San Diego, CA – Philip Rivers tossed a pair of touchdown passes and the San Diego Chargers concluded their 2012 campaign with a 24-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium.
Rivers connected with Antonio Gates and Danario Alexander for scores and helped the Chargers (7-9) claim three of their final four contests. However the late season success probably won't be enough to save the job of head coach Norv Turner, who is expected to be let go following San Diego's third consecutive season without a postseason berth.
"Obviously, we're going to meet with the team and I'm sure they'll start looking for a new coach," Turner said of his future in San Diego.
In his first NFL start, Terrelle Pryor showed flashes of solid quarterback play and helped the Raiders (4-12) pull within a field goal late, but Oakland ultimately fell for the eighth time in nine tries to end its season.
In replacing an injured Carson Palmer, Pryor threw for 150 yards with two touchdowns and an interception on 13-of-28 efficiency, while also rushing for 49 yards and a score on nine carries.
"With Terrelle, like any young quarterback, you take a little bit of the good with the bad but overall I thought, not bad," Raiders coach Dennis Allen remarked of Pryor.
Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore each caught touchdown passes from Pryor, while Darren McFadden rushed for 57 yards on 19 carries in defeat.
Trailing 24-7, Oakland got two scores late in the fourth to make it a game, but were unable to finish the comeback.
They cut the deficit to 10 midway through the final period, as Pryor completed three passes to Rod Streater during a 76-yard scoring drive.
After making 14 and 15-yard receptions, Streater caught a 38-yard pass from Pryor down to the Chargers' 3-yard line. On the following play, Pryor ran it in on a scramble to make it 24-14.
Coye Francies then blocked a punt following a Chargers three-and-out to set up the Raiders offense on the San Diego 11. Three plays later, Pryor rolled to his right a lobbed a pass to Moore for a 5-yard touchdown with 1:52 remaining in the game.
However, with no timeouts remaining, the Raiders were forced to onside kick and were unable to recover, sealing the victory for the Chargers.
San Diego took the lead right away to start the game, as Week 16 special teams player of the week, Micheal Spurlock, returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
Nick Novak then added to the Chargers' advantage with a 30-yard field goal to put them ahead 10-0.
After the Raiders went three-and-out on their first two touches, Pryor began to get comfortable on their third possession.
During a 12-play, 80-yard march, he helped the Raiders convert three times on third down to prolong the drive, which culminated with a touchdown on a 9-yard toss to Heyward-Bey on 3rd-and-6, bringing the Raiders within 10-7.
However, the Chargers responded with a lengthy 14-play march to get back into the end zone. After converting 4th-and-1 on a fake punt, Rivers connected twice with Jackie Battle before firing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Gates to bring San Diego's lead back up to 10.
Trailing 17-7 going into the third, Pryor again had the Raiders on the move but on the 10th play of the drive, his pass intended for Heyward-Bey was intercepted by Quentin Jammer in the end zone, resulting in a touchback.
The Chargers started to create some separation with just under five minutes left in the third, as Rivers lofted a beautifully thrown ball to Alexander for a 34-yard touchdown, increasing San Diego's edge to 24-7.
Chargers Linebacker Takeo Spikes and Raiders running back Mike Goodson were ejected for fighting in the second quarter ... Rivers completed 13-of-17 throws for 151 yards. He becomes the first Charger ever with five straight seasons with at least 3,500 passing yards.