After the teams played to a draw in the first half, the Chargers (8-7) got things going in the second half despite turning the ball over three times.
Oakland (4-11) hurt its cause with two turnovers of its own as well as being flagged for 12 penalties for 73 yards, and they’ve been one of the most penalized teams over the past few years, according to Best Tickets.
Mike Jenkins took perhaps the most costly flag for the Raiders, a 15-yard personal foul for taunting after he pushed San Diego running back Ryan Mathews out of bounds. The play kept the Chargers’ drive alive and Keenan Allen capped it six plays later by hauling in a four-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to give San Diego a 17-10 lead with five minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Chargers would never trail again.
Oakland took a 7-3 lead in the second quarter after Miles Burris recovered a fumble at the Raiders 42 when a shotgun snap bounced off Rivers when he wasn’t looking for the ball. Mychal Rivera kept the drive alive with a leaping 37-yard reception from Matt McGloin and Darren McFadden capped the drive on the next play with a five-yard touchdown run.
Jenkins picked off Rivers to end San Diego’s next possession, but the Raiders gave the ball back when McGloin threw a pick to Eric Weddle at the Oakland 20. Mathews scored a seven-yard touchdown moments later and San Diego led 10-7.
Allen fumbled at the Chargers’ 16-yard line late in the first half and Shelton Johnson recovered it for Oakland. But the Raiders couldn’t get it into the end zone and Sebastian Janikowski tied the game with a 20-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the second quarter.
For his part, Johnson wasn’t wild about the officiating, saying after the game via Twitter:
Didn’t realize we would be playing the refs too. But it is what it is. Sorry y’all we wanted that one too.. #raidernation
— Shelton Johnson (@Deucefo_24) December 23, 2013
Nick Novak kicked three field goals in the second half from 48, 28 and 33 yards out to add to his 27-yarder in the first quarter. Oakland could only manage a 42-yard field goal from Janikowski early in the fourth quarter.
McGloin was 20-for-36 for 206 yards and the one interception, while Rashad Jennings led the ground game with 45 yards on 10 carries. Oakland only ran it 17 times for just 59 yards. Rod Streater, who came into the game 154 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard receiving season, was limited to one catch for just two yards.
Rivers was 19-for-29 for 201 yards and a touchdown with an interception and Mathews ran for 99 yards and a score on 25 carries.
San Diego outgained the Raiders 344-265 and converted six of 11 third-down opportunities to just four for 13 for Oakland.
The Chargers finish the season next Sunday when they host the Chiefs (11-4) at Qualcomm Stadium. Oakland, meanwhile, heads home to play the Denver Broncos (12-3), who clinched the AFC West title with their win at Houston coupled with the Chiefs’ loss to Indianapolis on Sunday.
Kickoff at O.com Coliseum next Sunday is 1:25 p.m. Pacific.