The Raiders hardly were an offensive machine Thursday night at O.co Coliseum.
Derek Carr’s passes weren’t crisp, wide receiver Amari Cooper was hampered by a foot injury and Oakland was outgained by the Chargers 343 total yards to 286.
But because of a couple of big turnaround plays in the fourth quarter and a nice drive to start overtime, the Raiders came away with a 23-20 victory over San Diego to sweep their AFC rivals in a season for the first time since 2010.
With the game tied 20-20 at the end of regulation, Oakland won the toss, received the kickoff and started at its own 20.
Carr then led Oakland on a methodical march of 14 plays to get to the San Diego 13-yard line, from where Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 31-yard field goal for the lead.
When the Chargers then went four-and-out on their ensuing possession, the Raiders had their victory, improving their season mark to 7-8. With a victory on Jan. 3 at Kansas City, the Raiders could finish at .500 in Jack Del Rio’s first year as head coach.
But it took a couple of crucial turnarounds in the fourth quarter to put Oakland in position to win.
The first came when San Diego’s Josh Lambo kicked an apparent 53-yard field goal. But the Raiders were flagged on the play and Chargers coach Mike McCoy decided to take the points off the board and take the first down and a chance for a touchdown. That strategy failed, however, when a Philip Rivers to Ladarius Green pass that appeared to be a TD was ruled incomplete on review, and the Chargers failed to score at all. Those missing three points would prove fatal for San Diego.
A few minutes later, San Diego running back David Johnson caught a short pass from Rivers, but was stripped of the ball by Malcolm Smith and picked up by Benson Mayowa, who returned the ball from the San Diego 44 to the 3.
From there, Carr completed a beautiful fade pass to Michael Crabtree for a touchdown, then a two-point conversion pass to Seth Roberts for an Oakland 20-17 lead.
The Chargers tied it with Lambo’s 45-yarder with 1 minute remaining to send it to overtime.
Carr finished 23-of-38 for 204 yards and a TD. Crabtree led all Oakland receivers with six catches, though for just 39 yards.
Smith had a big game defensively with 14 tackles, the forced fumble and two tackles for loss.