Final/OT

Chargers 31

(0-4, 0-2 away)

Raiders 34

(2-2, 2-0 home)

4:05 PM ET, September 28, 2003

 

1 2 3 4 OT T
SD 7 14 3 7 031
OAK 7 7 0 17 334

Raiders climb back to .500

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Earlier in the season, Rich Gannon reacted to the Oakland Raiders' struggles by screaming at teammates and coaches.

When the Raiders were minutes away from another loss Sunday, Gannon kept quiet and played like the league MVP he is.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Chargers: What does Marty have to do to get them out of their doldrums?
They have to keep running the ball. They don't look bad as a team, but they aren't getting the balance from the passing game they expected this season. The Chargers need QB Drew Brees to step up his performance or they'll never get out of their doldrums

Question on the Raiders: Is "stealing a victory" what this team needed most right now?
Right now, a win is a win for the Raiders. They have to be content with getting one and not fret over what kind. This was a divisional game that they needed badly.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Sebastian Janikowski made a 46-yard field goal with 5:01 left in overtime as Gannon rallied the Raiders from a 14-point deficit late in regulation for a 34-31 win over the San Diego Chargers.

The victory could breathe life into the AFC champion Raiders (2-2), who were unimpressive in their first three games as well as in the first 54 minutes of this one. After struggling to execute all afternoon, the Raiders' offense came alive in the final six minutes of regulation for two scores.

"Rich did this, and we all helped," said center Barret Robbins, who returned to the starting lineup. "That's why he's the most valuable player of this league. You could sense a calm feeling out there. We were going to get it done."

After another bad start, Gannon finished 26-of-43 for 348 yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders' veteran superstars all played big roles: Jerry Rice had seven receptions _ including key catches on all three final drives _ for 118 yards, and Tim Brown had six catches for 110 yards.

"I thought we had a good plan and did a good job executing," Gannon said. "We've gone through some adversity. Hopefully this is a way to shake ourselves out of it. This is a veteran team that's always done a good job with adversity. I'm not saying we're out of the woods yet, but this is a good step."

Gannon audibled a 36-yard TD pass to Alvis Whitted, capping a 60-yard drive that pulled the Raiders within 31-24 with 4:38 left. Oakland's defense forced a punt, and Gannon found Rice twice before Charlie Garner rolled through the San Diego defense on a draw for a 24-yard score, tying it with 1:24 left.

After San Diego's second overtime punt, Gannon hit Rice for a 29-yard gain on Oakland's first play. Gannon moved the Raiders from their 8 to the San Diego 28, where Janikowski's kick split the uprights.

"I hope that this game serves as a catalyst and a launching pad to get us going again," Oakland coach Bill Callahan said. "We came alive. We were wearing them down at the end. I thought our stamina was excellent down the stretch."

LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 187 yards -- 55 on a beautiful scoring run -- and also threw a touchdown pass to Drew Brees, but the Chargers (0-4) wasted a golden opportunity for their first win in regulation since last Oct. 13. With a monumental defensive collapse, San Diego lost its eighth straight dating back to last season.

"We thought we had it," Tomlinson said. "I guess they showed why they went to the Super Bowl last year. They know how to win games, and we don't."

Brown and Doug Jolley caught early TD passes from Gannon, but the Raiders didn't shake their offensive malaise until the fourth quarter.

After last week's embarrassing loss at Denver, Callahan promised a return to hard-hitting, run-oriented football. It didn't happen, with San Diego's defense forcing the Raiders into a disjointed game plan of tentative runs and plenty of the short passes they've used for years.

There also was poor execution by Oakland's veterans despite Robbins' return. The All-Pro reclaimed his starting spot after losing it in the wake of his Super Bowl drinking binge. Rice dropped four passes, while Gannon sprayed the ball over, behind and far past his receivers.

The Raiders also played without linebacker Bill Romanowski, who missed the first game of his 16-season NFL career with the effects of a concussion from earlier in the month. Romanowski had played in 243 consecutive games.

While the Raiders labored through the first three quarters, Brees and Tomlinson were having fun. San Diego capped its first scoring drive with a classic trick play: Tomlinson threw a high-arching pass to Brees, who ran under it and dove at the end zone cone for a 21-yard score.

Though Oakland's defense clamped down in the second half, San Diego appeared to seal a win when Lorenzo Neal rushed for a 3-yard score with 5:59 to play for a 31-17 lead.

"The defense has got to win that game for us," Chargers defensive tackle Leonardo Carson said. "It's a simple fact. When we've got them down like that, there's no excuse. We've got to make them earn everything."

San Diego got near the Oakland 30 in the final seconds, but time ran out before Brees could spike the ball.

Game notes


The Chargers played without receiver David Boston, suspended by coach Marty Schottenheimer for this game. ... Garner finished with 70 yards rushing. San Diego outgained Oakland on the ground 222-120. ... Tomlinson's passer rating was 158.3, the maximum possible.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERSDOAK
sdTD14:05Touchdown
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yds, 0:15
137
sdTD7:02LaDainian Tomlinson, 55 yd run
Drive info: 3 plays, 74 yds, 1:47
2014
FOURTH QUARTERSDOAK
oakTD5:59Touchdown
Drive info: 4 plays, 60 yds, 0:00
3123
SECOND QUARTERSDOAK
sd14:05
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yds, 0:15
147
sd7:02
Drive info: 3 plays, 74 yds, 1:47
2114
FOURTH QUARTERSDOAK
oak5:59
Drive info: 4 plays, 60 yds, 0:00
3124
oakTD1:35Charlie Garner, 24 yd run
Drive info: 5 plays, 64 yds, 0:36
3130
FIRST QUARTERSDOAK
oakTD11:42Touchdown
Drive info: 7 plays, 68 yds, 3:53
06
FOURTH QUARTERSDOAK
oak1:35
Drive info: 5 plays, 64 yds, 0:36
3131
FIRST QUARTERSDOAK
oak11:26
Drive info: 7 plays, 68 yds, 3:53
07
sdTD7:32Touchdown
Drive info: 8 plays, 71 yds, 3:48
67
THIRD QUARTERSDOAK
sdFG10:44Steve Christie 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 19 yds, 3:41
2414
FOURTH QUARTERSDOAK
sdTD6:01Lorenzo Neal, 3 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 66 yds, 3:23
3017
FIRST QUARTERSDOAK
sd7:32
Drive info: 8 plays, 71 yds, 3:48
77
FOURTH QUARTERSDOAK
sd6:01
Drive info: 7 plays, 66 yds, 3:23
3117
OVERTIMESDOAK
oakFG8:15Sebastian Janikowski 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 64 yds, 5:58
3134
SECOND QUARTERSDOAK
oakTD9:08Touchdown
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yds, 4:02
1413
oak9:08
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yds, 4:02
1414
FOURTH QUARTERSDOAK
oakFG9:33Sebastian Janikowski 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 16 plays, 75 yds, 17:01
2417