Raiders run over Chargers 28-13 in San Diego


Raiders run over Chargers 28-13 in San Diego


SAN DIEGO (AP) The San Diego Chargers are mortal in December, after all.They found out at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, of all teams.Jason Campbell ran for one touchdownand threw for another, Darren McFadden ran for 97 yards and a TD, andthe Raiders took advantage of more mistakes by the Chargers to stun SanDiego 28-13 on Sunday.The loss puts a serious crimp in theplayoff hopes for the four-time defending AFC West champion Chargers(6-6), who trail the Kansas City Chiefs by two games with four to play.Oakland (6-6) revived a running game that had been stopped cold in twostraight losses, ripping through the Chargers for 251 yards. MichaelBush ran for 95 yards and a score.San Diego gained just 21 yardsrushing. Mike Tolbert, who had consecutive 100-yard games, was stuffedfor 16 yards on seven carries. Rookie Ryan Mathews didn't play,apparently still bothered by a high ankle sprain.The Raiders swept the season series for the first time since 2001.The Chargers' streak of 18 straightDecember victories - which tied an NFL record for most victories in anymonth - came to a thudding end. Their last December loss was on Dec.31, 2005. San Diego had been tied with the 1970-74 Miami Dolphins, whowon 18 straight in Novembers.The Raiders beat the Chargers 35-27at Oakland on Oct. 10 when consecutive blocked punts early in the gameled to a touchdown and a safety. That victory snapped Oakland's 13-gamelosing streak to the Chargers.The Chargers corrected their problemsduring a four-game winning streak, but then reverted to the form thatshowed during an ugly 2-5 start. San Diego had two early turnovers inthis game, leading to a 14-0 Oakland lead.Darren Sproles fumbled a punt earlyin the first quarter and Hiram Eugene recovered at the San Diego 18. Onfourth-and-1 from the 9, the Raiders fooled the Chargers with a fakehandoff to fullback Marcel Reece while Campbell ran a naked bootleg tothe left for an easy touchdown.On the next Chargers possession,Rivers overthrew Malcom Floyd and the ball went right to safety MichaelHuff, who returned it 15 yards to the San Diego 41. Campbell completedthe drive with a 4-yard TD pass to rookie Jacoby Ford in the rightcorner of the end zone for a 14-0 lead.After San Diego's Nate Kaedingkicked a 39-yard field goal, Campbell showed that the Raiders didn'tneed a turnover to score. He led an 80-yard, 11-play drive that wascapped by Bush's 7-yard TD run, when he used a spin move and a strongsecond effort to power into the end zone for a 21-3 lead. Among the bigplays on the drive, Reece hurdled safety Eric Weddle to finish a22-yard catch-and-run, Darrius Heyward-Bey had a 14-yard end-around andCampbell had a 9-yard scramble on third down for a first-and-goal fromthe 10.Campbell was back at quarterbackafter Bruce Gradkowski was hurt late in the fourth quarter of lastSunday's 33-17 loss to Miami, which led the Raiders to put him oninjured reserve, ending his season.After taking a 21-3 halftime lead,Oakland's offense stalled and the Chargers cut the gap to 21-13 on a33-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding in the third quarter and PhilipRivers' 4-yard scoring pass to wide-open Antonio Gates with 9:59 left.Campbell then led a drive capped byMcFadden's 7-yard run with 4:35 left. The highlight was Campbell's37-yard completion to Louis Murphy. McFadden carried 19 times whileBush ran 23 times.Campbell outgained the Chargers' running game all by himself, with 38 yards on six carries.Sproles sustained a concussion whenhe was knocked down by a helmet-to-helmet hit by Oakland's RolandoMcClain just before halftime. Sproles caught a pass from Rivers and wasturning to run when he was hit by McClain. The Raiders linebacker ledwith his shoulder, but the side of his helmet hit Sproles' helmet.Sproles was on the ground for a few minutes before walking off thefield.Kaeding was short on a 50-yard field goal try in the last minute of the second quarter.

Following surgery, Raiders activate former second-round pick off PUP list


Following surgery, Raiders activate former second-round pick off PUP list

Raiders defensive lineman Jihad Ward injured his foot during the team's offseason program and hasn't seen the field since. Last year's second-round pick had it surgically repaired, and missed training camp rehabiltating. 

He's finally ready to go. He passed a physical on Monday and was removed from the physically unable to perform list. The team had a walk-through on Monday. Ward should be active for Tuesday afternoon's practice, the first back at their Alameda practice facility. 

The Illinois product had 30 tackles in 13 starts last season, playing significant snaps with Mario Edwards Jr. out due to a hip injury. He'll have to compete for a spot in the rotation, even after working with the first unit during the offseason program. Rookie third-round pick Eddie Vanderdoes has played well in his absence and could be a three-down player inside. 

Ward was a raw, yet athletic talent capable of playing several techniques across the line. The teams sees great potential, though Ward must continue to develop as a player. 

In addition, the Raiders activated tight end Cooper Helfet off the non-football injury list.

Khalil Mack ready for regular season, but Raiders defense is not


Khalil Mack ready for regular season, but Raiders defense is not

OAKLAND – The Los Angeles Rams assigned two blockers to Khalil Mack, a common practice against the reigning defensive player of the year. Sometimes it works. This time it didn’t.

The Raiders edge rusher split the double team, found his target and pounced. Jared Goff stood zero chance. There was no evading this one. Mack brought last year’s No. 1 overall pick down with authority, claiming a sack that ultimately won’t count in his 2017 total.

The sacks highlighted a dominant performance that also included three quarterback pressures, four total tackles and two for a loss. All that in three series.

Mack’s clearly ready for the regular season. As a whole, the Raiders defense is not.

Saturday’s 24-21 loss to the Rams at Oakland Coliseum proved that point. A below average offense had no trouble scoring on a starting unit that looks a bit lost.

“I thought our defense was poor, in particular early when we started the game,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a postgame press conference. “We’re going to have to get a whole lot better there.”

It has to happen quickly, with the regular season bearing down and the Raiders still trying to correct the same old thing. Making proper reads and improved communication has been an emphasis this offseason as coaches work to get this defense playing better together. It’s still preseason and there’s time to teach and coach and fix problems, but the defense isn't quite right.

“I think we’ll go a long way when we clean some of those things up,” Del Rio said. “The things that we’ve talked about for too long in terms of communication errors, eye violations and things like that that just keep you from ever being really good on defense. Those just have to get cleaned up.”

Issues are present in the front seven but more obvious in the back, where explosive pass plays continue to plague the starting unit. The Raiders allowed two plays over 20 yards on the first series and six plays of 10 or more yards in three series on Saturday, when the full starting unit was active. The Rams scored 14 points – Mack’s sack squashed the lone non-scoring drive – in those three series.

Del Rio was bothered by misreads and “eye violations,” in coverage, which make things easier for an opposing offense.

“When you see them, it’s not a good thing,” Del Rio said. “Yeah, I mean it’s really simple. You don’t have your eyes where they belong and you’re playing man? You’re playing man or even in zone. If you’re not seeing what you need to see, it makes it hard.”

Fixing these problems could improve execution and make life harder on opponents. It needs to happen this summer or the Raiders will have to win a lot of shootouts.

“Obviously, I identify what the problem is,” Del Rio said. “Getting it fixed is the challenge.”