Raiders look to end another skid by finally winning AFC West game
ALAMEDA, Calif. - The Oakland Raiders snapped their 11-game losing streak, finally won on the road after 12 straight losses and even have sole possession of first place in the AFC West for the first time in five years.
There's still one more major task for the Raiders to cross off their list: win a division game for the first time in nearly three years.
They get their chance this week when they travel to San Diego. Oakland has lost its last 15 games against AFC West foes, dating to a 25-24 victory in the snow in Denver on Nov. 28, 2004.
"It's not even something you think about," linebacker Kirk Morrison said. "You just go out and try to get a win regardless of what happens. We don't think about streaks. People talked about the road streak a couple of weeks ago against Miami. We just go out and try to win a game and the streaks will fall if we execute each week."
When the Raiders (2-2) beat Cleveland on Sept. 23 it was their first win since last Oct. 29 against Pittsburgh. The win at Miami the following week was Oakland's first on the road since Nov. 20, 2004, at Washington.
A win at San Diego would boost Oakland over .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2002, when they went to the Super Bowl.
The task for Oakland is ending its long skid in the division. It's been so long since the Raiders won a division game that their coach the last time they did it is the same coach they're going up against this week: San Diego's Norv Turner.
Only 15 of the 53 players on Oakland's active roster were with the team when they won that game in Denver on Jerry Porter's winning catch in the final minutes.
"It's something for you guys to write about or fans to talk about. But we're here to win games no matter who they're against," receiver Ronald Curry said. "It's a new season, and what happened last year is last year. Definitely what happened the last couple of years is over."
The Chargers are looking for their eighth straight win in this rivalry, which would tie Kansas City's current streak for the longest ever against the Raiders. Oakland has a chance to end the Chiefs' streak the following week at home.
San Diego has beaten Bill Callahan once, Turner four times and Art Shell twice in that streak. The common theme has been the Chargers' ability to dominate with the running game. With Marty Schottenheimer as coach, San Diego outgained Oakland 1,238-507 on the ground
Much of that success has been led by LaDanian Tomlinson, who has rushed for 944 yards during the streak, scored nine touchdowns and thrown for two more.
Tomlinson credits much of the success to the hatred Schottenheimer had of the Raiders from all those years coaching against them in the AFC West.
"I think it was Marty," Tomlinson said. "I think Marty had a mind-set that he just didn't like the Raiders. He wanted to try to punish them. The common theme was Marty Schottenheimer."
The Chargers haven't been running the ball nearly as well this season under Turner. Tomlinson is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry and has only 329 yards rushing after five games.
"It doesn't matter what he's been doing," Morrison said. "We know what he's capable of. He can score at any time."
The long losing streak has featured many close games and odd happenings. That was quite evident earlier this season when the Raiders prematurely celebrated the end of the skid in Denver.
Sebastian Janikowski's apparent field goal in overtime was wiped out because Broncos coach Mike Shanahan called timeout just before the kick. Janikowski missed the attempt that counted and Denver responded with the winning score.
Last year's game in San Diego still rankles the Raiders. With Oakland leading 14-7 with about 12 minutes left, the Chargers converted a fourth-and-2 from the Raiders 40 with a 13-yard pass to Vincent Jackson.
Jackson rolled to the ground untouched, then stood up and spun the ball forward in celebration. Oakland's Fabian Washington jumped on the ball for what appeared to be a gift fumble.
The referee originally signaled Oakland's possession and the Raiders' offense came on the field. But after the officials huddled, the play was eventually ruled an illegal forward pass and the Chargers were penalized 5 yards. They still gained enough for a first down and San Diego tied the game five plays later, then went on to win.
"We didn't struggle last year. We got robbed last year," Porter said.