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.

Marshawn Lynch excellent fit for Raiders scheme, ailing Oakland fan base

Marshawn Lynch excellent fit for Raiders scheme, ailing Oakland fan base

Marshawn Lynch is a Raider. He announced that fact on Twitter in his own unique way Wednesday, completing a month-long process from initial interest to final signature.

The Raiders gave him a new contract and traded Seattle for his rights, allowing the Oakland Tech High grad and Cal alum to come out of retirement and play for his hometown team.

That’s good news for Raiders fans on several fronts. He fills an immediate need at running back created when Latavius Murray left for Minnesota.

It temporarily tempers, though certainly doesn’t extinguish, rage about the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas.

[RATTO: Here's to hoping Marshawn Lynch upstages the NFL Draft]

Owner Mark Davis hopes to move his team when a new stadium is complete in 2020. 

Lynch won't be there. Lynch won’t represent Vegas. He’s an Oakland Raider, playing for the city he champions at every turn. Lynch regularly gives back to this community and might be its most popular native son right now.

Lynch missed playing football, but he wanted to represent his hometown. That was clear in his tweet. He explained it this way: “I’m really from Oakland doe like really really really from Oakland doe…town bizness breath on me.”

He’ll celebrate joining the Raiders on Thursday with a block party and autograph signing in Oakland.

Lynch will give East Bay fans something to cheer for that won’t be shipping off to Vegas in a few years.

Nothing can cure the pain of an NFL team leaving Oakland a second time. Wins are ibuprofen, giving short-term relief to an ailing fan local base. He can certainly help the Raiders provide that.

The Silver and Black needed a big, physical primary rusher to pair with elusive, yet smaller backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.

Lynch is that guy. There’s no question he’s a football fit.

Lynch is a strong interior rusher from several different formations. He could run well behind fullback Jamize Olawale, as a lone shotgun runner or in jumbo packages with quarterback Derek Carr under center and behind a hulking Raiders offensive line.

While new offensive coordinator Todd Downing will add some wrinkles to an existing scheme, the Raiders employ a versatile system that could suit Lynch’s many strengths.

Lynch ranks among the toughest, most aggressive backs of his generation and one of the best resisting tackles.

He averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 2.8 yards after contact per rushing attempt in his career, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus.

Lynch led the NFL with 245 broken tackles between 2013 and 2016 – 56 more than the next guy -- and he didn’t even play last season, per PFF.

He led the league with an unreal 3.1 yards after per contact in 2014, his last year fully healthy. He played just eight times in 2015 due to an abdominal injury that required surgery.

Lynch is completely healthy after his year travelling the world, doing charity work and expanding his clothing line, but effectiveness is always questioned of running backs over 30. Lynch turned 31 last week. He heads into his 10th season without having been hit in a while, and many believe he can produce like few others his age have in the NFL.

He’ll take the lion’s share of carries in a three-man rotation with Richard and Washington. He reportedly gets an extra $2 million if he's just the second Raider since 2010 to reach 1,000 yards. There’s motivation to push for that and other incentives in the deal. If Lynch is in vintage Beast Mode and fans are happy, the Raiders will gladly pay the extra freight.

Here's to hoping Marshawn Lynch upstages the NFL Draft


Here's to hoping Marshawn Lynch upstages the NFL Draft

Marshawn Lynch is going to upstage the NFL Draft for a few moments by announcing his signing with the Oakland Raiders Thursday.

The problem with this is obvious. He can’t upstage it all day long.

The NFL Draft is one of those events that demeans all who come in contact with it, because it basically extols the three virtues the owners find most inspiring – dishonesty, bullying and treachery. Between everyone lying about everything they do, making players submit to the most revolting reputational indignities, and just good old-fashioned broken promises like, “If you’re there at 119, we’re taking you, oh wait, we suddenly hate you and your skill set,” the draft is largely a festival of misery.

Not universally, mind you. Some players love it, especially the ones who hit the lottery, get picked higher than they thought they would and go to the perfect team for their talents and temperaments. That’s not the usual road, but there you go.

But mostly, nah. And we’re not even getting into the cavalcade of media self-anointeds who think they know what they’re talking about but only serve to remind us that not everybody is a fun companion in a bar.

Now the disclaimer: If you like the NFL Draft, fine. Wallow in every minute of it with our blessing. It'll keep you from all level of other mischief, and it is relatively harmless fun if you can deal with the aesthetic unpleasantries to which we just referred. Just understand that you are spending 356 minutes of party prep for three days of partying and six days of cleanup. It's a hamster wheel of fun, but it is a hamster wheel.

But then there's Marshawn Lynch, who overcame being one of those draft casualties (because Buffalo didn’t work for him, and he didn’t work all that well for Buffalo, either), is coming out of retirement to be traded and then rendered a Raider in the time still allotted for them to reside in Oakland. As a distraction, this will play well enough. It sure beats DeMarcus Cousins being traded by Sacramento during the NBA All-Star Game.

I suppose this is a heart-rending tale of one man’s loyalty to his city (the right place at the right price), although there is the naggingly worrisome component that going back to football won’t be good for his overall health. It is the risk he runs, to be sure, and one can only assume that he has made a clearheaded choice, but this is not a spot that treats its recidivists well.

That’s recidivists, as in “folks who walked away happily, then found out they needed it too much for their own good.”

Frankly, there is no good reason not to want this to turn out well for Lynch (the Raiders can take of themselves with or without him, and within two years will do exactly that), but it is a case of bucking some daunting odds in what is too often a zero-sum game. That’s a level of risk that should make anyone queasy.

But it is what Marshawn Lynch wants, risks and all, and as a grown adult he should get the opportunity few are afforded – to chase and catch his dream until it stops being a dream and becomes a chore.

If it works out for the Raiders as well, fine. Lynch isn’t the one who will put them over the top in a conference dominated by three teams – New England, the Patriots and Bill Belichick – but if he finds the athletic closure he seeks, it ought to be good enough for the rest of us.

Especially if it even momentarily minimizes the rest of the hot rhetorical/gasbaggy mess that is Draft Night. If nothing else, here’s hoping Marshawn Lynch is the star of the night. That’s not the way to bet, of course, but a person can hope.