Key mistakes? Check.
Painful penalties? Check.
An ugly loss to open the season? Checkmate.
The Oakland Raiders – after huge offseason changes in coaching staffs, schemes and roster – played like the team in silver and black that stumbled last season and missed the playoffs yet again, losing 22-14 to the visiting San Diego Chargers in their 2012 season opener on “Monday Night Football.”
Dennis Allen’s debut as head coach of the Raiders was marred by sloppy play from start to finish and Oakland never was able to overcome its own mistakes.
- On the Raiders’ first possession of the game, rookie wide receiver Rod Streater caught a pass deep in Chargers territory that would have given Oakland a first down, but Streater fumbled the ball away.
- In the second quarter, the Raiders defense committed three penalties to help keep alive a Chargers drive that eventually ate up 13 plays and went 90 yards, concluding with a 6-yard Philip Rivers to Malcom Floyd touchdown pass that put San Diego up 10-3.
- After Oakland long snapper Jon Condo had to leave the game because of a head injury in the first half, his replacement, Travis Goethel, bounced his snap back to Shane Lechler, who was tackled, setting up a San Diego field goal. On the Raiders’ next punt attempt with Goethel snapping, Lechler’s punt was blocked, setting up another Chargers field goal. In the fourth quarter, another bad snap by Goethel meant Lechler again couldn’t get a punt off.
Though quarterback Carson Palmer completed 32-of-46 passes for 297 yards – including a TD pass to Streater late in the game that allowed Oakland to get within eight points – the Raiders could do little on the ground against San Diego, rushing for just 45 yards.
Meanwhile, the Oakland defense seemed much improved over last season under new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. The Raiders gave up just one touchdown, and forced
San Diego to kick five field goals. Oakland held the Chargers to 32 yards rushing and giving up 233 yards passing to Rivers.
Yet even with solid play defensively Monday night, the penalties, fumbles and horrible special teams were too much to overcome.
The Raiders will get a chance to smooth over the wrinkles this coming Sunday with Game 2 at Miami against the Dolphins.