It was a tale of two halves, so to speak, but the Oakland Raiders were able to hold off a second half surge from the San Diego Chargers and walk away improved to 2-3 on the year with a 27-17 victory Sunday evening.
After being dominated in the first half, the Chargers came out firing on all cylinders in the passing game in the final 30 minutes. Philip Rivers finished the game with 411 yards and two touchdowns, but he also wound up with three interceptions on the night, including two crucial ones in the fourth quarter down the stretch. Although, only finishing with 32 yards rushing, a lot was asked of this San Diego passing game tonight, and this is something that the Chargers’ coaching staff is going to have to address.
Unquestionably, the star of the Chargers offense was rookie Keenan Allen. This young man is starting to emerge as the legitimate receiving threat he was expected to be when he was drafted in April. Allen finished the game with six catches for 115 yards and a score.
But, second half passing surge aside, the Raiders were still able to hold off and win in what was one of their most impressive overall performances in a long time.
Terrelle Pryor was terrific yet again by going 18-of-23 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s beginning to show a lot of maturation, especially with the fact that he was able to spread the ball around to eight different receivers this evening. He’s also starting to learn when to let his instincts take over at the proper times, which is crucial to the success of this team if they truly believe that Pryor is the man that can lead them back to prominence.
Enough can’t be said, though, about the improved performance of the Oakland defense. For most of the game, the Oakland defensive line was dominant, holding San Diego to those 32 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Enough also can’t be said about the showing tonight from future hall of famer, Charles Woodson, who tied an NFL record tonight with his 13th defensive touchdown following a fumble recovery, and then he would also go on to pick off Rivers in the fourth quarter.
No one is going to pencil this Raiders team in for a trip to the Super Bowl in February, but this did look like a team that’s finally beginning to turn a corner.