Oakland, CA – The Oakland Raiders, who are the last NFL team forced to play home games on a baseball team's infield dirt, had their fair share of groundballs on Monday.
Nate Kaeding made five field goals, three coming off Oakland special teams miscues, and the San Diego Chargers downed the Raiders, 22-14, to spoil Dennis Allen's head coaching debut in the season opener for both teams.
Philip Rivers completed 24-of-33 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown, while Malcom Floyd hauled in four balls for 66 yards a score for San Diego (1-0), which is coming off an 8-8 season.
Starting in place of starting running back Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown had five carries for just five yards.
Raiders standout long snapper Jon Condo left the game in the first half with a head injury. Reserve linebacker Travis Goethel took over the long snapping duties and hurled two into the dirt and was too slow on another, which led to a San Diego punt block. It was the first time that Raiders punter Shane Lechler was blocked in six years.
Carson Palmer threw for 297 yards with a touchdown on 32-of-46 efficiency and Darren McFadden carried the ball 15 times for 32 yards and added 86 yards on a career-high 13 receptions for the Raiders (0-1), who also went 8-8 a year ago.
Trailing 10-6 early in the third quarter, the Raiders lined up to go for a 4th-and-2 from the Chargers 48-yard line, but following a 12 men in the huddle penalty, they decided to punt it away. Goethel's snap rolled back to Lechler, who was tackled at the Raiders 39-yard line. This led to a 28-yard Kaeding field goal, which gave San Diego a 13-6 advantage.
On Oakland's next punt, Dante Rosario broke through the line of scrimmage and blocked Lechler for the first time since 2006. Once again, though, San Diego settled for a field goal, this one from 19 yards out for a 16-6 spread.
After Kaeding nailed a 41-yard field goal early in the fourth, Oakland lined up to punt on its ensuing series. Goethel put another snap into the ground and it gave the Chargers the ball at the Oakland 42-yard line, which led to Kaeding's career high-tying fifth field goal, this one from 45 yards out, which made it 22-6.
Oakland finally scored a touchdown with 54 seconds to play when Palmer found undrafted rookie receiver Rod Streater out of Temple for a two-yard score. He also hauled in a two-point conversion, which cut the deficit to eight, but San Diego recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the win.
Earlier, Sebastian Janikowski and Kaeding traded first-quarter field goals, 51 and 19 yards, respectively, before San Diego found the end zone late in the second quarter.
Rivers flipped a six-yard score over the middle to Floyd, which capped a 13- play, 90-play march that took just over eight minutes off the clock.
Janikowski booted through a 19-yard field goal right before the half, which pulled the hosts within 10-6 heading into the locker room.
The Raiders outgained the Chargers 321-258 ... Chargers outside linebacker Shaun Phillips had two sacks ... San Diego tight end Antonio Gates caught four passes for 43 yards.