Raiders given reality check in division showdown against San Diego Print
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Monday, 15 October 2007 13:52
NFL Headline News

 ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -For two weeks the Oakland Raiders got to enjoy being in first place in the AFC West for a change and enjoy a two-game winning streak that made last year's failures seem like a distant memory.
Then reality hit as soon as they took the field against the San Diego Chargers. There was LaDanian Tomlinson running through the defense with ease, Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips hounding quarterback Daunte Culpepper and the offense playing a sloppy game filled with turnovers, penalties and other mistakes.
It looked like the same-old Oakland Raiders, who have lost 16 straight games in the AFC West following the 28-14 defeat in San Diego on Sunday. They get another chance to snap that division skid at home on Sunday against Kansas City.
``We're close to being a good team, but we just played like a bad team,'' offensive lineman Robert Gallery said. ``You can overcome some things, but I think in all facets of the game, we killed ourselves.''
Oakland (2-3) fell behind 14-0 after San Diego's first two possessions, turned the ball over three times, committed eight penalties and allowed LaDanian Tomlinson to run for 198 yards and four touchdowns. Despite all of that, if the Raiders had stopped Tomlinson on a third-and-3 with 2:48 to go, they could have gotten the ball back trailing only 21-14.
Instead, Tomlinson ran 41 yards for his fourth touchdown and the Raiders were dealt another division loss.
``We didn't deserve to win that game, and we didn't really deserve to be in that game, the way that we played and the mistakes that we made,'' coach Lane Kiffin said.
Seven of Oakland's eight penalties came on offense, with the line being called for holding three times, false starts twice and one clipping. Coupled with the six sacks, that often put the Raiders in long-yardage situations where they were forced to pass.
On their 14 third down plays, the Raiders needed to make an average of nearly 9 yards to make a first down. They converted only five of them, much worse than their 48 percent rate entering the game.
en you're doing that.''
After coming into the game averaging a league-leading 194.3 yards per game rushing, the Raiders were held to just 53 on 23 rushing attempts against San Diego.
LaMont Jordan, playing despite a sore back, finished with 42 yards on 18 carries, Backup Justin Fargas, who had 172 yards in the second half of the previous game after Jordan got hurt, had only two carries for 10 yards.
``I don't think they figured anything out,'' Gallery said. ``We got in some bad situations, were forced to throw it, and didn't execute when we did run it. We didn't stay on schedule. If we stay on schedule we're a good team. If we don't stay on schedule, we get in bad positions.''
The long-yardage situations also left few opportunities for Dominic Rhodes to contribute. After missing the first four games while serving a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, Rhodes hoped to make a big impact in his first game back.
Instead, he was on the field for only one play. He was given the ball on a play in the third quarter, but the run was called back by a holding penalty on Gallery.
``I just feel like I can help this team win I don't like being on the sideline,'' Rhodes said. ``That's just how it is. I think I'm pretty good at this game. If I'm sitting on the sideline, I'm just not doing what I can do. Period.''
 

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