Raiders Ground Chargers


Cornerback Charles Woodson finally got his wish to play both ways for the Raiders. Quarterback Rich Gannon stuck to offense, and gave Oakland its biggest scoring day of the season.

Gannon, who used a bye week to recover from a broken bone in his left wrist, threw four touchdown passes two each to Tyrone Wheatley and Rickey Dudley as the Raiders defeated the San Diego Chargers 28-9 Sunday.

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Game Summary

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  • Woodson was in for four offensive plays, all in the first half, for the Raiders (5-4). He caught a 19-yard pass on his first play, the only one on which he touched the ball.

    "It's worth the wait, but I wish I could have gotten in earlier in the season," Woodson said. "Hopefully now, as the season goes on, I can expand my role."

    Woodson, who made cameo appearances at wide receiver for Michigan while becoming the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in 1997, had pleaded with coach Jon Gruden since last season to use him on offense.

    "Did he go in there today?" Gruden asked with a grin. "We're trying to be creative in our use of him. Those are things we're just going to continue to develop, but that is not a priority."

    While Woodson's appearance stirred up fans at two-thirds full Oakland Coliseum, it was Gannon's quick feet and soft touch that made the difference. He was 18-of-24 for 254 yards, almost entirely on short passes.

    Gannon, 7-of-28 while nursing his non-throwing wrist two weeks earlier in a 16-9 loss to Miami, repeatedly evaded the San Diego rush while throwing scoring passes of 26 and 7 yards to Wheatley, 12 and 2 yards to Dudley.

    "I thought Gannon was outstanding today, not only the four touchdown passes but the scrambles as well," Gruden said. "Two of the touchdown passes were creative plays he made."

    Jim Harbaugh threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Freddie Jones with 44 seconds remaining for San Diego (4-5), which also got a 39-yard field goal by John Carney. The Chargers lost their fourth straight and have been outscored 126-29 in those four defeats.

    Harbaugh was 18-of-32 for 204 yards and the Chargers were held to 225 total yards. The Chargers' frustration boiled over in the final quarter, when Harbaugh and San Diego safety Michael Dumas had a verbal confrontration on the field.

    "It's emotional right now. We've had some outbursts on the field, but that's a reaction to not winning. We haven't been productive on offense and we're pressing," Chargers coach Mike Riley said. "We've lost four in a row. There's a lot of frustration. But there's not anybody that's tearing the team apart."

    Linebacker Junior Seau stepped between Harbaugh and Dumas to end the shouting match.

    "When you have high hopes, you find guys who snap here and there. When you can sense it, you need to control it. We have to be professsional and not point fingers," Seau said. "The camaraderie with the players is key. You have to trust the guys next to you, or what do you have?"

    With Natrone Means (knee) and Terrell Fletcher (shoulder) sidelined, top draft pick Jermaine Fazande made his debut for the Chargers at running back and had 13 carries for 29 yards.

    Gannon was in Dumas' grasp early in the first quarter when he dumped a pass to Wheatley, who fought off a tackler and finished off a 26-yard run by plowing into the end zone to make it 7-0.

    Woodson made his debut on the Raiders' next possession. On his first play, he caught a quick pass and tiptoed down the sideline. Seven plays later, Dudley caught his 2-yard TD pass to complete a 97-yard drive.

    Carney kicked his field goal early in the third period, but Gannon evaded the rush once again and dumped a 7-yard pass to Wheatley for a 21-3 lead. Midway through the fourth period, Gannon found Dudley alone in the end zone to make it 28-3.

    Notes

  • The Chargers have been outscored 72-13 in the first quarter this season
  • The Chargers have not scored first in a game and have only 11 offensive touchdowns this season
  • Tim Brown, who had seven receptions, has caught a pass in 100 straight games for the Raiders. With 117 yards Sunday, he recorded his 33rd game with at least 100 yards in receptions.
  • Brown moved past Harod Jackson into 14th place on the NFL career receiving list with 10,432 yards.

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