This Sunday, the (3-1) Oakland Raiders host the (1-3) San Diego Chargers in Week 5. Let’s take a quick look at the history between these the two division rivals.
Total Games Between the Raiders and the Chargers: 113
All-Time Record: Raiders lead, 61-50-2
Current Streak: Raiders, 2, coming off of a sweep in 2015
Total Raiders Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 2502 (22.1 points per game)
Total Chargers Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 2442 (21.6 points per game)
Longest Raiders Winning Streak Against Chargers: 16* ( Decemeber 15, 1968 – November 20, 1977) [*includes two ties]
Longest Chargers Winning Streak Against Raiders: 13 (December 28, 2003 – October 10, 2010)
Ah, yes — Chargers week, Chapter 114, Part 1.
Life as a Raiders fan is a vibrant, beautifully aggressive existence. This franchise, its culture and the people that embody that culture are unlike any other in the National Football League. That’s not my opinion, friends. That is fact.
Take into account, for instance, the basic concept of division rivalries. All teams and fans of those teams share a natural distaste for the other teams within their division. That’s simply a function of design; four squads are competing for one spot, and they have six opportunities to prove their dominance within the confines of a season. Rinse and repeat.
Each division in the NFL has what I would call a “marquee rivalry”, one that’s more prevalent or more bitter than the next. The AFC North has the Steelers and Ravens, the NFC South has the Saints and Falcons, so on and so forth.
You can probably go through and easily pick out the most heated rivalry of every division in the league — except for one. The eternal gauntlet that is the AFC West knows no master.
In fact, an oft-asked question between members of the Nation: “Which division rival do you hate the most?” The answer you get might depend on who you ask and where they’re from and how old they are. But it might not, because the AFC West is a mixed bag of hatred.
There’s no marquee rivalry here — we hate all three teams in this division, equally, thoroughly and without any inherent bias, and they hate us in the same way. That’s the beauty of being a Raiders fan; there isn’t just one “rivalry” game. Be you a Chief, Bronco, Steeler or Patriot, there’s no love lost. Everybody’s the enemy.
With all of that stated and acknowledged, were you to pose the aforementioned question to me, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that my hatred for the Chargers runneth over like a Solo cup in Johnny Manziel’s kitchen. From LaDainian Tomlinson to Shawn Merriman to Rodney Harrison to Antonio Gates to Marcellus Wiley to Drayton Florence to Lorenzo Neal, all the way on down to long-time backup quarterback Billy Volek, I completely detest this team, the organization, the management and everything they stand for and are proud of — from Chris Berman’s non-stop gurgling of their powder-blue throwback jerseys, to that ridiculous after-school special disguised as a theme song.
And of course, I could certainly write two books about how deeply I revile Phillip Rivers, and how happy his anguish and pain genuinely makes me. Short of wishing injury or illness on him (because that’s never cool), I want nothing more than to see him completely and utterly destroyed as a football being. I could inherit Warren Buffet’s fortune, sleep with Sofia Vergara and absorb the mutant powers of Wolverine all in one twenty-four hour period. But if Rivers has a day against the Raiders in that same period, I’d be the angriest man on the planet.
As such, the Chargers games are always the most fun match-ups for me in any given year. Even when the Raiders were unspeakably, unimaginably bad, the Chargers would manage to find a way to keep the game reasonably close, with only a handful of real blowouts occurring over the five-season stretch that they swept us for.
Who could ever forget that 2008, Week 4 debacle, when the Raiders after holding the Chargers to three points for three quarters, gave up 25 points in the fourth and lost by 10? I know someone who certainly hasn’t.
Or 2010, when we snapped the Chargers’ thirteen-game win streak against us in a wild game that featured two blocked punts and a Tyvon Branch fumble return to seal it? Classic.
How about my personal favorite from 2013 — a game delayed so long by rain, it aired in central time at 10PM on NFL Network. Terrelle Pryor had me drinking the Kool-Aid, and the name “DJ Hayden” was used more in the context of possibility than liability.
More recently, last year’s Week 5 bout in San Diego, a curb-stomping that saw the Raiders up 37-6 after three frames, is a popular reference point.
Derek Carr showed out with all of his weapons, tossing three scores in a flash of the signal-caller he has become this season. There are a handful of plays from the 2015 campaign that I could watch on endless loop for the rest of my life. This is undoubtedly one of them:
And I can tell you without any sense of shame that I shed real tears after last year’s Christmas Eve overtime contest, watching the incomparable Charles Woodson deliver a farewell speech to the final Oakland crowd that he’d ever play in front of. I probably would’ve been emotional regardless, but the fact that Chuck’s last win was over the Chargers made it so so so much sweeter.
"Charles Woodson’s postgame speech was perfect (via @RAIDERS): https://t.co/LdOKXQq3ID— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 25, 2015"
So I don’t need to explain to you the temper and importance of this game. Yes, the 2016 Chargers look sluggish at 1-3, and seem to have an uncanny knack for coughing up games in the final quarter. But it’s a division game — more importantly, it’s an AFC West game. As history shows us, anything can and will happen.
Enjoy the game, Nation.