SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Chargers were beaten and beaten up in a mostly miserable performance in a 27-17 loss at Oakland on Sunday night.
Philip Rivers threw three interceptions, the Chargers lost two fumbles, and running back Ryan Mathews sustained a concussion and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson injured a hamstring.
The Chargers fell apart a week after rallying to beat the Dallas Cowboys 31-20. They never had the lead and are tied for last in the AFC West with the Raiders at 2-3. Denver and Kansas City are tied for the lead at 5-0.
"It's unfortunate. Last night, we picked a bad night to have a bad night," rookie coach Mike McCoy said. "It doesn't matter what level you're at, when you turn the ball over five times, it's tough to win games."
The Chargers might be in for another prime-time embarrassment. They must sell more than 10,000 tickets to lift the local TV blackout of next Monday night's game against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (4-1).
Besides the turnovers, there were plenty of plays to second-guess. With the Chargers trailing 14-0, running back Danny Woodhead was stuffed on fourth-and-goal from the 1 early in the second quarter.
Rivers had the option to throw on that play and should have, McCoy said. On the previous play, tight end Antonio Gates couldn't hang onto Rivers' pass.
Oakland had to punt, but Eddie Royal fumbled it and the Raiders recovered to set up Sebastian Janikowski's 47-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead.
Terrelle Pryor made big plays for the Raiders. One play after Rivers was intercepted to end San Diego's first possession, Pryor burned the Chargers' defence on a 44-yard touchdown pass to Rod Streater.
With Oakland leading 24-17 midway through the fourth quarter, Pryor turned a potential sack into a 20-yard completion to Brice Butler on third-and-14 to set up Janikowski's 50-yard field goal.
"Getting down 17-0, we were facing an uphill battle the whole time," McCoy said. "Just way too many mistakes overall for the football team, from the first drive offensively, with an interception and a big play on defence that we gave up early in the game to get down. We struggled early.
The Chargers had chances late, but defensive end Kendall Reyes failed to corral a fumble and Rivers was intercepted twice.
"It showed a lot about the character of our football team the second half," McCoy said. "As bad as it was early on, we had an opportunity to make it interesting in the very end."
Not only was San Diego held to 32 yards rushing on 19 carries for a 1.7-yard average, but Woodhead's fumble in the third quarter was returned 25 yards for a touchdown by Charles Woodson.
"We ran the ball poorly," McCoy said. "We didn't execute well enough up front. They were more physical than we were up front."
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