By Danny Cox
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The San Diego Chargers finished off the 2012 NFL regular season the exact same way that they began it, and that is with a victory over the Oakland Raiders. A season sweep of the Raiders though wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs, give them a winning record for the year, or possibly even help coach Norv Turner keep his job.
For the third straight season, the Chargers will miss the playoffs, and everyone from expert to fan is predicting that Turner won’t be back next season. In all actuality, even Turner himself is expecting to be ousted, and he let that be known after the game was over on Sunday.
“Obviously, we’re going to meet with the team and I’m sure they’ll start looking for a new coach,” said Turner, who has one year left on his contract, at $3 million.
With that being said, Chargers team president Dean Spanos said he would have something to say on Monday. It is also expected that general manager A.J. Smith will also be fired.
As for the game itself, it almost seemed like a runaway victory for the Chargers as they were up 24-7 with less than eight minutes to go. That was when Raiders’ first-time starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor went to work. He managed to get two late touchdowns for the Raiders, and made the Chargers look like they weren’t even on the field.
Still, the team did enough to get one final victory for Turner, and send him out on a high note. He’s been with the Chargers since February 2007, and he was quite emotional after the game.
“In there with the guys, I was brief because I want to spend some time and talk to them (Monday). It’s emotional. There is a lot going on.”
There was hardly anything to write home about for the Chargers on offense as they racked up a mere 210 total yards. Philip Rivers had 151 yards passing, but did throw two touchdowns. With a lead for most of the game, the Chargers didn’t pass a whole lot, and it shows by Rivers’ 13-of-17 completions to attempts.
That being said, San Diego tried as they might to run the ball, but could only muster 70 total yards on 31 rushing attempts. Jackie Battle received the bulk of the carries at 19, but he still only had 37 total yards on the ground. Still, they did enough to stay ahead.READ MORE: `Solidarity' Cited In New Deal For 40k Behind-the-Scenes Film & TV Workers
It’s not like the Raiders could do much better on offense, but the Chargers‘ defense isn’t really responsible for that. More than likely, it was just the fact that a Pryor got his first NFL start and the offense of the Raiders is just completely inept anyway. Pryor threw one interception, but that was the only turnover for the day, and he wasn’t sacked once.
Oakland finished with 265 total yards, and just kind of were there. It didn’t appear as if either team was really trying to do much of anything. The one big spark from the San Diego defense was linebacker Takeo Spikes getting ejected in the second quarter after getting into a fight with Raiders’ running back Mike Goodson.
The highlight of the game, for both teams, was San Diego’s Michael Spurlock taking the opening kickoff and returning it 99 yards for a touchdown. It was an exciting run back and he became the first Chargers player to have a kickoff and punt return for scores in consecutive weeks.
Nick Novak hit his lone field goal attempt of 30 yards and all three extra points.
Mike Scifres punted five times for an average of 50 yards, but he had one blocked late in the game. It set up Pryor’s second touchdown pass of the game, and brought them within three with less than two minutes to go.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.