The San Diego Chargers defeated The Oakland Raiders 24-20 in a thriller to open the 2009 regular season at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. WR Louis Murphy caught his first career touchdown pass on a 57-yard strike from QB JaMarcus Russell to give the Raiders a late 20-17 lead, but the Silver and Black couldn't hang on.
The Raiders won the opening coin toss and elected to receive. RB Louis Rankin returned K Nate Kaeding's opening kickoff 23 yards to the Oakland 29. The Raiders opening drive ended when QB JaMarcus Russell was intercepted by CB Quentin Jammer who returned the pick 24 yards to the San Diego 29.
The Raiders held the Chargers to a three-and-out, and after a P Mike Scifres 49-yard punt and a WR Johnnie Lee Higgins fair catch, the Raiders offense took over at their own 16. RB Michael Bush capped off the 10-play, 84-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown blast. K Sebastian Janikowski's extra point gave the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 3:13 left in the first quarter.
A few plays later, S Michael Huff recovered a RB LaDainian Tomlinson fumble at the Oakland 9. The Raiders next drive ended when LB Stephen Cooper recovered a RB Darren McFadden fumble at the Oakland 45.
Seven plays later, Tomlinson cashed in from a yard out and Kaeding's extra point tied the game at 7-7 with 4:45 left in the second quarter.
The Raiders were unable to move the ball on their next possession and P Shane Lechler came on to punt. After Sproles' return of the 55-yard punt, the Chargers took over at their own 13.
The Raiders held the Chargers to a three-and-out and Scifres came on to punt. Higgins returned the 65-yard kick 14 yards to the Oakland 36. WR Louis Murphy had a touchdown catch taken away by a booth review. Janikowski came on and drilled a 37-yard field goal to put the Raiders up 10-7 with 40 second left in the second quarter.
Sproles returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards to the Raiders 41-yard line. A few plays later, Kaeding tied the game at 10-10 with a 47-yard field goal.
Sproles was dropped after returning the opening kickoff of the second half 18 yards to the San Diego 15. San Diego drove into Raiders territory but their drive ended when Huff picked off a QB Philip Rivers' pass that was tipped by safety Tyvon Branch. The Raiders took over at their own 37. However, the Chargers forced a three-and-out and Lechler came on to punt.
Sproles returned the 54-yard punt to the San Diego 18. The Raiders returned the favor with a three-and-out. Higgins returned Scifres 57-yard 19 yards punt to the Chargers 48. The Raiders were unable to mount a drive and punted the ball back to the Chargers. Lechler's punt bounced into the end zone for a touchback.
Penalties backed the Chargers up and they were unable to convert on 3rd and 30. Higgins returned the punt to the Oakland 27. The Raiders went three-and-out and were forced to punt. Sproles returned Lechler's punt to the San Diego 33.
A DE Greg Ellis sack brough San Diego's next drive to an end and Higgins called for and made a fair catch of the Scifres' punt at the Oakland 32. Janikowski's 35-yard field goal capped a seven-play, 51-yard drive and gave the Silver and Black a 13-10 lead with 13:01 left in the fourth quarter.
Sproles returned the ensuing kickoff to the Chargers 23. Rivers found WR Vincent Jackson for a 15-yard scoring pass and Kaeding added the extra point to cap a 10-play, 77-yard drive and take a 17-13 lead with 7:22 left in the game.
Rankin returned the ensuing kickoff to the Oakland 29. Several plays later Murphy got his touchdown after all when he got behind the defense on 4th and 14 and hauled in a 57-yard TD strike from Russell. Janikowski's PAT gave the Raiders a 20-17 lead with 2:34 left to play.
Sproles returned the ensuing kickoff 12 yards to the 11. San Diego marched down the field and scored on a 4-yard Sproles touchdown run. Kaeding's extra point gave the Chargers a 24-20 lead with 18 seconds left.
Russell's last second heave was intercepted and San Diego secured the victory. The Raiders travel to Kansas City next week to face the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.