The Oakland Raiders had high hopes for their season opener at home against the San Diego..."/> The Oakland Raiders had high hopes for their season opener at home against the San Diego..."/>

Raiders Crumble in Season Opener, Fall 22-14 to Chargers


The Oakland Raiders had high hopes for their season opener at home against the San Diego Chargers. It was even aired on Monday Night Football, and the game was called by notable ESPN NFL analysts Chris “Boomer” Berman and Trent Dilfer. However, the game didn’t go as the Raiders had hoped, as they lost to the San Diego Chargers 22-14.

Perhaps the biggest story line of the game was the Raiders’ inability to execute on special teams plays. After a head injury to Oakland’s Pro Bowl long snapper Jon Condo took place in the first half, it was basically all downhill from there. Condo went to the locker room and they were forced to replace him with backup long snapper Travis Goethel. Goethel’s lack of practice and inexperience at the position steered the Raiders to botch the next two punts, and another one in the fourth quarter, which all lead to San Diego field goals. With such a poor performance on this specific aspect of the game and the possibility of Condo being out for an extensive amount of time, the Raiders should look into signing a free agent long snapper, perhaps former Denver Bronco Lonie Paxton, who was cut by the team earlier this month. That is, if Jon Condo will be unable to return to the field for a while.

Meanwhile on offense, the Raiders didn’t look too bad. With the absence of  wideouts Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, much of Oakland’s plays were run through Darren McFadden, as he hauled in a career-high 13 receptions for 86 yards, most of which were screen passes or short dump offs. Rookie wideout Rod Streater didn’t have quite the game that many people thought. He had a fumble early on in the first quarter, but he did manage to reel in four passes for only 27 yards, and later went on to score the Raiders’ only touchdown of the game to go along with the ensuing two-point conversion. But hey, those stats aren’t too bad for a rookie who was starting for an NFL team on Monday Night Football after only catching 19 balls a year ago in his senior year at Temple. The run game of the Raiders didn’t go too well, as star running back Darren McFadden took it to the ground for only 32 yards on 15 carries, which is not the result anyone wanted, but they are glad that he was looking sharp and stayed healthy.

One part of the game that the Raiders did excel in was red zone defense. The San Diego Chargers got inside Oakland’s 20 yard line four times during the game, and only came away with one touchdown, as they had to settle for three Nate Kaeding field goals. The Chargers only touchdown came from a six yard pass from Philip Rivers to Malcolm Floyd in the second quarter, which propelled San Diego to a 10-3 lead. Floyd also led the team in receiving yards, catching four balls for 66 yards.

Oakland’s quarterback Carson Palmer looked great, throwing just short of 300 yards and hitting Rod Streater with a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. He didn’t throw an interception, and his 70% completion percentage was solid, as many of the passes he did not complete were crisp throws to the inexperienced wideouts that were filling in for the injured Raiders’ starters.

It was a disappointing way to start the new season for the Oakland Raiders, but they look to bounce back next week as they travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins on Sunday morning. The team hopes to have at least one of their offensive weapons back, and that looks to be Denarius Moore, who is inching his way towards getting back on the field.