Raiders move atop AFC West with 24-17 win in San Diego


Raiders move atop AFC West with 24-17 win in San Diego


Got tricks?: Hue Jackson is the one with the bag o' tricks, right? Well, Norv Turner went up his sleeve with a lateral on the Chargers' first punt return of the night. Patrick Crayton fielded the punt and went right before spinning and throwing to Marcus Gilchrist, the ball bouncing on the grass before he fielded it cleanly and took it 40 yards.Lil' Wiz filling big shoes: Samson Satele has a balky left knee and was on the field testing it out before the game. No dice. Rookie Stefen Wisniewski started at center and Stephon Heyer moved in at left guard. Many a hole for Michael Bush came on that side.Speaking of Michael Bush: Starting his second straight game at running back in place of Darren McFadden, Bush responded with 157 yards on 30 carries He also caught three passes for 85 yards. Sure, he had a couple of long plays that McFadden would have taken to the house but, Bush did his job.

Denarius Moore, the playmaker: The training camp revelation came to life, catching five balls for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps no reception more spectacular than the sticky-fingers, shoestring grab he made for a 46-yard pickup in the 2nd quarter. Yes, Carson Palmer likes him. A lot.Ford's foot: Jacoby Ford injured his left foot after making a 41-yard reception in the first quarter. The ball was slightly underthrown and Ford was hurt trying to spin away from Dante Hughes. He was helped off the field and carted to the locker room. He returned to the Raiders sidelines in the second half on crutches and told the NFL Network it was a sprain, and not broken. Still, you have to wonder if recently-cut receiver Derek Hagan is on speed dial. No PI?: Sure, Ford was given the Jake "The Snake" Roberts short-arm clothesline on the fake punt in the end zone. But it was not pass interference because, in a punt formation, anyone lined up wide cannot get the pass interference call because, well, it's supposed to be a punt, so the defender doesn't have to look back at a pass coming their way.No TD? Vincent Brown seemed to beat Lito Sheppard for a 33-yard TD late in the third quarter and the initial signal was touchdown. But the replay assistant overturned the call. The reasoning? Sheppard actually had his hand on the ball and was out of bounds, before Brown secured the play.Homefield advantage?: If you closed your eyes at Qualcomm Stadium and just listened to the collective reactions of the 68,109 in attendance, there were times you could not tell who was actually the home team. The Raiders travel exceptionally well to SoCal, what with their 13-year sojourn in Los Angeles. Truly, San Diego is a capital city of Raider Nation.Hue Jackson finally loses one: Hue Jackson lost his first challenge of his nascent head coaching career when he threw the red flag on a Carson Palmer fumble late in the third quarter. Replays showed that Palmer's arm was still rising, and not in a throwing motion, when he lost control of the ball.Sacks galore: The Raiders had six sacks, none more important than the one that ended the game. Tommy Kelly crushing Philip Rivers ended the game.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”