Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over San Diego Chargers

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Aug 29, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) at Qualcomm Stadium. Seattle won 16-15. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Watch That Short Game

Because the Chargers’ running game has been so largely ineffective this season – they’re twenty sixth in the league with just a shade over 86 yards per game – San Diego has come to rely on a short passing game that has been very, very effective.

That short passing game is what has helped allow Rivers to be as efficient as he’s been throwing the football. Of his 177 completions for 2,116 yards and 12 touchdowns, 44 of those have gone to his running backs for 475 yards – which isn’t an insignificant amount. Another 45 of his completions have gone to San Diego’s tight ends for 482 yards and six of Rivers’ 12 touchdowns.

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  • Just in case you’re scoring at home, literally half of Rivers’ completions, yards, and touchdowns have gone to his running backs and tight ends. Which makes it doubly important that the Raiders key on that.

    Rivers has been able to work the short and intermediate routes very, very effectively with Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver, Melvin Gordon, Ladarius Green, and of course, noted Raider killer Antonio Gates – now back from a PED suspension in which he didn’t “knowingly” take the PED’s he was busted with. Which is of course, an excuse about as original and sincere as “my Twitter account got hacked.” Ahem.

    Rivers and the Chargers have done a good job of softening up defenses with that short passing game. And it has effectively taken the place of their moribund running game. It’s a dangerous piece of San Diego’s attack and one the Raiders linebackers are going to need to be very, very aware of. With middle linebacker Curtis Lofton struggling so badly in pass coverage, we very well may see more of Malcolm Smith and rookie Neiron Ball in this game.

    Whatever lineup they roll with on Sunday, the Raiders are going to have their hands full. The Chargers have weapons all over the field and Oakland is going to need to find a way to neutralize them all.

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