551

Raiders hang on for victory over Chiefs despite poor play

Raiders coach Hue Jackson bowed his head as Sebastian Janikowski’s 36-yard field goal sailed through the uprights and gave the Raiders a 16-13 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday.
On the one hand, Jackson no doubt was thankful that the Raiders won and kept alive their slim playoff hopes. On the other, he had to be wondering how his team won a game in which it played so poorly.
The Raiders won despite two interceptions thrown by quarterback Carson Palmer, 15 penalties for 92 yards, 435 yards allowed by the defense and a Chiefs kicker missing two field goals after making 22 straight since late September.
Jackson doesn’t have to be told that his team didn’t play playoffs-caliber football. They won because Richard Seymour blocked two field goals, including one at the end of regulation. They won because Palmer completed two deep passes, one for a touchdown to Denarius Moore, the other to Darrius Heyward-Bey two plays before Janikowski’s game-winning field goal.
Yet, Jackson has to know that such play won’t take the Raiders far in the AFC Playoffs, if even out of the first round.
At this point, Jackson and the Raiders are just thankful that they have a chance at all. The playoffs scenario is broken down in the previous post.
In short, the Raiders need to finish ahead of the Denver Broncos to win the AFC West. The Raiders host the San Diego Chargers, the Broncos host the Chiefs.
If that fails to materialize, the Raiders need to beat the Chargers and hope the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals for the Raiders to win the second wild-card berth.

PENALTIES AREN’T GOING AWAY
Jackson can cease talking about how he is going to remedy the penalties issue. That won’t happen until next season, if ever.
The Raiders committed 15 on Saturday, marking the third time they reached that figure in 15 games. They now are at 155 penalties for 1,294 yards.
The NFL records are 158 for 1,304 yards by the 1998 Chiefs. The Raiders break both records with four penalties and 11 yards against the Chargers.

GIORDANO COMES UP BIG … AGAIN
Safety Matt Giordano has four interceptions this season. All four came in Raiders victories and played pivotal roles in the outcome.
On Saturday, Giordano intercepted Kyle Orton in the end zone, snuffing out a promising Chiefs drive. In retrospect, a field goal there would have been the difference in the game.
Giordano also scooped up a loose ball after the first blocked field goal, at the end of the first half. Oh, and he finished with a game-high 10 tackles.
Not bad for a player who was cut at the end of training camp, only to be re-signed before the regular-season opener.

WIDE RECEIVERS COME UP HUGE
Palmer completed only 10 passes to his wide receivers. However, one went for a 61-yard touchdown to Moore in the third quarter to give the Raiders a 10-3 lead. Another one went for 53 yards to Heyward-Bey early in overtime, and it set up the game-winning field goal.
Overall, Palmer struggled for most of the game. He had three passes intercepted, though one was negated by a pass interfernce penalty.
One of the interceptions came as Palmer got hit on a play when he should have thrown away the ball or taken a sack. The other came when Palmer threw deep … into triple coverage.

DEFENSIVE LAPSES RESURFACE
The Chiefs needed only 1 minute, 2 seconds to march 80 yards and tie the game in the fourth quarter after the Raiders had taken a 13-6 lead. They also marched into field-goal position at the end of regulation despite taking over at their own 33-yard line, with only 16 seconds left.
The Chiefs managed 116 yards in only eight plays on those two drives. It proved reminiscent of the Lions cobbling together back-to-back touchdown drives that covered 169 yards in a little more than 4 minutes last Sunday.

JANIKOWSKI COMES UP HUGE
The value of a reliable field goal kicker showed up once again Saturday. It proved to be the difference in the game, too.
Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop had two field goals blocked, when either one could have been the difference in the game. Janikowski converted one in overtime for the victory.
Janikowski’s performance Saturday should be enough to ensure his first Pro Bowl selections, when they are announced Tuesday. His lone miss Saturday came from 58 yards out — it came up just short.

TRICK PLAY FOILED
Credit Jackson and special teams coordinator John Fassel for dialing up the right call when they had holder Shane Lechler flip the ball to Brandon Myers on a field-goal play.
Myers rambled for an apparent touchdown. But, no, the play got wiped out because the Raiders failed to get off the snap before the play clock ran out.
That has to be on Lechler, and it boggles the mind how the snap can’t be expedited as the clock nears zero. The 5-yard penalty compelled Jackson to stick with a field-goal attempt on the ensuing play. That’s when Janikowski came up 1-yard shy of converting from 58 yards.

Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

  • Share/Bookmark

Steve Corkran

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    Unless the NFL are gonna rort the application, by eliminating the Jets on SOV only, instead of BOTH the Jets and Titans.

    If that happens it would be BS, because it’s meant to eliminate two at that stage.

    This is the official process as per NFL.com quoted below…

    Three or More Clubs

    (Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-club format.)

    Ie. “the third or other clubs” part means more than one team is to be eliminated at a tiebreaking stage if more than one CAN be eliminated.

    As long as Raiders SOV remains above the other two, and none of them have actual tied SOVs, then Raiders “should” advance.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    Actually, now reading that again, I think they do only eliminate one team only at that SOV stage. Which would leave Raiders and Titans left, and therefore in a two-team tie-breaker, the Titans would eliminate the Raiders on common games.

    So okay, I can see how now…if that’s what the quoted bit means. Which it does sound like when i read it over and over.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    But it’s very ambiguous because it CAN read like more than one team can be eliminated at a tiebreak stage.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    Eff it, let’s just hope the Texans beat the Titans to be damn sure anyway.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    So it would be…

    Raiders win #6 seed from the following ties…
    Bengals-Raiders @ 9-7 (conf rec 6-6 vs 7-5)
    Bengals-Raiders-Jets @ 9-7 (conf rec eliminates bengals, raiders over jets on h2h)

    Titans win #6 seed from the following tie…
    Bengals-Raiders-Titans @ 9-7 (conf rec eliminates bengals, titans win on common games over raiders)
    Bengals-Raiders-Titans-Jets @ 9-7 (conf rec eliminates bengals, strength of victory eliminates jets, titans win common games over raiders)

    Jets win #6 seed only if Raiders lose and are not factored into the tiebreakers. (haven’t bothered to work out exactly how).

  • Chris in NY

    According to PFT:

    Raiders: Clinch the AFC West and the No. 4 seed by beating the Chargers and a Broncos loss. If the Broncos win, the Raiders can still get a wild card if they win and the Bengals lose, plus either the Titans lose or the Jets win.

    Not that PFT is the authority or anything, but that take would suggest the Raiders get in on a four-way tie or a three-way tie with the Bengals and Jets or just a two-way tie with the Bengals.

  • Chris in NY

    According to the AP:

    Oakland Raiders:
    - Clinches wild-card spot with:

    Win AND Cincinnati loss AND Tennessee loss or tie OR

    Win AND Cincinnati loss AND N.Y. Jets win

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    Yeah, looks like four-way tie, titans go thru, because when eliminating three or more teams, you can only eliminate until you have two teams left so that they then switch to a two-team tie-break process.

    But i think that’s unfair because the SOVs are all not tied themselves, more than one team CAN be eliminated.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    There might be a chance the raiders can still get thru on a four way tie…if other results happen that changes the titans SOV w-l record enough that it ends up below the Jets SOV. Making them get eliminated at the SOV stage, not the Jets.

    But i think this might be wishful thinking because if the Titans beat the Texans, that gives them a 10-6 team to add to their SOV.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    Just have to look at the Titans clinching processes (using the link Sullivan posted before)

    http://www.playoffstatus.com/nfl/titansclinch.html

    Case 3 below is a four-way tie.

    Spot #6 – Wildcard

    Case 1
    Titans beat the Texans, and
    Jets beat the Dolphins, and
    Ravens beat the Bengals, and
    Chiefs beat the Broncos

    Case 2
    Titans beat the Texans, and
    Jets beat the Dolphins, and
    Ravens beat the Bengals, and
    Chargers beat the Raiders

    Case 3
    Titans beat the Texans, and
    Dolphins beat the Jets, and
    Ravens beat the Bengals, and
    Broncos beat the Chiefs, and
    Raiders beat the Chargers

  • al d. davis

    All the endless and ridiculous prattle about reaching the playoffs: if we do make the playoffs we’ll lose the first game; there can be no doubt about that: beating the KC meant nothing except to demonstrate just how bad we are. The current state of KC is that of a drunken sailor who has lost a fight and lies semi-conscious with a broken jaw and a severe concussion. We attempt to steal his wallet and he pulls us down and beats us severely; we barely get away: that is KC. Beating them is nothing to celebrate. The reason Hue the magnificent was so relieved at the end of the game is because he knew if we lost to KC he would be fired.

    To next season: attenuate the taint of Stank AL, for whom we are eating the rotten fruit cultivated in the latter part of his reign over the team. AL was a dementia victim, had completely lost his judgment and operated in a retro-universe from 1983, date of the last Super Bowl the Raiders won. In truth Stank AL should have been run out of the league when he figured out how to make more money winning lawsuits than football games. Now it’s time to attenutate his taint; it’s time for Mark and Ms. Trask to hire the best GM on the market, blow up the team as we currently know it, with a top priority of dismissing Hue, Bres, most of the subcoaches, at least 2/3rds of the D, and at least 1/3rd of the O, at a minimun. Retain JC as QB, Bush as RB, most of the draftees from 2010, and some 2009. Definitely cut McClain, the raft of worthless CBs, most of the defensive line and Darren McFadden.

    My question is: who the hell in Boyd ? Egads to the poor guy; who would hire and play Boyd at his current sub-professional level. It’s a real mystery to me.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    Two blocked FGs vs KC, that’s more than extremely lucky. In all probability, that KC game would’ve been BACK-TO-BACK last-second capitulations (lions and Chiefs) that would’ve seen our losing streak at 5 games and knocked out of the playoffs.

    And this would’ve been DURING Palmer’s reign. Having traded two 1sts* to make a run for the division title. But we could so easily be looking at a 5 game losing streak right now. Maybe even a longer one, given how the Vikings and Bears almost beat us too. That could’ve been a 7 game losing streak since acquiring for Palmer. Or a 5 game losing streak since acquiring Palmer. Definitely a 3 game losing streak (at 7-4).

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    We really haven’t gotten what we paid for out of Palmer, what Hue ‘expected’ in having Palmer. Which is 5 lost games, 3 in a row, almost 4 in a row to go from 7-4 to 7-8 if Seymour didn’t block two FGs (which is unheard of in football history).

    Not to mention Palmer’s TD:INT ratio.

    If we’re lucky and limp into the playoffs, anything can happen, Raiders and Palmer could play lights-out and go far. But if you were looking from the outside-in on Hue, the trade, the DC, the play-calling, the roster, and the results and penalties etc, it’d be like waking up after a drunken night and realizing you took home a fat ugly girl instead of what you thought you got.

    Despite all the positivity and glass half-full aspects of this season and still having a playoff chance, the cutthroat appraisal of things is grim and a shake-up needs to happen in 2012.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    Imagine then, making the playoffs and winning thru to the Super Bowl on some miraculous streak no one can even envision happening.

    Suddenly, a shake-up wouldn’t seem necessary, but there’d still be stuff needing a shake-up.

  • sirblitzalot

    404: Not to nitpick but did anyone else get nervous when CP chucked it to DHB in OT and DHB did the old trap the ball against my pads routine? DHB has a weird catching style for an NFL rec.

    ___________________________________________
    Denarius Moore also craddled that ball like it was a new born baby! I don’t care how DHB caught that ball. I like the fact that he went down. It demonstrates that he learned from last week, when he basically lost the game when he tried to break for the endzone and Detroit knocked the ball out of his hands and kept them within striking distance. Dhb went straight to the ground and I am glad he did. Raiders Win!!

  • sirblitzalot

    Chris Johnson was the point of least resistance. Since he is gone, Sheppard came in and is doing a good job. Now route is in a major portion of big plays, usually on the toast end of most. Route knocked the ball away from Bowe on the play immediately preceded by the the Gio interception. Then his interception played a major role in this win. But Route gets paid way too much to me toasted so often. They pick on him every week because Lito is holding up his end.

  • Deja vu

    I’m just concerned with winning our game against SD. That will be the toughest challenge within itself concerning the playoff scenerios.

    Idk about anyone else, but i watched the Titans play the last few weeks and they they have to be the most boring team to watch. If they make it to the playoffs i’m sure they wouldn’t make it past the first round. C Johnson has been terrible with the exception of a few games. I hope Arian has a 200 yard game against them and their (Houston)D should be able to control the game (if they don’t rest their starters)

  • Deja vu

    What’s up with Route lately? He has his hands all up and down the WR’s way beyond the 5 yard mark like a 14 y/o boy feeling up his first hoochie.

  • Deja vu

    Tenn does not deserve to be in the playoffs imo. They have a cake schedule and have only 1 win against a playoff calibur team.

    Balt: W
    Pitt: L
    Hou: L
    ATL: L
    NO: L

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    No one could argue with that. Hopefully, the Texans sweep them and Titans deservedly miss out.

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    Maybe it’s too much rich food and booze but I’m convinced that Chucky B is,in actual fact,Santa Claus.

    Shut up Neilb I hear you say but,think ’bout it,he gives the other team so many gifts – who else could he be?

  • fingers

    Heard the guys on the NFl channel say just last night that the Networks really want Timmy Tebow and the donkeys to win the Afc west……
    I’m not suprised either…

  • fingers

    #518… Good one……

  • edward teach

    512.GG Says:
    December 26th, 2011 at 1:02 am
    Two blocked FGs vs KC, that’s more than extremely lucky. In all probability, that KC game would’ve been BACK-TO-BACK last-second capitulations (lions and Chiefs) that would’ve seen our losing streak at 5 games and knocked out of the playoffs.

    And this would’ve been DURING Palmer’s reign. Having traded two 1sts* to make a run for the division title. But we could so easily be looking at a 5 game losing streak right now. Maybe even a longer one, given how the Vikings and Bears almost beat us too. That could’ve been a 7 game losing streak since acquiring for Palmer. Or a 5 game losing streak since acquiring Palmer. Definitely a 3 game losing streak (at 7-4).

    ********************************************************

    Kansas City has a very talented and tough defense that is playing well right now. They held the Packers to 14 points, so struggling against that defense shouldn’t have been a shock to anyone. Carson Palmer is not responsible for our defense allowing the Chiefs to get into field goal range at the end of the regulation, nor is he responsible for our defense melting down against Detroit the week before. For that matter, he is not responsible for both lines getting completely dominated by the Dolphins a few weeks ago. We actually had the Lions game well in hand until Chuck B’s boys decided to ease up and let them come back and win the game.

    Has Palmer been inconsistent at times? Yes. To say that we could have lost both games “during Palmer’s reign” is intimating that he had something to do with the defense collapsing at the end of both ballgames, and that is just plain inaccurate. The defense has to make stops when the time comes to make stops; allowing Detroit and KC to go the length of the field on their final drives, two games in a row, is inexcusable and has nothing to do with Carson Palmer.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    If you hadn’t noticed tho, the offense (both QB and play-calling) has been woeful thru that stretch of games too.

    The offense hasn’t been carrying the defense, like many somehow mistakenly think. The offense and defense both sputter, play inconsistently.

  • edward teach

    I have noticed. However, in both of the last two games the Raiders have had the lead prior to their oppponent getting the ball for the last time in regulation.

    Pretty simple, really. The defense does its job, we win both games in regulation instead of losing one and having to block a second field goal just to get to overtime.

    I don’t know about you, but I was fairly confident our offense could at least get into field goal range if we got the ball to start the OT. I was CONVINCED that we would lose if KC get the ball first.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    Look, Palmer > Campbell. But…

    Do you remember the criticisms Campbell was getting for missing some downfield throws? For throwing some bad picks (vs Patriots)?

    Palmer has had enough time since signing to get football acclimated. Only last week he missed two wide-open receivers that would’ve resulted in killing off the Lions. The offense failed just as badly as the defense in that game at the end melting down.

    My point is…the defensive meltdowns at the end are just as bad as the offense melting down…all the missed throws, the glut of bad interceptions by Palmer costing us points on the board, the stream of three and outs in a offense-friendly NFL, the absolutely stupid decisions by Hue to not take the 3 points, the predictable play-calling dive-dive-slant-punt.

    Don’t forget the Bears game. Where the defense mauled the Bears, and the offense had a ton of possession but couldn’t put the Bears away. SIX field goals to Janikowski! Three of them over 50! Meaning Palmer/Hue couldn’t get us beyond their 35 on offensive drives.

    I’m intimating that Palmer and Hue have to REALLY lift their game on offense. It’s not a strength. And if we get into the playoffs, it’ll have to be functioning at top gear if we want to beat anyone.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    And before the Chiefs had that very last possession to get into FG range, the Offense had possession of the ball, and only had to get a couple first downs to end the game at 13-13 and go into OT or actually get into FG range themselves. But they couldn’t even convert, and left the Chiefs with a chance to get into FG for that last blocked FG. Which was a miracle from Seymour to save our bacon.

    And last week Palmer holding on too long, taking a sack, and DHB dropping a pass that all resulted in a 65 hail mary FG attempt, the offense melted down not getting into a manageable 40-50 FG attempt.

    Everyone’s riding Bresnahan/Defense (and rightly so), it’s the most popular easiest thing to grrr at and blame. But I’m asking everyone to appreciate that…

    1) Hue Jackson is the HC, Bresnahan doesn’t freelance the play-calls, Hue oversees it, Hue and Bresnahan talk thru the game what to do, Hue can tell Bresnahan to call other things, he is also to blame, and

    2) to see that all the offensive bungles are equivalent to defensive bungles, and all the late defensive meltdowns are equivalent to late offensive meltdowns where they fail to close out games, to kill off a team, etc.

  • Deja vu

    “We’ve been working hard out on that field with each other since training camp. We’re not going to go out next week and just lay down,” Flowers said. “We’re just going to play Chiefs football and try to win us a game. We definitely want to get a win for Romeo.”

    —————————–

    Atta Boy, win one for Romeo…and Tha Raiders!!

  • edward teach

    GG,

    Your original point stated that the two game losing streak (which could have been five, or seven, somehow) happened “during Palmer’s reign”.

    What I’m trying to say is that, while Palmer has made some bad throws and some bad decisions, saying that all this has happened during his “reign” is a bit unfair. The Raiders scored 27 points against the Lions. 27 points is enough to kill them off if your defense is not collapsing down the stretch. The Raiders scored two more points against the Chiefs than the Packers did, and when Palmer left the field for the last time in regulation his team was in the lead.

    Football is the ultimate team sport. If your o-line gets dominated like they did against the Bears and the Dolphins, your offensive production is going to suffer. If your defense collapses against teams and loses leads at the end of games it’s a bit hard to blame the offense, when they left the field with the lead. Carson Palmer wasn’t here when the Bills came back and scorched our defense in the second half, and he certainly wasn’t playing defense when Denver scored 31 points in the second half on November 6th. Our offense is averaging 21.6 points per game after the first KC game. Our defense is giving up 27.

    The offense hasn’t been lights out, granted. We haven’t lost games because of our offense, though. We HAVE lost games because of our defense, however. If things are or aren’t happening under anybody’s “reign”, it’s Hue Jackson’s and Chuck Bresnehan’s, not Carson Palmer’s.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    Edward Teach…

    I mention Palmer because he leads the offense on the field, and he has had stretches of bad play himself. The glut of interceptions especially.

    He is not without blame either. He needs to dramatically lift his game, yes/no? Can’t keep excusing Palmer.

    Obviously, the intimation from me was that Palmer in hindsight hasn’t given back the value of what we gave away to get him. He hasn’t been lights out. He needed a month to acclimate etc, but in the last month we’ve gone from 7-4 to 7-7 (and very nearly 7-8, or very nearly 9-6) under him.

    It’s a team game tho, for sure. That was actually my point. Not just blaming everything on the D and Bresnahan, but acknowledging the O, Hue, and Palmer too.

  • http://ggeden.wordpress.com/ GG

    We need a new blog post to change up the topic :P

  • inonewordraider

    It’s a team game tho, for sure. That was actually my point. Not just blaming everything on the D and Bresnahan, but acknowledging the O, Hue, and Palmer too.

    ________________________
    top 10 offense both years with Hue this year D is one of the worse. Would love to see how are team does with a competent DC and would love to see how CP fares with DMAC. So if Tebow loses, might we see JC in Denver?

  • RaiderCrunch

    Not to nitpick but did anyone else get nervous when CP chucked it to DHB in OT and DHB did the old trap the ball against my pads routine? DHB has a weird catching style for an NFL rec.

    ————————————–

    What are you talking about? I get nervous on every snap, offense or defense. Even the coin toss.

  • J Hill

    Looking good for a playoff appearance.

    Just hoping we can get healthy for this stretch of games.

    Getting Taiwan Jones and Mike Huff back would be 2 HUGE additions.

  • J Hill

    Palmer!!!!

    Could you please take a page outta Glo’s book and check it down from time to time??!!??

  • J Hill

    Oh …

    And the Lakers are going to win their 6th title.

    LOVE the defense Brown is installing.

  • Just Fire Baby

    So basically we are eliminated if the Bronco’s and Bengals win right?

    I am kind of worried about that Bengals game a little. Ravens have played some bad ball from time to time.

  • oldschoolraider

    Need an update Steve. Is D-mac doing anything at all?
    He’ll need to get in some playing time against SD if he’s gonna be any use in the playoffs.

    What’s going on???

  • Just Fire Baby

    The Dubs last night looked like the Dubs.

    Terrible defensive rotations, turnovers at crucial points, and really cool jerseys.

  • J Hill

    How long before Mike Brown benches D Fisher?

    Goudelock will be starting sooner than later with Blake backing him up.

  • J Hill

    Props to Mitch Kupchak for finding gems like Goudelock, Ebanks, and Caracter. And for upgrading our frontcourt depth with McRoberts and Murphy.

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/26/even-with-a-huge-home-game-bengals-struggling-to-sell-tickets/

    Still the Bungles.They don’t deserve the chance to go to the play-offs.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Kobe’s turnovers at the end of games has to be troubling.

    He did that last year as well. Incredibly careless with the ball at the end of games.

  • J Hill

    Sorry JFB, but I’d rather have the home game against the Steelers.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Palmer has a ton of experience against either the Steelers or Ravens.

    I just think a road game against the Texans may be the easiest road playoff game in the history of the NFL.

    They just lost to the Colts for Christ Sakes!!!

  • J Hill

    Kobe is the last person you need to worry about.

    Certainly tried to do too much early in the game, but was MUCH better in the 2nd half.

    Lakers will be slightly better than .500 the first 10 games or so but will go on a BIG surge once they get Brown’s system down and that damn triangle outta their system.

    Lakers are playing defense. They held that team to under 90 pts. Never thought that could happen. Very encouraging!

  • J Hill

    I see your point and want to just falt out say your right we have a MUCH better chance of winning against the Texans.

    You know what …

    You are right.

    Especially if there is any chance in hell we get to play Denver if they happen to win too.

  • J Hill

    Roll the Texans …

    Go to Denver and ROLL the Tebows …

    Outscore the Patsies 42-41 to go to the bowl!!!!

  • qodrn1

    DETROIT — A fitting end.

    Say the Chargers were lifeless, uninspired, flat.

    That would be difficult to argue given the fact the Detroit Lions led by 24 points at halftime, the Chargers didn’t score until the third quarter and went on to lose 38-10 in a game they had to win for meaning to continue in their season.

    “It’s hard to put into words,” tight end Antonio Gates said afterward. “Disappointment is an understatement.”

    Said linebacker Takeo Spikes: “It’s very disappointing to know we had this much on the line, just as much as they did … They played better than us. They wanted it more than us. It showed out there on the field.”

    Blame the head coach, blame the defensive coordinator.

    The fact is, however, and more importantly going forward, the Chargers defense was exposed for what it is and what it doesn’t have.

    No playmakers, no answers.

    Criticizing defensive coordinator Greg Manusky might be too easy – not to mention irrelevant — even if it appeared he was once again outmaneuvered by his offensive counterpart on the other sideline. Spikes and safety Eric Weddle may or may not have been the only defenders to have showed up. Tough to tell.

    “We’d been playing pretty well,” cornerback Quentin Jammer said. “Today, we got our asses handed to us … It’s embarrassing.”

    Calling what the Chargers played Saturday a zone coverage implies there was coverage. To say they only rushed four players most of the time suggests they had a pass rush.

    The Lions’ first play was a slap in the face, the bulk of their next few dozen plays was a collective knockout punch.

    “It’s disappointing,” head coach Norv Turner said. “I expected us to play better. They have a lot of weapons … They took advantage of their weapons, spread the ball around. Their tight ends caught a lot of balls, and they made big plays up the field with their wideouts. They spread us out awfully well.

    “We felt our best chance – we’ve been rushing the passer better – was to get some pressure. We really weren’t able to get pressure on the quarterback, and when we did he did a great job moving around, buying time and finding open guys down the field.”

    The Lions came into Saturday with the league’s No.4 scoring offense and fifth-ranked passing offense. Saturday was the sixth time this season they scored 34 or more points.

    But this was something else.

    The Chargers’ pass rush was a whisper. Their coverage could not hold – not when it had to for eight seconds, almost never when it had to find a tight end in the middle of the field, rarely when Calvin Johnson was the intended target.

    Quarterback Matthew Stafford completed nine of his first 10 passes and threw for 373 yards without connecting on his only fourth-quarter attempt. Brandon Pettigrew’s nine receptions were a team record for a tight end. Johnson caught just four passes — for 102 yards and a touchdown.