SAN FRANCISCO: The Oakland Raiders, playing possibly their final Bay Area home game, defeated San Diego 23-20 in overtime Thursday (Friday in Manila) in an NFL contest between two teams eliminated from playoff contention.
Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 31-yard field goal 6:55 into overtime to create the final margin and the Chargers could not manage a first down after that, an incomplete pass sealing Oakland’s triumph.
The Raiders (6-8) and Chargers (4-10), along with the St. Louis Rams, are looking at moving to Los Angeles as early as next season, Oakland not having a new stadium lease in place for 2016.
The Raiders share a stadium with baseball’s Oakland A’s. Once a common situation, it’s now the last such joint home venue.
NFL owners have a special meeting next month to discuss relocation, which could see the Raiders and Chargers share a new Los Angeles stadium.
Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson, the 39-year-old standout who announced his retirement earlier this week, played his last game in Oakland, whose fans saw the Raiders move to Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994 before returning.
“It will be sad for the fans,” Woodson said of a possible Raiders farewell. “They love the Raiders. They identify with this team. It’s happened to them before. It would be tough to actually have that happen a second time around.”
Woodson addressed the crowd after the game, telling supporters, “though it was my last game in the Coliseum, know that I will never leave you.”
San Diego’s Kendall Reyes intercepted a pass to set up a seven-play drive capped by Donald Brown’s one-yard touchdown run, but Oakland answered with Latavius Murray’s 22-yard touchdown run to equalize at 7-7.
Philip Rivers flipped a seven-yard touchdown pass to Dontrelle Inman to give San Diego a 14-7 lead, but the Raiders trimmed it on a 50-yard Janikowski field goal. It was his 52nd career field goal from 50 yards or more, matching an NFL record.
San Diego rookie Josh Lambo replied with a 47-yard field goal that put the Chargers ahead 17-10 at half-time.
Oakland’s defenders pulled off an unlikely score with a third-quarter safety, Denico Autry tackling Rivers for a six-yard loss in the end zone to pull the Raiders within 17-12 entering the fourth quarter.
The Chargers took a 53-yard field goal off the scoreboard when an Oakland penalty gave their drive new life. But after they failed to advance, a television replay appeal wiping out a touchdown catch, Lambo missed a 48-yard field goal try and San Diego lost a chance to boost the lead.
Oakland made them pay when Benson Mayowa, of Nigerian heritage, recovered a fumble and returned it 41 yards to the Chargers’ three-yard line.
On the next play, Michael Crabtree hauled in a touchdown pass from David Carr, who connected with Seth Roberts on a two-point conversion that gave Oakland a 20-17 lead.
Lambo equalized on a 45-yard field goal with 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to force overtime.