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Oakland Raiders Torpedo San Diego Chargers in Second Half: Down Comes the Avatar

SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 19:  Linebacker Shawne Merriman #56 of the San Diego Chargers waits on the line of scrimmage against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium on September 19, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 38-13.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Ian PhilipAnalyst IIIOctober 11, 2010

I had a hearty laugh or thirty with (at) my beloved Raider fans over the "Shawne Merriman-Broom-Over-Raiders Logo" avatar I've had up on my profile for years. I promised Barnavicious X that I would take it down if/when the Raiders finally beat the Chargers. I'll leave it up for a week so you can all laugh, then I'll replace it next week.

The Chargers broke down in all areas last week, and the Raiders took full advantage like they should have. The Chargers have been beating the Raiders in the same fashion for at least the last four seasons.

The Chargers offense turned the ball over in the red zone twice and gave up a fumble return for a touchdown.

The Chargers defense played soft in the second half, then watched from the sidelines as the Raiders had the nerve to challenge the league's fiercest offense (by far) with an all out blitz on every play. Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, LaDainian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Drew Brees, Reche Caldwell, the City of Oakland, Bobby Ross, the Raider Nation and I were all surprised by the gumption of the defensive play-calling. Welcome back to the NFL, Raider defense!

When the Chargers finally did beat the blitz, the Chargers most decorated player, Gates, was called for holding, which thwarted an almost certain win as San Diego was knocked out of field goal range.  This allowed the Raider defense to force a fumble on an otherwise unnecessary passing play and take it to the house.

The Chargers special teams—what can you say? One of the best offenses ever seen in San Diego is countered by the worst special teams unit ever seen in the NFL or NCAA.

In the Chargers' three road games (all losses), the Chargers have given up:

  • Three blocked punts, with one returned for a touchdown and the another for a safety.
  • Six returns touchdown returns, including two punt returns, two fumble returns and two kick returns.
  • Four red zone turnovers.
  • Too many untimely penalties to count, including Antonio Gates' holding penalty which essentially cost San Diego the game. 

Someone please let me know if there has ever been a run of ineptitude near that level in a three-road-game stretch in the long and storied history of the NFL. 

So this is the fourth straight year the Chargers have started out with a 2-3 record, but this year the tough games start later in the season, and the rest of the AFC West has a 2-3 record or better. This is shaping up to be a fun year, and I can't wait for the results.

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