The Oakland Raiders hosted the division rival San Diego Chargers Sunday afternoon in their second home game of the season. Despite being without some offensive lineman and starting running back Latavius Murray, the Raiders came into the game with a lot of confidence after a comeback victory last Sunday to beat the undefeated Baltimore Ravens on the road, putting the Raiders at 3-1 which is their best start in over a decade.
The game started off sloppy on both sides as the Raiders first possession ended in an interception by Derek Carr in the Raiders own territory, but the Chargers did not hang onto the ball long as veteran tight end Antonio Gates was stripped by Raiders linebacker Perry Riley Jr. and it was recovered by safety Reggie Nelson.
The Raiders then put together a 16-play, 87-yard, eight minute drive that stalled in the red zone resulting in a 20-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski to give Oakland a 3-0 lead.
The Raiders defense came up with another big play on the next play, intercepting Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers on a deep pass attempt. The Raiders could not capitalize though as Janikowski pulled a 50-yard field goal attempt wide right.
The Chargers got on the board early in the second quarter as Rivers connected with wide receiver Tyrell Williams on a 29-yard touchdown pass, giving San Diego a 7-3 lead.
After the teams exchanged field goals, Oakland drove down the field in four plays right before halftime setting up Janikowski for a 56-yarder right before half that he drilled, cutting the Chargers lead to 10-9 at the half.
The scoring picked up in the second half as the Chargers opening drive resulted in a Melvin Gordon touchdown catch, the first of his career. Oakland responded quickly though as Carr connected with Amari Cooper on a 64-yard touchdown pass bringing the deficit back to one.
San Diego had a long pass of their own on the ensuing drive, as Rivers found Williams for a 50-yard reception. The drive ended in Rivers’ third touchdown pass of the game, this time to tight end Hunter Henry.
With the Raiders trailing 24-19 late in the third quarter, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio opted to go for it on fourth and two from the Chargers 21-yard line, and his offense rewarded him as Carr connected with his favorite target Michael Crabtree on a deep pass down the sideline for a touchdown. Carr then found Cooper on a two-point conversion attempt, giving the Raiders a 27-24 lead, their first lead since being up 3-0.
After a Chargers punt the Raiders added another touchdown, putting them up 34-24 with approximately 13 minutes remaining in the game.
Rivers had a comeback in him though as he led a 12-play, 75 yard drive ending in a Rivers to Gates touchdown to cut the deficit to three. The Raiders then went three-and-out giving Rivers the ball back down by three and just over four minutes remaining.
Rivers led his team into field goal range, as kicker Josh Lambo lined up for a game-tying 36-yard field goal with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
Chargers punter Drew Kaser could not handle the snap though, resulting in a turnover on downs and ultimately a Raiders 34-31 victory.
Carr complete 25-of-40 passes for 317 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while Cooper caught six passes for 138 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
The win puts the Raiders at 4-1 on the season, tied for the AFC West lead with the Denver Broncos, while the Chargers fell to 1-4.