The Los Angeles Chargers played its most complete all-around game through week five in their triumph over the Oakland Raiders, 26-10 at StubHub Center on Sunday. Los Angeles was anchored by a defense that held Oakland to less than 300 net yards led by quarterback Philip Rivers who threw for two touchdowns and posted 339 total yards.
“That’s a good team win,” started Chargers coach Anthony Lynn. “I thought all three phases were solid. When we don’t give teams anything and we make teams go through it, I think we’re a tough team to beat.”
The Chargers put together an efficient opening drive that concluded with Caleb Sturgis kicking a 49-yard field goal that put Los Angeles on the board first, 3-0.
“First [drive] it was better, we didn’t go three and out, finished with points,” commented Rivers.
On third down of the Raiders’ following drive, defensive end Melvin Ingram III sacked Raiders’ quarterback Derrek Carr at the Oakland 36-yard-line. Along with the sack, Ingram finished the game with his first regular-season career interception in the end zone.
“If we can create turnovers, we have one of the [most high-powered] offenses in the league,” stated Ingram. “We are just trying to give them the ball any time we can.”
With more than half of the crowd made up of Raiders fans, the Chargers locker room stayed focused on making plays on the field.
“To be honest, we don’t even see what kind of fans are out there,” uttered Ingram. “It’s Chargers’ offense, defense, and special teams, that’s all we know. That is the only energy we are worried about.”
The Chargers ended the first quarter with a 3-0 lead. The Raiders opened the second quarter with a drive that ended in a 24-yard field goal by Oakland’s kicker Matt McCrane.
Back on offense, Rivers connected with Austin Ekeler at midfield for a 44-yard touchdown pass, the spark that led to 19 straight points by the Chargers.
“We draw up all of these plays, and sometimes you get a look you’re not expecting, and you have to go out there and play football and make it happen,” Ekeler said.
The Chargers who held the Raiders to just three points in the first half were able to put together a six play, 48-yard touchdown drive on a one-yard handoff to running back Melvin Gordon III.
The opposing teams traded missed field goal attempts before halftime. The score remained 17-3 at the half.
In the third quarter, Sturgis made a 30-yard field goal to give the home team a 20-3 lead. Ingram’s interception in the Raiders’ end zone came with 1:05 left in the third quarter, Carr threw a pass right into the hands of the seventh year defensive end.
Rivers let the ball fly directly into the hands of Tyrell Williams. The drive would end in a Chargers’ touchdown from Rivers to tight end Virgil Green.
In the fourth quarter, Raiders’ Carr hit Jordy Nelson for a one-yard touchdown to close out the the game.
The Chargers inactives included wide receiver Travis Benjamin, linebacker Kyzir White, center Cole Toner, right tackle Joe Barksdale, left tackle Russell Okung, wide receiver J.J. Jones, and defensive end Joey Bosa.
On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Chargers waived punter Drew Kaser, who had been the team’s punter and holder for three seasons to sign Donnie Jones. Jones and Sturgis were former teammates for three seasons with the Eagles. In his debut for the Chargers on Sunday, Jones connected on three punts inside the 20-yard line.
With the 26-10 win against the Raiders, the Chargers improve to 3-2 on the season. The Chargers are off to their best start since the 2014 season and above the .500 mark for the first time this year.
Rivers posed the question, “Can we string a couple together and get to 5-2 at the bye?”
The Chargers must face the Browns and the Titans before the team’s bye week in week eight of NFL action. Los Angeles will first travel to Cleveland to match up against the Browns on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. ET.