As John Madden often said when he was head coach of the Raiders, "We may not win every game but the other team is going to know they were in a football game"
San Diego looked physically manhandled for much of the game. They actually lost two starting offensive lineman to injury.
Phillip Rivers did come through in the clutch for his team but he looked embattled to that point.
In reading the San Diego media reports, the Chargers thought they should have put the Raiders away much quicker opening the game on Monday Night Football.
If not for Richard Seymour anchoring a newfound Oakland defensive front, that just might have been the case.
Mr. Seymour had two sacks in his first game as a Raider with no practices under his belt.
One sack for Greg Ellis at the opposite end of the line.
It is safe to say the upgrades at DE of those two players made all the difference for Oakland on Monday night.
Not just because of the sacks. More importantly was the impact Seymour and Ellis had in rejuvenating a dormant Raider defense.
Suddenly, the defensive line is looking like a beast if the interior of Tommy Kelly and Gerard Warren can be just as consistent in holding their ground against the run and applying pocket pressure.
Speaking of the run, the Raiders held San Diego to under 100 yards total rushing for the game. That is an improvement from the forgettable last few seasons.
The big factor in the Charger opening game loss was physical conditioning. The 4th quarter is when you need to play your best in close games. The Raider D was picked apart, especially the secondary which had played so well to that point in the game.
It was a tough loss at home. Could things have gone better?
In a nutshell, yes. A big play in the game that could have been the difference, a nice pass from Jamarcus Russell to Louis Murphy for a TD was nullified.
Instant replay clearly showed Louis Murphy’s end zone catch was bobbled and fell to the ground. The referee explained the ball was not in control of the receiver in the end zone.
Tough break but isn’t that always the case with the Raiders.