The story of the Chargers’ less-than-thrilling 22-14 win over Oakland was the Raiders’ rudderless offense and shabby special teams play. Quarterback Carson Palmer was without Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore, so it was no surprise that there were stretches when star running back Darren McFadden looked like the only option for Palmer.
McFadden finished with 13 receptions for 86 yards through the air, but since the Raiders’ veteran starting signal-caller didn’t have much to work with downfield, San Diego stacked the line of scrimmage without fear of consequence on defense.
On the ground, McFadden gained just 32 yards on 15 carries and Mike Goodson only toted the rock twice for 13 yards.
However, that might have been the least of the team’s concerns in this contest. While the Chargers’ woes were practically off-the-charts last year on special teams, the poor play by the Raiders’ punt team stole the show in the second half.
After long-snapper Jon Condo left the game with a head injury, Travis Goethel stepped in and fired two ground ball snaps on the infield section of the field, which lead to supreme field position for San Diego. And an on-target snap precipitated a blocked punt.
Chargers’ star signal-caller Philip Rivers and co. certainly capitalized on Oakland’s mishaps, but this was far from a great game by either team. The Raiders held the Chargers to just 32 rushing yards and Rivers completed 24 of 33 passes for just 231 yards.
There were still some solid individual performances, though. Tight end Antonio Gates had two drops, including one in the end zone, though he did look revitalized as expected and had no problem creating separation.
Chargers’ pass-rusher Shaun Phillips also had a strong showing, racking up two sacks on Monday evening.
Palmer, like Rivers, didn’t blow anyone away with his performance, but he did finish with nearly 300 yards and no interceptions and allowed McFadden to set a new franchise record for the most receptions by a running back in a single game.
In Week 2, the Raiders will travel to South Beach to take on Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins at 1:00 p.m. ET and San Diego will host Jake Locker and the Tennessee Titans at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 16.