Special Teams Doom 2-3 Chargers Again
The Chargers’ offense looked great on Sunday, roasting the Raiders for 506 total yards, 415 of them coming in the air. Despite the impressive output, they managed to lose to the Raiders for the first time in 14 games, falling 35-27 in Oakland.
Special teams was the bane of San Diego’s demise once again. Their first two possessions, they had Mike Scifres’ punts blocked by the Raiders resulting in a safety and a touchdown. The blocked punts book ended a Raiders field goal, so San Diego was down 12-0 early in the game.
As if the special teams problems weren’t enough, Mike Tolbert and Philip Rivers lost back-to-back fumbles from the Oakland 1 and 14 in consecutive possessions. Even with the problems, the Chargers wasted little time taking the lead in the second quarter and a 17-15 lead into halftime.
San Diego’s defense did a good job shutting down the Raiders. They only gave up 279 yards with 16 of Oakland’s 35 points coming on defense or special teams. One has to figure that without the special teams problems the Chargers would have won the game.
That marks the third game San Diego had costly mistakes on special teams, all of which resulted in losses for the Chargers. They lost their season-opener in Kansas City, allowing a punt return for a touchdown by Dexter McCluster in a 21-14 game. They lost in week three to Seattle giving up two kickoffs returned for a touchdown by Leon Washington. In week five, they lost to the Raiders giving up nine points thanks to two blocked punts. It’s not unreasonable to think that the Chargers could easily be 5-0, and most people have to feel they’re better than their 2-3 record. They better get these problems fixed before it’s too late to make the playoffs.