Oakland Raiders Week-1 Vs the San Diego Chargers
Jerry Rump – Sep 8, 2012
Finally, the long wait is drawing to a close and all of Raider Nation is in anticipation as we have to await the final game of the opening weekend in order to see our beloved Oakland Raiders take the field on Monday night against the San Diego Chargers. This game has been a long time coming as so much has transpired since last we saw our Raiders take the field.
There is so much more to this game than just another season opener. This team has a lot to live up to as expectations have been through the roof during the off-season. Raider fans everywhere have expressed their desire to see the team put the horror of the last decade behind them and a return to the prestige that once sent fear into the hearts and souls of their rivals and the "haters."
To point out that history has reached a turning point for the Raiders does not do it justice. Very appropriately, this team is said to be in a "new era of excellence" and at the same time, they will attempt to experience a rebirth for a franchise that has struggled in its worst depression ever over the last decade.
Let’s review a little of what has transpired since the last San Diego game.
As everyone throughout the Nation knows, the Raiders enter the 2012 season under new leadership for the first time in nearly five decades. Owner Mark Davis named Reggie McKenzie the team’s General Manager on Jan. 10, making McKenzie the first person to hold the GM title since Al Davis was named head coach and General Manager in 1963 . McKenzie named Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen head coach on Jan. 30.
Perhaps it is an omen of things to come that the Autumn Wind makes their first appearance in this new era on ESPN’s Monday Night Football as the Raiders will look to recapture some of the glory they have exhibited in the past on this nationally televised stage.
Monday nights have been kind to the Raiders as their overall record is 37-26-1 under the lights in primetime. San Diego meanwhile is only 18-17 in their attempts on the nation-wide stage. The two will meet for the tenth time on MNF with Oakland leading the series 5-4 and overall in head to head matchups against the Chargers with the series record at 57-45-2.
The Raiders’ longest winning streak is also against the Chargers with ten straight from 1972 to 1977. To put it bluntly, this series is chock full of rich history and dominated by streaks.
Case in point, it is important to point out that Monday will mark the 34th anniversary of “The Holy Roller,” one of the most famous endings to any game in pro football history, which saw the Raiders triumph 21-20 at San Diego on September 10th, 1978. Another good omen for the Raiders as they will look to rekindle some of that magic from old.
I bring up the history factor about the Raiders on MNF because this year, so many firsts are involved where the Silver and Black are concerned. It is truly an unprecedented time for the Raiders as never before in the team’s history has so much occurred over an offseason.
Foremost, it cannot be reiterated enough that this is the first season opener without Al Davis since 1962. Practically five decades that the Godfather has controlled every aspect of the team and it is in his honor that the Raiders and all diehard fans will carry on the tradition he began when they take the field Monday night.
Subsequently, it is the first year for GM, Reggie McKenzie, and HC, Dennis Allen and his staff. Allen is the third head coach to make his debut versus the Chargers following Mike Shanahan (1988) and Mike White(1995) who both posted victories, a feat Allen will look to duplicate and as they say the third time is a charm. Allen is the 18th coach in franchise history and the youngest head coach in the NFL in 2012.
It’s also the first time Raider Nation will see Darren McFadden and Carson Palmer in a real game together. To say that this debut has been a long time coming is really understating the facts just a little bit.
There are 23 new faces on the squad and this is the first game running the new schemes brought in by Allen and his coordinators, Gregg Knapp and Jason Tarver. Headlining the new guys on the squad will be the starting cornerbacks, as both Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell look to make their Raider debuts by shutting down Phillip Rivers and San Diego’s much heralded is passing attack.
Speaking of that passing attack, history would not be complete without some tragedy and unfortunately, there has been a lot of that as of late in this series.
The tragedy I speak of is that the Chargers have won 14 of the last 17 meetings including 13 straight wins from 2003-2009. This losing fiasco was capped by last year’s finale in which Rivers toasted the Raiders going 19-26 for 310 yards 3 td’s and a passer rating of 135.1. Thanks for that Bresnahan! That 13 game losing streak,by the way, is the longest in franchise history.
Enough of that as it is high time we change, along with the team, the tragic consequences of the last decade. The Chargers may think it is just another season opener and more of the same old Raiders, but those in Raider Nation know this game means so much more.
This game marks a turning point where so much more is on the line than just another season opener. Winning this game and starting the new era out on a high note is incredibly vital to this organization and its rabid fan-base.
The history the Raiders look to erase is the worst era ever for this iconic team. The last ten years to be perfectly clear have only accomplished one thing. That one thing is that the bandwagon fans have been weeded out, or at the very least exposed, as only true fans could proudly declare their loyalty and support the performance from the Raiders in this un-Raider like decade of demise.
The history the Raiders will look to revive this season is the history that Reggie McKenzie was a part of when he played linebacker for the Raiders back in the 80’s. This history gave rise to sayings like the Team of the Decades and held the phrases the Raiders are renowned for like, "Commitment to Excellence" and "Just Win Baby" in high regards, rather than the nostalgic comments in passing that they have been of late.
These traditions and sayings were almost as good as dead when one looks at the recent history of Oakland. From poor coaching choices to some of the most undisciplined play in team history, this recent decade has been a disgrace that only true fans can endure and quite honestly, until this time period, it had never before happened in Raider history.The team just never had a bad run that lasted so long!
So, to put it nicely, everyone in Raider Nation is prepared to do their part and throw a shovel full of dirt on the time period from 2003 until now. This is why there is so much riding on the game this Monday night.
When the team takes the field Monday night, all of Raider Nation will be pumped beyond adequate description, as they will all look for Oakland to reclaim their territory in the AFC West at the head of the division.
This game marks the beginning of something great. A moment in time where not only the AFC West, but all of the NFL, will be put on notice that the marauders from the east bay have returned.
In the end, I will go out on a limb and predict a blowout in favor of the Raiders, as most of the experts have overlooked the facts presented in this article and predicted a close game. My reasoning for this prediction is that the emotions of not only the team, but all of Raider Nation are just too high for the Chargers to match.
This Raider team has much more riding on the outcome of this game besides just opening the season on a high note. Some may say this adds huge pressure that might trip the Raiders up. I say this is the kind of thing that inspires them to go out and do something special.
Winning this game is the one thing that can erase the bitter taste in the mouths of Raider fans everywhere left over from that debacle at the end of last season, while it also starts us down the path to returning to glory and bringing home that fourth Lombardi trophy, which is what it is all about after all.
It is this emotion that will fuel the fire coming from the Black Hole Monday night and quite frankly, San Diego will not be able to sustain the 60 minutes of fury that is coming their way. Norv Turner has no clue what he is in store for as Dennis Allen has been very coy to not tip his hand in any way preceding this game as to what he plans to unleash.
What I am expecting is a dominant run-game led by Darren McFadden. This guy holds the key to victory as once the beast is unleashed, the Chargers simply will not have an answer and find themselves beaten before they even realize it.
Since we’re stating some facts about the Raiders on Monday Night Football, did you know that Bo Jackson holds the all-time rushing record on Monday Night Football with his 18 carries that equaled 221 yards and three touchdown performance on November 30th 1987. I believe everyone that was alive at the time remembers that night very well—especially the Seahawks' Brian "The Boz" Bosworth!
I point this out because the Raiders possess that same type of athlete in DMC and he can very well post those same kind of numbers on the Chargers. Of course, this is ALL just speculation upon my part, but I think coach Allen will come out to make a statement and running the ball all over the Chargers is exactly the kind of statement I believe he wants to make.
In the end only a dominant performance by the Raiders can equal the expectations put upon this team and I do not think the Silver and Black will disappoint. This is my reasoning for predicting nothing short of a total annihilation of the Chargers to begin the New Era.
So how about you Raider Nation, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME RAIDER FOOTBALL?
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