The Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers will tee it up in Losa Angeles this Sunday in a rivalry that dates back to 1960. The names, faces, and uniforms - and cities - may have changed over the years, but one thing remains – a hotly contested rivalry.
When the Raiders began play in 1960 as part of the American Football League, the Chargers were based in Los Angeles. Al Davis was an assistant coach with the Chargers until he was hired as General Manager and Head Coach of the Raiders in 1963. The Chargers dominated the series from 1960-1962 winning the first six meetings between the two clubs. The Chargers also moved to San Diego prior to the 1961 season. The Raiders rebounded to sweep the series in 1963, and split two close games in 1964. After a Chargers sweep in 1965, and a split in 1966, the Raiders swept two of the next three season series with San Diego. Even though the AFL was known for free-wheeling offenses and vertical passing, Raiders match-ups with the Chargers were unusually high scoring. The Raiders scored more than 40 points three times, and surpassed 50 points once vs. the Chargers from 1960-1969.
In one particular game in 1963, the Raiders erased a 20-10 halftime deficit and erupted for 31 fourth quarter points to defeat San Diego 41-27 at Frank Youell Field.
The 1971 contest between the two squads demonstrated Silver and Black dominance on the defensive side of the ball by blanking San Diego 34-0, which in turn began a nine week unbeaten streak. The 1972 season finale proved a close matchup in San Diego as the Raiders came away with a 21-19 victory to capture their fifth AFC West Division title in six seasons. Entering the 1977 season, the Raiders had defeated the Chargers 14 consecutive times, as the Silver and Black continued their supremacy throughout the NFL that decade. The afternoon of September 10, 1978, will be etched in the memories of football fans for generations to come. When it comes to football lore, few moments in NFL history are so significant that they earn a specific nickname. One such bizarre play in the midst of the Raiders-Chargers matchup was just that and today is simply referred to as the “Holy Roller.” Ten seconds remained in Week Two when Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler dropped back to pass as the Chargers defensive front was fast approaching, realizing there was nothing else he could do, Stabler hurled the ball forward. As the ball rolled loose on the ground, Raiders running back Pete Banaszak swatted it toward the end zone. Dave Casper then continued the ball’s forward motion with a kick at the five yard line and was able to fall on in it in the end zone for a touchdown, as the clock ran out putting the Silver and Black on top with the extra point to conclude the game at a score of 21-20. The “Holy Roller” will forever be known as one of the greatest plays in Raider history.
The year of 1980 offered another exciting moment in the Raiders-Chargers series. The Raiders traveled to San Diego to face a Chargers team that was the only thing standing in the way of a trip to New Orleans and Super Bowl XV. Tagged as one of the greatest games in Raider history, the match showcased quarterback Jim Plunkett’s arm as he passed for 261 yards, two touchdowns, and a game long 65-yard connection to Raymond Chester that put the Silver and Black on the board first. With a hard fought first half, the Raiders led 28-14 heading into the locker room, as the Chargers refueled and came out in the second half and began to chip away at the Raider lead. With the closest score of the game, 28-24, coming in the third quarter the Raiders began to pull away and the Chargers wouldn’t see the end zone beyond that point. The Raiders came out triumphant with a score of 34-27, coming out on top of the 1980 season as World Champions when they knocked off the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV. December 18, 1983 the Raiders concluded the strike shortened season by defeating the Chargers 41-34 and finishing with an NFL best regular season record of 8-1.
The 1990 meeting between the two teams resulted in a 17-12 Silver and Black victory as the Raiders earned their 14th AFC Division Championship and sealed their 16th trip to the postseason. In 2002 the Raiders beat the Chargers at home 27-7 as they ripped through the regular season en route to a Super Bowl appearance. The 2003 Week 3 matchup between the Raiders and Chargers provided another exhilarating moment as the game went beyond regulation. The Raiders were able to pull from behind in the final minutes of fourth quarter to tie the game 31-31 on a Charlie Garner 24-yard rushing touchdown. The Silver and Black were then able to come out with a 34-31 overtime victory with a Sebastian Janikowski field goal.
The Chargers then ripped off an unprecedented string of 13 victories in a row in the series. The crazy thing is, that’s not the longest winning streak in the series. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 18 times in a row from 1968-1977.
The Raiders snapped that streak and reeled off three straight wins over the Chargers. San Diego then won three meetings in a row. The two teams split the season series in 2013 as the Raiders won a game after the latest kickoff in NFL history at O.co Coliseum in Oakland and the Chargers took the match-up in San Diego. In 2014, the Chargers won a thriller in Oakland, 31-28, in Week 6. Five weeks later, the Chargers took another close one, 13-6, at Qualcomm Stadium.
The Raiders swept the series in 2015, as they jumped out to a big lead in the first match-up of the year and held on for a 37-29 win at San Diego. In the rematch on Christmas Eve in Oakland, the Raiders won another thriller, 23-20 in overtime, in what would be future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson’s last home game.
Last season, the Raiders held on for a 34-31 victory over the Chargers in Week 5 in Oakland. The holder for the Chargers was unable to place the ball on what would have been a game-tying field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter and the Raiders were able to close it out. In Week 15 in San Diego, the Raiders again held on for a three-point victory, 19-16, as the Silver and Black clinched their first playoff berth in 14 years.
The Chargers snapped a four-game losing streak to the Raiders with a 17-16 win on Oct. 15 in Oakland. Despite the Raiders recent success against their longtime rival, the Raiders average margin of victory in those four games is 4 ¼ points. The last seven meetings? The average winning margin is less than 4.5 points.
This game will be the first meeting in Los Angeles between the two teams since Sept. 25, 1994, and the first time the Chargers have hosted to the Raiders in Los Angeles since Nov. 27, 1960.