|ProfessionalRaiders 34 Chargers 31 (OT) — The Chargers were unable to hold a 31-17 fourth quarter lead and fell to the host Raiders in overtime Sunday, 34-31. K Sebastien Janikowski hit a 46-yard FG for the winning points nearly 10 minutes into the extra period to drop the Bolts to 0-4.
The Chargers built their two touchdown cushion on their best drive of the season, trying to add to a 24-17 lead with pressure building late in the game. Instead of folding, they scored on a 7-play, 66-yard drive that included a 37-yard completion to Dondre Gilliam (just elevated from the practice squad this week), who was left wide open by blown coverage on 3rd & 11. FB Lorenzo Neal scampered in nearly untouched from three yards out for the score with just under six minutes remaining in the game.
The turnaround happened quickly. After getting sacked, Raiders QB Rich Gannon hit WR Jerry Rice for 16 yards and TE Doug Jolley for 18. Then he found WR Alvis Whitted for a 36-yard TD pass — all in just a minute and 21 seconds.
Rookie Andew Pinnock was called for holding on the kick return, so the Chargers started their ensuing possession at their own 10, but went three-and-out.
Gannon came right back with completions of 22 and 14 yards to Rice before RB Charlie Garner tied the game on a 24-yard run with 1:24 remaining.
The Chargers won the toss for OT and took the ball, which is often all it takes to win in sudden death, but the Bolts could do little in two possessions. The second time the Raiders got the ball, Gannon completed 4-5 passes to set up the winning FG.
- That two-TD lead wasn’t the only time the Chargers were up big. Behind consistant long gains by RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who finished with 187 yards on 28 carries, the Bolts went up 24-14 after 3 quarters. The Chargers first score, which tied the contest at 7, came on a 21-yard flea flicker from Tomlinson to QB Drew Brees.
- Big and bad moment: Right before Janikowski kicked a FG to pull the Raiders to that 24-17 score with 9:32 left in the fourth quarter, the Chargers had to call a time out because they didn’t have the right number of players on the field. Once the Raiders tied the game, Brees hit 4-5 passes himself to get down to the Raiders 32-yard line, but with only one timeout on the drive, there wasn’t enough time to set up a FG for time ran out.
- Gannon threw for 348 yards in his biggest game of the season.
- Stephen Alexander who? Antonio Gates and Justine Peelle combined for 5 receptions and a TD. But the depleted WR corps managed just two catches, one each by Kassim Osgood and Eric Parker.
- Tomlinson had just a bit over 40 yards in the second half. The Raiders apparently changed up their defense a little bit to contain him, with LB Travian Smith making a number of big plays on him. With the run game getting shut down, the play-calling went to the pass, with some success, but not a lot.
- The effort by the short-handed Chargers was tremendous, but the young defense really broke down in the second half. The Raiders really didn’t look very good until the last five minutes.
- The Chargers head to Jacksonville next week and then have a bye.