looking for?”

    The bride to be said: “A long frilly white dress with a veil.”

    The sales clerk hesitated a bit, then said, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but gowns of that nature are considered more appropriate for brides who are being married the first time – for those who are a bit more innocent, if you know what I mean? Perhaps ivory or sky blue would be nice?”

    “Well,” replied the customer, a little peeved at the clerk’s directness, “I can assure you that a white gown would be quite appropriate. Believe it or not, despite all my marriages, I remain as innocent as a first time bride.

    You see, my first husband was so excited about our wedding, he died as we were checking into our hotel. My second husband and I got into such a terrible fight in the limo on our way to our honeymoon that we had that wedding annulled immediately and never spoke to each other again.”

    “What about your third husband?” asked the sales clerk.

    “That one was a Democrat,” said the woman, “and every night for four years, he just sat on the edge of the bed and told me how good it was going to be, but nothing ever happened.”

  • JHEMP50

    LMAO! Good one RR-

    …but if the third husband had been a republican, she would have divorced him because he was hookin up with dudes in airport bathrooms! 😀

  • RaiderRockstar

    I’d sign Haynesworth. Doubt he clears waivers though.


    He’ll be looking for a team that runs a 4-3 Defense with a owner that loves to throw money around

    Welcome to Oakland!

  • # JHEMP50 Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    LMAO! Good one RR-

    …but if the third husband had been a republican, she would have divorced him because he was hookin up with dudes in airport bathrooms! 😀


    Direct hit. Grey coat down.

  • Al thinks Palmer is the next Jay Schroeder.

  • Al thinks Palmer is the next Vinny Ferigamo

  • RaiderRockstar

    Al thinks Palmer is the next Jay Schroeder


    we all do!

  • Plunketthead

    So how do we beat Jax?
    Same way we dismantled the Chokers
    Run the ball down their throats and dont stop running the ball. Bush & Mac are healthy and thats bad news for anyone left on our schedule.

    Garrad is no Rivers. We can stop his passing.
    We just have to stop the mighty midgit.
    This is the week we get that travel back east for an crappy early game.

    TC will have the troops fired up and we will kick the crap out of Jax

    Raiders 45
    Jackoffs 13

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post!

  • The Bengals should replace Palmer with JaMarcus.

  • JLofty

    Palmer can play. Plus he’s from USC. Al can’t resist.

  • Plunketthead

    With Hendu healthy we will not have any problems with Jax, let alone the colts, mules or squaws.

    10 – 6
    Playoff game at home, probaly play the best wild card team


  • BSJ….

    Did you see that horrible snap Condo made on the one punt?

    I swear Lechner actually had to reach maybe three inches above his shoulder to catch the ball.

    How dare he make shane work that hard…

  • McRaider5150

    HairyBush Says:

    McRaider5150 Says:
    HairyBush Says:

    -Will Campbell do what he has done all season- Be good one game than an absolute mess the next?

    he actually had three good games in a row before pit game.
    Just because the Raiders won 3 in a row doesn’t mean Campbell was the reason.

    Just go back and look at the stat sheets, since stats is all people want to grad campbell on. Wins don’t see to matter.

  • djohnnyg

    7.No Mas Diamante Says:
    December 5th, 2010 at 7:28 pm
    So where are all the nay sayers now? You know, the ones who “guarnteed” a loss… DJJonnyJerkOff, Kruel Smell and the others? Basically admitting they are not fans of this team…

    I’m right here azz face.

  • BoJackson

    Jerry: The Jacoby Ford TD was 2 yards, not 12 yards. 12 is Jacoby’s number, not the yardage on his TD.