Week 1 Game Recap: San Diego Chargers 27, Oakland Raiders 0
What you need to know
In case there was any doubt, the Philip Rivers led Chargers are still LaDainian Tomlinsonís team. Tomlinson touched the ball on 11 of the Chargersí 14 first quarter offensive plays and then scored on a high jump over the line of scrimmage from half a yard out on the first play of the second quarter. The Raidersí defense made some half time adjustments and limited Tomlinson to only 30 additional yards on 15 carries in the second half, but the damage had already been done.
Philip Rivers managed a game in which his services were rarely needed. He attempted only 11 passes on the day, completing eight of them for a paltry 108 yards and a lone touchdown to tight end Antonio Gates. His 38 yard laser to Eric Parker in the third quarter will likely make the highlight reel as he found Parker in stride, in traffic with a pass rush in his face. His only two red zone pass attempts went to his two tight ends, Gates and Brandon Manumaleuna.
LB Shawne Merriman and the Chargersí defense dominated the Raidersí offense in every facet of this game. The Chargers recorded a total of nine sacks, three of which were credited to last yearís defensive rookie of the year Merriman. QB Aaron Brooks had little time to breathe, let alone make the five and seven step drops that he continued to attempt throughout the game. As a direct result, Oakland found themselves in third and double digit yards on seven occasions and failed to convert a single one.
The Raidersí offense with Aaron Brooks under center sputtered miserably through the first three quarters of play, gaining only 115 yards of total offense and never making it deeper than 17 yards into Chargersí territory. Brooks was under immediate pressure every time he dropped back to pass and suffered four first half sacks. While Shawne Merriman and the Chargersí defense deserve loads of credit, Oaklandís offensive line is a shambles. Brooks finished the game with more sacks (seven) than completed passes (six) and was replaced by Andrew Walter in the fourth quarter.
Randy Moss wasnít given many opportunities to contribute in this game, but all appearances seem to indicate he may have reached a maturity milestone. He was shown on camera offering encouraging words to his frustrated offense on the sidelines and sharing calm conversation with HC Art Shell. Moss also turned a short screen play into a 20 yard gain, but was flagged 15 yards for taunting after the play when he flipped the ball out of bounds in the vicinity of Chargersí kicker Nate Kaeding. It appeared to be a lame call at best and the old Randy Moss likely would have blown up, but on this occasion he seemed to take it in stride.
RB LaMont Jordan had a miserable outing under the lights in Oakland. His offense was caught repeatedly trying to play itself out of long yardage situations on second and third down. Consequently, Jordan only carried the ball ten times netting 20 yards with a long carry of four yards. Maybe Aaron Brooks and the new Raidersí coaching staff donít know that Jordan caught 70 passes for 563 yards last season, because he certainly could have contributed as a safety valve receiver for the oft hit Brooks in this game.
Oaklandís rush defense offered little to no resistance against LaDainian Tomlinson in the first half, offering up 101 yards on only 16 carries, including a 58 yard scamper. They showed signs of life, stuffing Tomlinson for two or fewer yards on ten of his 15 second half carries.
What you ought to know
|QB Philip Rivers, Pass: 8 - 11 - 108 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 2 - 0|
Rivers showed a type of poise uncharacteristic of an NFL quarterback making his first career start. Then again, with LaDainian Tomlinson sharing the backfield, he wasnít asked to do much. Rivers looked liked a seasoned veteran on a fourth quarter play when he hung in the pocket with Warren Sapp in his face and hit WR Eric Parker in full stride, double-covered, for a 38 yard gain. He hit TE Antonio Gates in the end zone two plays later. Rivers finished with a mistake-free, but paltry eight of 11 for 108 yards and a lone touchdown.
Tomlinson has averaged 122 yards per game in ten career games versus the Raiders and today was no different. He was fed the ball repeatedly by his young QB, Philip Rivers, and punished the Raiders for 101 yards and a spectacular high jump touchdown in the first half. He found a gaping hole and broke a simple off-tackle run for 58 yards in the first quarter, nearly going the distance. A revitalized Raidersí defense held him in check in the second half and, with the game out of reach; Michael Turner played most of the final quarter. Tomlinson finished with 149 combined yards on 34 total touches and a touchdown.
Turner had a few token touches as the Chargers ran out the clock leading into halftime and split carries with Tomlinson in the third and fourth quarters with the game well in the bag. He recorded 37 yards on ten carries including a one yard touchdown.
The man who clears lanes for LaDainian Tomlinson carried the ball three times for six yards.
|WR Eric Parker, Rush: 1 - 18 - 0, Rec: 1 - 38 - 0 (2 targets)|
Parker took an end around 18 yards on the second offensive play of the game. They tried it again seven plays later and it resulted in a fumble and loss of ten yards. Parkerís game highlight was his lone catch, a 38 yard laser that hit him in stride, in traffic.
McCardell tiptoed the sideline and reeled in his only target of the day for a clutch first down. It should be noted that his young QB, Philip Rivers, attempted only 11 passes in the game.
Gates was targeted only twice in the game, but caught both balls for 26 yards and a touchdown. QB Phillip Rivers only threw 11 passes in the game and his only two red zone attempts went to tight ends.
Manumaleuna was targeted on third and goal on the last play of the first quarter and came up half a yard short of six points.
Kaeding missed wide right from 42 yards in the second quarter, but was bailed out by a Raidersí penalty and hit from 29 yards three plays later. He was perfect on three extra points and his only other field goal attempt.
Raidersí QB Aaron Brooks gained more yards on three scrambles (27 yards) than starting RB LaMont Jordan gained on his ten rushing attempts (20 yards.) The Oakland offensive line looked confused and San Diegoís defensive front took full advantage of the situation.
Led by LB Shawne Merriman, the Chargersí pass defense made life miserable for Raidersí QB Aaron Brooks. Brooks had absolutely no time to do anything besides run for his life and was sacked seven times. Brooks was pulled in the fourth quarter in favor or QB Andrew Walter who fared no better. The two quarterbacks combined for a miserable eight of 19 and 96 yards passing.
|QB Aaron Brooks, Pass: 6 - 14 - 68 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 27 - 0|
Brooks saw intense pressure from Shawne Merriman and company and was hurried or sacked every time he stepped back to pass. He connected with Courtney Anderson on the first passing play of the game, but didnít complete another pass until he hit Randy Moss on consecutive screen plays with five minutes left in the first half. When he did manage to get the ball into the air, he didnít get much help as Courtney Anderson dropped three very catchable balls. Brooks showed excellent mobility on a couple of occasions scrambling for first downs, but it wasnít enough to make a game of this. He finished six of 14 for 68 yards and was sacked seven times.
|QB Andrew Walter, Pass: 2 - 5 - 28 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0|
Walter took over for the floundering Aaron Brooks in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. He had no more success than Brooks, completing two of five pass attempts for 28 yards.
The Raiders often found themselves in long yardage situations on second and third downs and consequently Jordan never managed to get the running game off the ground. Mysteriously, with Aaron Brooks taking extreme pressure from the San Diego defense, Jordan wasnít used as a safety valve receiver. Jordan finished with only 20 yards on ten carries and had no catches.
Fargas played in the fourth quarter with the game already lost. He did more than starting RB LaMont Jordan, picking up 35 yards on only five carries, but the game resembled a preseason contest by that point.
Moss, the Raidersí new offensive captain, was not targeted until late in the second quarter. He looked frustrated at times when he felt Brooks had missed him, but his QB just didnít have the time to find a receiver. Moss was seen on the sidelines trying to cheer up his downtrodden teammates and speaking calmly with HC Art shell shortly before halftime. Moss caught another short screen pass early in the third quarter and turned it into a 20 yard gain. Unfortunately, Moss was flagged 15 yards for a phantom taunting penalty. In a miserable Raidersí offensive effort, Moss was the highlight with 47 yards on four catches.
Curry started opposite Randy Moss with Jerry Porter inactive in this game. He caught only one pass for 21 yards and was targeted three times.
Whitted caught his lone target for 12 yards in the third quarter.
Anderson caught Aaron Brooksí first pass of the evening for nine yards and then proceeded to drop three catchable passes over the remainder of the game.
Williams had four targets, equaling the number of looks starting TE Courtney Anderson received, but reeled in only catch on the last play of the game.
Janikowski could have stayed home as the Raiders did not score a touchdown and didnít make it into field goal range until the final drive of the game.
The LaDainian Tomlinson show dismantled Oaklandís defensive line in the first half, gaining 101 yards including a 58 yard sprint off right tackle. HC Art Shell must have said something in the locker room at half time because his defense came out aggressively in the second half, limiting him to only 30 yards on 15 carries.
Granted, Philip Rivers only threw for 108 yards. But the fact of the matter is that should be attributed to the offensive struggles of Oakland and conservative play calling of Marty Schottenheimer, with the game well in hand, than strong defensive play on the Raiders' part. Rivers was not sacked or intercepted throughout the game.