San Diego Chargers-Oakland Raiders: Emotions Dominated, Not the Raiders

Ian PhilipAnalyst IIISeptember 16, 2009

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 28:  Kicker Nate Kaeding #10 of the San Diego Chargers kicks a 28 yard field goal against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter of the NFL game at Qualcomm Stadium on December 28, 2008 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

You're the typical myopic douche Charger fan. It was a good game, the Raiders clearly dominated most of the game and gave it away on stupid plays. Chargers played a smarter fourth quarter...but to say they dominated or to say it was the same as last year is just about as dumb as saying LT is still the best back in the league.

-Barnavicious X

Wow. Have you ever heard a big, tough Raider fan call someone a douche? You can skip ahead to 3:40 of the video for my lighthearted response to that.

Right away, you’ll see that Barney is putting words in my mouth, because this is what he is responding to:

The Raiders only dominated the first quarter and then couldn't get it going after that. The Raiders had about 2/3 of their rushing yards in the first quarter.

San Diego evenly played (if not outplayed) the Raiders for the last three quarters - they certainly outscored the Raiders. 24-13...

The Oakland Raiders dominated one and a half quarters of play. No more.

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The San Diego Chargers did not dominate the Raiders, nor did I say they did.

However, some people got caught up in the Raiders wave of emotion (Steve Young anybody?) and could not see that the Chargers were clearly out of their funk from the middle of the second quarter on.

I can not sit here and just bash Raider fans, because some Charger fans are guilty of getting too emotional (Nick Canepa anyone?) about the first quarter and a half as well.

Allow me to give you the history which led to my belief that the Chargers would likely win the game from about the middle of the second quarter on. 

Back in 1998 and 1999, the only thing holding the Raiders back from the AFC West title was the kicking game.

The Raiders drafted kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first round and I applauded the pick. Then they drafted punter Shane Lechler in the fifth round, I said, "oh, these guys are serious."

That is because Oakland was about to complete a team that would consistently win the field position battle and stop missing easy field goals to lose close games.

What was the result?

Oakland won the AFC West in 2000, 2001, and 2002, while ranking higher in points scored than yards gained two out of three of those seasons. The Raiders also finished in the top five in scoring all three years. This was a feat that had not been accomplished by the Raiders since 1983, and hasn’t been accomplished by them since.

The effectiveness of the great Raiders offense and aggressive defense was compounded by the fact that they usually would win the field position battle with Lechler and would usually capitalize on scoring opportunities with Janikowski.

The only thing derailing their dominance was the fact that they built their team with veterans who got old in a hurry.

A few years later the Chargers did the exact same thing by drafting kicker Nate Kaeding in the third round and stealing punter Mike Scifres in the fifth round.

The Chargers have since finished as a top five scoring team from 2004 through 2009 while winning the AFC West four times. The Chargers only ranked higher than tenth in yards gained once, easily leading the league in scoring in 2006.

Last season, the Chargers finished eleventh in yards gained, but second in points scored.

During the Bolts’ five year run of AFC West dominance they’ve scored 27.5 points per game, not by running up 400 yards of offense per game, but by playing on the other guy’s side of the field.

That the Chargers usually win, or at least don’t lose, the turnover battle doesn’t hurt their quest for field position dominance either.

In a nutshell, go back and look at the last six Charger/Colt match ups–of which the Chargers have won four. The Colts have a huge edge in yards gained, but have repeatedly lost the field position battle.

The history lesson is over.

By the middle of the second quarter, Oakland was no longer winning the field position battle. Their dominant running game was no longer getting anywhere near 8 yards per carry.

As soon as Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell started throwing the ball the Chargers picked it off, so the Raiders running game was their key to victory.

Oakland lost the keys at some point during the second quarter.

While Barnavicious X was on his 12th beer, listening to every other word out of Steve Young’s mouth and believing it; those in the know were watching the Raiders go 3-and-out three times in a row, thoroughly losing the field position battle in the process.

I don’t know that that Raiders crossed the 50 yard line more than two times through the entire second half, but the emotional inspiration of the Raiders defensive line kept the Raider Nation blinded by the ecstasy of seeing “the great” Philip Rivers rendered mostly ineffective through three quarters–same as last season.

Lipstick was promptly applied to the pig when Russell’s desperation heave on 4th-and-14 came from 57 yards away–on Oakland’s side of the field. That was an inspirational moment that may still lead to a magical season, but not at the Chargers’ expense.

JT the Brick always used the words “passion and energy” to describe the Raider Nation. That is true.

Friends it was obvious that the Raiders defense and the Raider Nation were emotionally dominant throughout the game. Fundamentally, however, the Chargers had the Raiders on their heels from the second quarter on and the “Nation” didn’t even realize it until there were just 18 seconds left in the game.

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