Rivers enjoys stout protection as Chargers roll on; more thoughts
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Chargers opened the 2012 season the same way they ended the 2011 season, with a win at Oakland. What did we learn from it? Here are five things from Monday's 22-14 victory:
The Chargers gave up a sack on their opening series, but none thereafter. In fact, Rivers was knocked down just twice the rest of the way. He finished 24-of-33 passing for 231 yards, one score, no interceptions and a 102.0 rating. On one occasion he had time to go through his reads twice before releasing the ball. Props to not only San Diego's linemen, but also to position coach Hal Hunter, who consistently does one of the league's better coaching jobs.
"How the offense is called is how we roll," McFadden said. "You never know what to expect when you're going into a football game. I knew I was getting a lot of balls my way, but I didn't think too much of it."
Knapp kept McFadden on the move. He had him taking handoffs from the backfield, catching passes off screens and in the flat, and he also lined him out wide as a receiver. McFadden, who had each of his first four seasons cut short by injury, said he's fine with the workload even if it's for the entire season. "I don't have a problem handling that type of load," he said. "I'm a ball player, that's what they pay me to do, go out there and handle a load like this. That's what I'm going to continue to do."
One noticeable change in McFadden's game, however, was his willingness to run out of bounds at the end of a play rather than turn upfield and take unnecessary punishment. Older and wiser.
San Diego, under first-year coordinator John Pagano, also came up with a big takeaway on the game's opening series. Oakland had driven from its 14 to the San Diego 38 when Streater had the ball knocked free after an 8-yard gain. The play set the tone for the evening early as the Raiders failed to finish potential touchdown drives, including late in the second quarter after having a first-and-10 at the San Diego 11.