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San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

Posted Sep 5, 2012


The San Diego Chargers kick off the 2012 regular-season in a nationally televised game on ESPN’s Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders at the O.co. Coliseum in Oakland.  The Chargers own a 30-22 lifetime record in season openers, and are 3-2 under head coach Norv Turner.  The team is also 12-11 in season openers against the AFC West and 4-1 when the first game of the year airs on national television.

A Look Back At the Preseason

The Chargers finished the exhibition season with a 3-1 record, winning their first three games before falling in the finale at the San Francisco 49ers. Philip Rivers appeared in three of those contests, completing 24 of 30 passes for 235 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.  Micheal Spurlock led the way with 10 receptions for 135 yards while Antonio Gates chipped in with six catches for 63 yards.  Defensively, first round pick Melvin Ingram led the team with two sacks in just three games, while Donald Butler paced all starters with 14 tackles and an interception.

What to Watch For…

On Offense for the Chargers

Rivers, the franchise’s all-time leader for career completion percentage and passer rating, leads the way for the potent Bolts attack. In last year’s season finale against the Raiders, he had an outstanding game, completing 19 of 26 attempts for 310 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 135.1, so look for him to replicate that performance in the opener. His favorite target, Antonio Gates, also had a memorable game in Oakland last year, catching five balls for 106 yards and a score.

On Offense for the Raiders

Carson Palmer helms the Raiders offense. He started nine games in 2011, completing 60.7% of his attempts for 2,753 yards, 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. The Raiders lost last season’s leading rusher, Michael Bush, to free agency, but the dangerous Darren McFadden returns after a 614-yard, four-touchdown season in which he was limited to seven games due to injury. The Raiders top two receivers are Darrius Heyward-Bey (64 catches, 975 yards and four touchdowns) and Denarius Moore (33-618-5).

On Defense for the Chargers

New defensive coordinator John Pagano takes over a unit that was headed by safety Eric Weddle and linebacker Takeo Spikes in 2011. Weddle set a career high and tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions, while Spikes led the way with 119 tackles, his 11th-career 100-tackle season. New to the defense are this year’s top draft choices Melvin Ingram and Kendall Reyes, who combined for 3.5 sacks in the preseason.

On Defense for the Raiders

Oakland’s top three tacklers from last season return in safety Tyvon Branch (109 tackles), linebacker Rolando McClain (99) and safety Matt Girodano (70).  Tommy Kelly led all Raiders with eight sacks last year while veteran Richard Seymour chipped in with six of his own.

Series History

Monday’s match marks the 106th all-time meeting between the Chargers and Raiders, with Oakland leading the series 58-45-2. The Chargers won the last meeting, 38-26, in the 2011 season finale and have won 14 of the last 17, including a stretch of 13-straight wins from 2003-09.

By the Numbers

In the preseason, the Chargers ranked 28th in total offense (262.5 yards per game), 15th in passing (103.8 ypg), 32nd in rushing (68.8 ypg) and 25th in points (16.0). The Raiders ranked 21st in total offense (287.8 ypg), 26th in passing (176.0 ypg), 16th in rushing (111.8 ypg) and 26th in points (15.2).

Defensively, the Bolts ranked 23rd in total defense (345.2 ypg), 27th in passing (243.0 ypg), 11th in rushing (102.2 ypg) and 18th in points allowed (19.5).  Oakland ranked fourth in total defense (259.8 ypg), third in passing (158.0 ypg), 10th in rushing (101.8 ypg) and 17th in points allowed (18.8).

Milestones on the Horizon

The Chargers need eight regular-season victories to reach 400 all-time. The Chargers’ all-time regular-season record is 392-385-11.

The Chargers need to score a touchdown in their next game to join Cleveland (166 games from 1957-69) as the only teams in NFL history to score a touchdown in 150 consecutive games.

Norv Turner has the 34th-most wins in NFL history (111). His next victory will tie John Madden (112) for 33rd all-time.

A.J. Smith needs two Chargers wins to become the winningest general manager in franchise history.

Takeo Spikes’ first start in 2012 will be the 200th of his career.

Antonio Gates (75) needs six touchdown catches to match Lance Alworth’s (81) team record.

Gates is just seven catches away from becoming the fifth tight end and the 59th player overall in NFL history with 600 career catches.

Connections

Norv Turner spent the 2004-05 seasons as the Raiders’ head coach.


   

Photos: Familiar Faces
Connections between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers.

Assistant secondary coach Cris Dishman worked training camp with Oakland in 2007.

Defensive line coach Don Johnson held the same position with the Raiders from 2007-08.

Tight ends coach Jason Michael was the quality control coach in Oakland in 2005.

Antonio Garay’s father spent time as a defensive lineman on the Raiders.

Raiders senior offensive assistant, Al Saunders, was the Chargers head coach from 1986-88 after serving as an assistant from 1983-86.

Linebacker Carl Ihenacho went to training camp with the Chargers in 2011.

Quarterback Carson Palmer makes his offseason home in Del Mar.


Broadcast Information

ESPN
 (simulcast in San Diego on KFMB-TV, Channel 8) – Chris Berman (play-by-play), Trent Dilfer (analyst) and Rachel Nichols (reporter)

Dial Global Sports (National) – Kevin Harlan (play-by-play, Dan Fouts (analyst) and Steve Tasker (reporter)

Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst)

Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst)

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