Chargers 34, Raiders 10

Preview | Box Score | Recap

SAN DIEGO (AP)—It isn’t even close anymore, this rivalry between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

But hey—at least it’s clean.

Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes and LaDainian Tomlinson bounced back from an injury scare as the Chargers ran their winning streak to five games and brightened their playoff hopes with a 34-10 win Sunday night.

The most amazing thing, though, was that there was only one penalty— against the Chargers, not the Raiders, the NFL’s most-penalized team.

“I cannot remember the last time I coached a football game in the NFL that there was only one penalty,” said San Diego’s Marty Schottenheimer, who’s in his 19th full season as a head coach and improved to 25-7 against the Raiders. “That is absolutely remarkable, and unfortunately we had the one.”

Chargers center Nick Hardwick was whistled for unnecessary roughness in the third quarter. Oakland’s Fabian Washington was called for illegal contact, also in the third quarter, but it was declined.

“You could have made a lot of money betting that,” Schottenheimer said about the Raiders’ clean slate. “I couldn’t believe it.”

The Chargers (8-4) pulled within one victory of the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos.

The Broncos lost 31-27 at Kansas City, which is tied for second place—as well as the last wild-card spot—with the Chargers. The defending division champion Chargers beat the Chiefs 28-20 on Oct. 30, and the teams will play again in Kansas City on Dec. 24. The Chargers will host Denver in the season finale on Dec. 31.

Of course, San Diego must still play at undefeated Indianapolis, on Dec. 18.

The Raiders (4-8) lost their fifth straight to the Chargers. Oakland is 0-5 in the AFC West.

“We’ve been able to get up on them and just continue to pound them and pound them,” Brees said. “I think we know that if we go out and play our game and execute that that should be the result.”

San Diego got a scare when Tomlinson came out with a rib injury late in the second quarter. After talking with the team’s medical staff on the sideline, he jogged to the locker room, accompanied by a doctor, with 22 seconds left before halftime.

A few seconds later, Michael Turner ran in from the 2 to put the Chargers ahead 17-10.

Tomlinson was back for the start of the second half, carrying on the Chargers’ first two plays. He finished with 86 yards on 25 carries.

“He wanted to finish but I decided it was time to give Michael a few shots,” Schottenheimer said.

San Diego safety Clinton Hart, subbing for the injured Terrence Kiel, put the game away when he intercepted Kerry Collins’ pass and returned it 70 yards for a score with 6:29 to play. Oakland didn’t get its first first down of the second half until that drive.

“Their defense took control in the third quarter,” Collins said. “They forced us three-and-out and put pressure on the quarterback.”

The Chargers had gone up 24-10 on Brees’ 1-yard throw to Eric Parker in the third quarter. Brees was 4-for-4 for 49 yards on the 13-play, 57-yard drive.

Nate Kaeding added a 32-yard field goal. He kicked a 41-yarder in the first quarter.

Brees was 17-of-22 for 160 yards with no interceptions. He was coming off one of the worst games of his career, when he threw three interceptions and was just 22-of-44 for 215 yards and no touchdowns in a 23-17 overtime win at Washington.

Keenan McCardell became the 13th player in NFL history with 800 catches, reaching the milestone with an 8-yard reception late in the second quarter.

The Chargers’ first touchdown came courtesy of instant replay.

Tight end Antonio Gates caught a 6-yard pass from a scrambling Brees before falling out of the back of the end zone early in the second quarter, but the nearest official ruled that he was juggling the ball.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer threw his red flag, and, after reviewing the play, referee Bill Vinovich ruled it a score, giving San Diego a 10-3 lead.

That drive was set up when Hart forced LaMont Jordan’s fumble, which was recovered by Randall Godfrey at the Oakland 34.

The Raiders came right back as Collins picked apart the Chargers’ defense on a crisp eight-play, 67-yard drive, capping it with a 16-yard TD throw to tight end Courtney Anderson to tie it at 10.

Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Notes

Mike Scifres’ 71-yard punt in the first quarter tied for third-longest in Chargers history. Paul Maguire, who had the longest punt in club history, 82 yards in 1962, broadcast the game for ESPN.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Oakland
K. Collins K. Collins QB
22-40, 236 yds
1 TD, 1 INT
 San Diego
D. Brees D. Brees QB
17-22, 160 yds
2 TDs

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards

Scoreboard

Preseason
  Thursday, Aug 18  
  New Orleans
New England 37
27 Final
      Friday, Aug 19  
  Tennessee
Atlanta 24
21 Final
     
  Cincinnati
Washington 24
17 Final
     
  Minnesota
NY Jets 21
28 Final
      Saturday, Aug 20  
  Cleveland
Detroit 21
13 Final
     
  Green Bay
Buffalo 7
27 Final
     
  Jacksonville
Tampa Bay 20
17 Final
     
  Miami
Pittsburgh 3
17 Final
     
  Philadelphia
Baltimore 20
14 Final
     
  Carolina
NY Giants 21
27 Final
     
  Chicago
Indianapolis 24
17 Final
     
  Oakland
Houston 17
19 Final
     
  Arizona
Kansas City 24
17 Final
     
  San Francisco
Denver 21
26 Final
      Sunday, Aug 21  
  St. Louis
San Diego 21
36 Final
      Monday, Aug 22  
  Dallas
Seattle 18
10 Final