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Woodson's takeaways lead Raiders past Chargers

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- With Darren McFadden sidelined by a hamstring injury and Terrelle Pryor playing for the first time since suffering a concussion, the Oakland Raiders needed a boost from another source Sunday night.

They got it from a guy who knows his way around the end zone as well as any defensive player in NFL history.

Charles Woodson tied an NFL record for defensive scores when he returned a fumble 25 yards for a third-quarter touchdown, and the Raiders took advantage of five San Diego turnovers to record a 27-17 victory over the Chargers.

Coming off a home loss in which they blew a 14-0 lead without Pryor in the lineup, the Raiders used touchdown passes by the second-year standout to Rod Streater and Denarius Moore to build a 17-0 halftime advantage against their AFC West rivals.

Woodson's big play on his 37th birthday provided the difference-making points, increasing Oakland's lead to 24-3 with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter. The veteran free safety scooped up a bouncing ball that was produced by a Nick Roach hit on Danny Woodhead. Woodson took off running, diving into the end zone for his 13th career defensive score.

"It just means I've been around the game a long time, I've made a bunch of plays and I'm one of the greatest to ever play this game," said Woodson, who tied the defensive-touchdown mark held by Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper. "Old cousin Rod. I'm coming for him."

Philip Rivers, held in check for the better part of three quarters, rallied the Chargers (2-3) within 24-17 with 10:17 to play with short touchdown passes to Woodhead and rookie Keenan Allen. The 7-yard connection with Allen, his first professional score, made it a one-possession game.

However, Sebastian Janikowski connected on a 50-yard field goal with 4:24 left to stretch Oakland's lead back to 10 points. Rivers was intercepted in the end zone by rookie DJ Hayden with 1:48 to go to seal the win for the Raiders (2-3).

"In the second half, we did a lot of good things," Rivers said after amassing 315 of his 411 passing yards after halftime. "But we turned the ball over three times in a half."

Woodson also had an interception in the final seconds, giving him at least one pick in 16 consecutive seasons.

"He's made a habit of doing that his whole career -- a defensive score and an interception to seal the game," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "That's what we expect out of him. He's been a playmaker for us, and he'll continue to be a playmaker for us."

Rivers, who entered the game with the NFL's second-highest passer rating, hit on 36 of his 49 passes. However, his two touchdown passes were more than offset by three interceptions.

San Diego's Vincent Brown made eight catches for 117 yards, and Allen added six catches for 115 yards.

"We thought we could come back," said Allen, who played his college ball at nearby Cal. "Once we get going, we can do a lot of great things. We just had a bad start today."

Pryor completed 18 of 23 passes for 221 yards, and he rushed 11 times for 31 yards. His two touchdown passes were 44 yards to Streater on the Raiders' first offensive play of the game, and 2 yards to Moore to cap a 13-play, 88-yard drive on Oakland's next possession.

"We knew that we could attack them through the air," Streater said. "T.P. (Pryor) really gave us a chance. He gave us two great balls, and me and D-Mo (Moore) made two great plays on it."

Moore posted team-high totals of five receptions and 84 yards.

The Chargers outgained the Raiders 423-299.

NOTES: Chargers RB Ryan Mathews suffered a concussion in the first half and did not return. He had three carries for 8 yards. ... The Raiders lost McFadden's replacement, Rashad Jennings, late in the game to a hamstring injury. Jennings ran 10 times for 41 yards. ... Raiders S Usama Young intercepted Rivers' first pass of the game. It was Oakland's first interception of the season. ... The game was billed as the latest-starting contest in NFL history. Kickoff was shortly after 8:30 p.m. Pacific time. ... The O.co Coliseum changeover from baseball to football configuration, which began almost immediately after the Oakland A's beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 after 10 p.m. Saturday night, was completed by 3 p.m. Sunday. ... Both teams had two regular offensive line starters among the inactive players. The Chargers were without LT King Dunlap and LG Chad Rinehart, who were replaced by LT Mike Harris and LG Johnnie Troutman. LT Menelik Watson and C Stefen Wisniewski were out for the Raiders. RT Matt McCants started for Watson, with OT Khalif Barnes shifting over to the other side of the line. C/G Andre Gurode replaced Wisniewski. ... Three quarterbacks were active for Oakland: Pryor, Matt McGloin and Matt Flynn.
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