Recap: Raiders Regain First Place In AFC West, Clinch Postseason Birth With 19-16 Win Over San Diego Chargers

The Oakland Raiders had an opportunity to regain sole possession of first place in the AFC West on Sunday as earlier in the day the Kansas City Chiefs were defeated by the Tennessee Titans 19-17.

All the Raiders had to do was beat the division rival San Diego Chargers on the road to do that.

While it wasn’t easy, Oakland earned another comeback victory as they defeated San Diego 20-16 to move to 11-3 on the season and put themselves back in a position to win the division and get a first-round bye in the postseason. The win clinched Oakalnd its first postseason birth since the 2002-03 season.

Oakland once again got off to a rough start to begin the game, as the Chargers scored a touchdown on a 47-yard pass from quarterback Phillip Rivers to Travis Benjamin to take an early 7-0 lead.

The Raiders responded with a field goal on their next drive, but after that the Raiders offense struggled a bit as their next two drives both ended in turnovers, one on a fumble by running back Latavius Murray and the other on an interception by Carr.

The defense did a good job of keeping the Raiders in the game though, as they did not allow any points off either of those turnovers.

Trailing 10-3 towards the end of the first half, Carr found Michael Crabtree who made a nice catch, barely getting both feet in bounds for a 13-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10 just before halftime.

In first possession of the second half Sebastian Janikowski was able to connect on his second field goal of the day, giving the Raiders their first lead at 13-10.

That lead didn’t last long though as Rivers found tight end Hunter Henry for a touchdown to cap off a 7-play, 77-yard drive. After a missed extra point the Raiders deficit was only a field goal at 16-13.

The Raiders were forced to punt on the next possession, but their defense once again came up big as they stripped rookie running back Kenneth Farrow of the ball and after a recovery by Malcolm Smith, the Raiders offense was set up with excellent field position at the Chargers 13-yard line.

One play later the Raiders had 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but San Diego’s defense stiffened up, stopping Murray on two rushing attempts and forcing an incompletion to make the Raiders kick a game-tying field goal with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.

The Raiders defense forced the Chargers to a three-and-out on their next drive, giving Carr and the Raiders the ball with the game tied and just over six minutes left in the game.

From there the Raiders offense that had gone quiet had come alive. Murray hit a big hole and took it for 28 yards. Carr then found Seth Roberts for a 22-yard gain to put Oakland in field goal range.

Then on a tough 3rd-and-8, Carr scrambled and after a review was awarded the first down as the ball crossed the marker as Carr was falling out of bounds. That led to another field goal by Janikowski to give Oakland a 19-16 lead with 2:36 remaining in the game.

Once again the Raiders defense came up big, as Reggie Nelson intercepted Rivers to seal the 19-16 victory.

Next week Oakland hosts the Indianapolis Colts at 1:05 p.m. Pacific time in the Raiders last home game of the season.