San Diego Chargers running back Darren Sproles runs past Oakland Raiders' Jon Alston for 15 yards in the second quarter of a NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009 in San Diego.
It always feels great to beat the Raiders, even if it has become a routine.
No matter what happens the rest of the season for the Chargers, we know one thing for sure: the Raiders did not beat them in 2009. We also know that everyone is talking about the wildcat offense that was unleashed. Craig Elsten and Chris Ello from 619Sports.net broke down the 24-16 win, the 13th straight against Oakland, in a post game podcast.
The defense for the Chargers came up with some big plays on Sunday and Shawne Merriman was able to pick up his first sack of the season, prompting his infamous “lights out” dance, but as Elsten pointed out, there was one apparent weakness exploited once again.
“The Raiders ran the ball on the Chargers with great effectiveness in this game and while in the second half it became much more difficult for them to stick to their game plan—If you’re a run-only football team it's hard to come from behind,” he said.
Ello was in agreement, but also felt the defense was moving in the right direction going into next week's game with the New York Giants.
"I think they’re getting better though and, if nothing else, you compare the way the Raiders ran on opening night to the way they ran in this game, I saw some improvement,” he said.
“A lot of the pressure that you see and the sacks that the Chargers have gotten in the last two games are really a result of the fact that they had a lead,” Ello noted. “What your offense does early in football games allows your defense to get pressure later in football games.”
There were plenty of good things to be said about the Chargers' victory, including two scores from LaDainian Tomlinson and a much better red zone performance. “For them to get into those first and goal situations and come away with seven points a couple times today, that’s the biggest step in the right direction that I will take out of this game,” Elsten said.
What everyone was talking about Monday morning is the wildcat offense that helped the Chargers score their first touchdown of the game when LT scampered from six yards out.
“I hate to say I told you so, but when you’ve got a weapon like Tomlinson who can throw the ball and then you’ve got some ability to misdirect with these kind of athletes, there’s no reason that the wildcat hasn’t been on display until today,” Elsten said.
Before ending the podcast, Ello begged Chargers head coach Norv Turner to not make it the last time the wildcat offense makes an appearance.
“Pretty, pretty, please Norv, I promise I will eat all my vegetables, I’m going to make my bed in the morning, I’m going to get all my homework done, whatever you need me to do Norv, don’t let that be the last time we see the wildcat this year,” Ello said.