San Diego Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett, right, intercepts a pass intended for Oakland Raiders wide receiver Brice Butler during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014.
San Diego Chargers running back Branden Oliver (43) runs against Oakland Raiders cornerback Carlos Rogers, left, and cornerback Tarell Brown during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014.
There is a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL. The better team isn't always victorious. On Sunday in Oakland, a Chargers team that's considered one of the best in football ran into a bunch of Raiders that were aggressive, motivated and just plain tired of losing. The Chargers were outplayed for much of the game but in the end they perhaps took a cue from the Raiders' late owner Al Davis; "Just win, Baby." That's what the Chargers did: 31-28.
Three plays into the game, the Chargers were stunned by a 77 yard touchdown throw from Oakland quarterback Derek Carr who became the first Raider rookie QB to throw for four TD's in a single game. For most of the afternoon the Chargers would play from behind. Mistakes were made and the unthinkable almost started to seem inevitable. But that's when the Chargers' will kicked in. In the end, our Bolts wanted it more and they got it.
Rookie running back Branden Oliver says he gets stronger as the game goes on. With the game on the line in the final minutes he was unstoppable. Four consecutive runs right between the tackles put the Chargers in the end zone. A Jason Verrett interception sealed the deal in the final seconds. For Oliver, an undrafted bulldozer out of Buffalo, it's his 2nd 100 yard rushing game in as many opportunities for significant playing time. By comparison, it took Ryan Mathews 12 games into his career to eclipse the century mark, 17 games to do it twice.
The Chargers have won five consecutive games, some more convincingly than others. But finding a way to win the games that perhaps you shouldn't is the mark of a champion. And finding a way to beat the rival Raiders is always extra gratifying.
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