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Cuckoo For Canepa: Raiders Lose, Chargers Have Little To Do With It


After the Chargers defeated the Oakland Raiders last evening, U-T San Diego columnist Nick Canepa filed his column and called it a night. I spent some time trying to figure it all out. Join me won't you . . .

This one wasn’t so much what the Chargers could do, but what they could do without — without tailback Ryan Mathews, without left tackle Jared Gaither, without receiver Vincent Brown for the season opener.

I did without beer for this Monday Night game. At one point I contemplated opening a bottle of Fijian Black Label Millennium rum that I picked up back in 1999. I'm not allowed to drink booze though. I thrash violently like a bull shark on the deck of medium sized fishing boat. It isn't pretty.

They came to play the Raiders in the Black Hole Monday night with three long puffs taken from their offensive cigar.

No idea what this means. And I read it 3 1/2 times. Another Churchill reference?

And looked it. Fortunately for them, the Raiders, who handled attempted punts as if they were radioactive — it was shameful — looked even worse.

If someone gave me a football dusted in plutonium I don't think I would play hot potato with it. I would grab it. And accept that I'm horribly f**ked. Whatever the case may be, Nick thinks the Raiders are shameful at special teams. I take this to mean that the Chargers' special teams don't deserve any credit for last night's performance.

It’s doubtful this thing kept those back east up past 1 a.m. In fact, it may not have kept them up past 11 p.m.

I don't care. I only care about myself.

This was not a thrill ride.

But you know what is? Gravitron at the Del Mar fair. That's right. I said Del Mar Fair.

The Raiders scored their lone touchdown just inside the final minute, when they needed something Biblical to help them (and as we all know, Raiders don’t get much help from either Testament).

No Book of Job reference? Weak.

Clearly, despite all the blue smoke and mirrors, the Chargers couldn’t do as much. You can’t kid a kidder. Some football players are better than other football players. It’s what makes the NFL go ’round. Starters start for a reason. The better players play more than the subs.

Every column has a moment of truth and you've just reached it. The moment of truth occurs when the columnist realizes that he's never going to meet his word count . . . so he starts typing a lot of nonsense.

The Chargers knew they were missing parts and played accordingly. And the Raiders reacted accordingly.

Read that as "accordion". Both times. I did and it made me smile.

Of course it doesn’t help when a great tight end such as Antonio Gates has two crucial drops of Philip Rivers passes — one in the end zone — but this was bound to become a night for the defenses (or a lack of great offense, take your pick), and in the end, the Chargers won this very important opener 22-14, as five Nate Keating (sic) field goals lit up the sky-yo-yo-yo-yo.

Sky-yo-yo-yo-yo? Maybe I was wrong. This could be the moment of truth.

But that’s really been it, hasn’t it? Who the Chargers haven’t had? Isn’t that just about all we’ve heard all summer?

Obsessing over injured players? That's a waste of time, good man. I complain about the owner, GM, and coach. Much more fruitful.

I don’t know when San Diego will get Mathews back — perhaps Sunday? But it won’t be soon enough.

Calcification. Indestructible.

Brown, who figured to be a huge part of this offense, is out at least half the year with that broken ankle.

Ronnie Brown had a broken ankle last night? This is all beginning to make sense.

And it now appears Gaither’s back spasms are going to force him to miss more time. Much has been made of Gaither’s rookie replacement, Mike Harris, but the rook certainly held his own against one of The League’s more physical fronts. Rivers was sacked but once and it did not come over Harris.

I hope Rivers did not come over Harris. Mike Harris played a very nice game.

Still, coach Norv Turner had to be concerned, so Rivers ran a lot of short stuff and it was effective, just not very exciting.

Not very exciting. Not like a deep fried stick of butter before you climb on The Zipper at the Del Mar Fair. Try that.

How about those special teams, such a joke two years ago? Dante Rosario broke through and blocked a Shane Lechler punt. Twice Lechler was unable to field the snap. This is what did the Raiders in.

I thought we weren't praising the Chargers' special teams? Let me go ahead and read this column again. I have time. And I hate myself.

That and a Chargers defense that gave but did not give in. The Raiders couldn’t run the ball much and quarterback Carson Palmer seemed content to just dump stuff off to Darren McFadden, who caught 13 passes (the most ever by an Oakland back) for 88 yards. Gone is the Silver and Black’s vertical game. Al Davis must be spinning like a turbine.

Some people turn in their graves. Not Al Davis. He's a machine. There is spinning.

The first half certainly didn’t offer up many thrills . . .

Melvin Ingram's forced fumble was pretty boring. And I hate it when the Chargers have the lead. I need the Chargers to be more like the Del Mar Fair.

The Chargers should have had another turnover. With the ball on the Chargers’ 11, with 16 seconds to play before intermission, Palmer lobbed a cookie into the back of the end zone that safety Atari Bigby politely dropped.

Lobbed a cookie? I think It's funny how we subconsciously incorporate trivial life moments into what we write when we have a mental block.

But the big deal here was that Oakland just couldn’t get anything going and when it tried, as usual, it screwed things up.

So we're clear: the Raiders are bumbling idiots who completely sabotaged themselves and the Chargers had nothing to do with Oakland's inept performance.

It’s difficult to take too much negative out of this.

So we're clear: Even though the Chargers did nothing . . . it's all good.

The Chargers are better than Oakland and it showed.

So we're clear: The Chargers did nothing. They didn't need to.

They should have won and did.

Las Vegas disagrees about the "should have" part. And I'll be honest, I was kind of worried, it being a road game and all.

Won a road divisional game. Important.


No disgrace in winning.

Lance Armstrong agrees.

This Black Hole is hard to climb out of.