Chargers rally past Raiders 31-28
Oct. 13, 2014
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — It took a couple of big plays from a pair of rookies for the San Diego Chargers to hold off the winless Oakland Raiders.
Branden Oliver scored on a 1-yard run with 1:56 to play and Jason Verrett sealed San Diego's 31-28 win Sunday with an acrobatic interception that spoiled interim coach Tony Sparano's debut with Oakland.
"When it came down to it, to crunch time, both sides stepped up and made plays to win it," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "I just think it was big for our team to win this way."
Rivers threw three touchdown passes and engineered the winning drive to give San Diego (5-1) its fifth straight win and send Oakland (0-5) to its 11th straight loss, matching the team's longest losing streak since 1962.
Rookie Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes for the Raiders. His last scoring play, a 6-yarder to Andre Holmes with 10:01 left, gave Oakland a 28-21 lead.
But Rivers answered with a pair of scoring drives and Carr was intercepted by Verrett with 1:13 to play.
"It's a surreal moment, man," said Verrett, who grew up cheering for the Raiders in the Bay Area and has a brother who works for the team. "That's all I can say. I'm blessed. Just thankful I could make the play."
Carr took a deep shot for Brice Butler with the Raiders facing second-and-1 from the San Diego 45, needing just a few more yards to get into range for a potential tying field goal.
Carr said he didn't regret the decision to take a deep shot.
"He made a great play," Carr said. "Brice went up, he had it and the guy made a great play. Those things are going to happen. Yeah, it hurts. It hurts because that's the way it ended."
Oliver, an undrafted rookie out of Buffalo, ran for 101 yards to complement another strong performance by Rivers, who threw for 313 yards and posted a 120 passer rating for a record fifth straight game.
Carr threw for 283 yards in his best game of his rookie season and could have had a lot more if not for several drops by his receivers.
His best throw might have been his last TD, when he rolled to his right and patiently waited for Holmes to break open in the back of the end zone.
But it wasn't enough to give the Raiders the win.
"We have to be in these kinds of football games," Sparano said. "We have to win one of these types of football games and that's how you get this thing turned around."
Rivers took over after that, leading San Diego on a pair of scoring drives starting with a 30-yard field goal by Nick Novak.
After the Raiders went three-and-out for the second time all game, Rivers got the ball at the Oakland 39 with 4:43 to go and calmly led the Chargers downfield to set up Oliver's winning run.
"I'm the type of guy that, if you keep giving me the ball, I feel like I get stronger as the game goes," Oliver said.
Sparano talked this week after replacing the fired Dennis Allen of ending a pattern of "Oakland beating Oakland," and the Raiders used San Diego's mistakes to take the lead in the third quarter.
The Chargers committed three penalties on one drive, including a hold on Ladarius Green that negated Novak's 54-yard field goal.
Instead of punting on fourth-and-35, up back Eric Weddle decided to try a fake but threw an incompletion intended for Seyi Ajirotutu.
Oakland took advantage of the good field position to take the lead on Carr's 47-yard TD pass to Butler that put the Raiders up 21-14 for their first second-half lead since last Thanksgiving in Dallas.
Rivers answered with a 1-yarder to Antonio Gates for his third TD pass late in the third, setting the stage for the dramatic fourth quarter.
Carr threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Holmes in the opening minute and he and Rivers each had two scoring throws to send the game to halftime tied at 14.
Oakland missed a chance for a halftime lead when Sebastian Janikowski was wide left on a 53-yard field goal try on the final play.
NOTES: Carr's first TD pass to Holmes was the longest scoring throw for the Raiders since JaMarcus Russell and Zach Miller connected on an 86-yarder on Oct. 10, 2009. ... Rivers became the fifth QB to throw for 4,000 yards in his career against the Raiders, joining John Elway, Dan Fouts, John Hadl and Dave Kreig.
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