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(Sunday, January 1st)
Final Score: San Diego 38, Oakland 26
Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Philip Rivers threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns Sunday and the San Diego Chargers knocked the Oakland Raiders out of playoff contention with a 38-26 win.
A win would have given the Raiders the AFC West title after the Denver Broncos were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs, 7-3, but the Chargers put an end to that by scoring on 6-of-9 possessions in the game.
Malcom Floyd led the Chargers (8-8) with seven catches for 127 yards and a touchdown, while Antonio Gates added five grabs for 106 yards and a score.
San Diego won four of its last five games to end the season, but it may not have been enough to save the job of head coach Norv Turner, whose teams have not performed up to lofty expectations in his five-year tenure.
Carson Palmer completed 28-of-43 passes for 417 yards with two touchdowns and a late interception for the Raiders (8-8), who ended the season losing four of five. They haven't been to the playoffs since 2002.
"We got beat here at home and it didn't look like a football team that was hungry enough to win an AFC West title. We had every opportunity," Raiders head coach Hue Jackson said. "You hope that your team plays a little bit better to give yourselves a chance to win. It's unfortunate. I thought this team was ready to take the next step."
Nick Novak missed a 44-yard field goal attempt wide right early in the fourth quarter, the first time the Chargers were held without points since Rivers' interception on the opening drive of the game, and Oakland took just three plays to move 65 yards and get within five points at 31-26.
Darrius Heyward-Bey snatched a pass in the middle of the field in front of defender and raced down the field for 39 yards on Oakland's first play of the quick drive before Kevin Boss made a leaping 22-yard touchdown grab in the front of the end zone with 9:37 left in the game.
Sebastian Janikowski's kickoff was a knuckler that bounced at the five-yard line and rolled to the one. Richard Goodman, who had a 105-yard touchdown return earlier in the game, picked it up, ran into the end zone and barely managed to get out as he got tackled, placing the ball inside the one.
But being backed up that far did nothing to slow down the Chargers, as Rivers hit Floyd for a 19-yard gain on the first play of the drive.
Mike Tolbert followed with a 40-yard run down the left sideline, throwing two defenders aside before getting tackled, and Floyd finished what he started with a 43-yard score to stretch San Diego's lead to 38-26.
The Raiders quickly moved the ball to the San Diego 34, but Antoine Cason intercepted Palmer's pass near the left sideline to seal the victory for the Chargers, who ran out all but 26 seconds of the remaining game clock.
"It's unfortunate the way the year has gone," said Rivers. "I mentioned to the guys this is the last time this team will play together, this exact team. There are certainly a lot of pieces up in the air and hopefully a lot of them will be back. The biggest piece is Norv and I hope he is back."
Oakland took advantage of Rivers' early turnover by marching down the field in 12 plays, converting three third downs on the drive, which included Heyward- Bey's three-yard touchdown in the back corner of the end zone on a fade.
San Diego answered with its own long scoring drive to tie the game at seven. Rivers led the Chargers 81 yards on 10 plays, completing passes of 14 and 13 yards before finding Gates over the middle on a post for a 38-yard score.
The Raiders were held to just one first down on their next touch and San Diego took the lead on its next drive.
Gates moved the ball across midfield with a 37-yard reception before Tolbert capped the six-play, 80-yard drive with a one-yard TD run early in the second quarter. It was Tolbert's 20th career rushing touchdown.
Oakland responded with Janikowski's 52-yard field goal to get within 14-10, but Goodman grabbed the ensuing kickoff five yards deep in the end zone and raced untouched up the middle of the field for a 105-yard touchdown return.
Janikowski's 43-yard kick and a 51-yard field goal by Novak on the game's next two possessions made it a 24-13 game at the half.
Oakland received the ball to open the third quarter and Palmer hit a streaking Denarius Moore down the right sideline on the second snap for a 78-yard gain, but the Raiders would not gain another yard and Janikowski split the uprights from 27 yards out.
However, Rivers led his fifth straight scoring drive with a nine-play, 66-yard march in which Gates caught two balls for 28 yards before Vincent Jackson hauled in a 13-yard score in the back of the end zone for a 31-16 Chargers lead.
The Raiders again drove into the red zone attempting to close the gap and Janikowski kicked a 32-yard field goal.
Chargers linebacker Antwan Barnes was ejected in the first quarter for unsportsmanlike conduct after making contact with an official...Rivers passed for 4,624 yards this season to join Dan Fouts (1980-81), Warren Moon (1990-91), Peyton Manning (2009-10) and Drew Brees (2010-11) as the only players with consecutive 4,500-yard passing seasons...Oakland committed eight penalties for 64 yards in the game, finishing the season 163 penalties for 1,358 yards, both NFL records.
01/01 22:11:15 ET
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