SAN DIEGO (AP) — For three quarters, the Oakland Raiders embarrassed their possible future stadium mates, the San Diego Chargers.
Not only did Oakland practically run San Diego out of its own stadium, but there were enough Raiders fans to make it feel almost like a home game.
Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes, including a nifty 52-yarder to Amari Cooper, and Oakland turned two interceptions of Philip Rivers into 10 points on its way to a 37-29 victory over the Chargers on Sunday in what could be the last showdown between the AFC West foes played in San Diego.
It was the first meeting of the Raiders (3-3) and Chargers (2-5) since their owners announced plans to build a $1.7 billion stadium in an industrial Los Angeles suburb if they can’t get new stadiums in their home markets.
Coming off a bye, the Raiders looked quicker and more efficient. They scored on their first seven drives and kept the Chargers out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
“That’s the longest we have sustained really good football as a team in all three phases,” first-year coach Jack Del Rio said. “I’m really happy for our guys.”
Veteran safety Charles Woodson said allowing 23 points in the fourth quarter “was almost like a blueprint for how not to finish games.”
Del Rio didn’t seem perturbed about that.
“That’s not going to be the focus. The focus is going to be that we got a win that we needed,” Del Rio said.
Cooper, the first-round draft pick out of Alabama, caught a short pass from Carr on an inside screen and raced through the defense to give the Raiders a 30-3 lead just before halftime. He finished with five catches for 133 yards.
Carr, the second-year pro out of Fresno State, also threw touchdown passes of 23 yards to Clive Walford and 25 yards to Michael Crabtree. Carr was 24 of 31 for 289 yards.
The Raiders didn’t have to punt until midway through the third quarter.
“Coming out of the bye was big for us to come out hot, come out rolling,” Carr said.
“It was sickening in how fast it happened,” said Rivers, who was coming off a 503-yard performance in a gut-wrenching, 27-20 loss at Green Bay the previous Sunday. “Shoot, it was 30-6 at halftime.”
Said coach Mike McCoy: “It was poor all around. It’s pathetic. That first half was pathetic. No excuses it starts with me. Put it on me.”
The Chargers got in trouble right away in their third consecutive loss.
Oakland’s Malcolm Smith intercepted a tipped pass on the game’s third play and returned to the San Diego 2. Latavius Murray scored on a 1-yard run two plays later.
Sebastian Janikowski kicked the first of his three field goals, from 29 yards, and Carr found Walford for an easy 23-yard score and a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter.
Two plays into the next San Diego drive, Rivers tried to force a pass to Keenan Allen and it was picked off by DJ Hayden, giving the Raiders the ball at the Chargers 31. Janikowski kicked a 32-yard field goal.
“I think we need more touchdowns,” Carr said. “Field goals aren’t enough in this league. We had a lull. That’s where inexperience kicked in, where I have to do a better job on staying on the guys about finishing.”
The Chargers played without star tight end Antonio Gates (knee) and safety Eric Weddle (groin), and rookie running back Melvin Gordon was benched for the first half, apparently more punishment for his two fumbles in a gut-wrenching 27-20 loss at Green Bay. Gordon was benched for the second half of that game after losing one of the two fumbles. He has lost three of four fumbles this season.
The Chargers’ future in San Diego is uncertain. They walked away from negotiations with city and county officials for a new stadium in mid-June and have been focusing on getting to Los Angeles. The Chargers and Raiders apparently were spooked into action after St. Louis owner Stan Kroenke announced plans for a stadium in Inglewood.
Rivers was 38 of 58 for 336 yards. He had scoring passes of 31 yards to Ladarius Green and 8 and 6 yards to Danny Woodhead, all in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Chargers LG Orlando Franklin left with a knee injury. He missed the previous three games with a high ankle sprain. ... Raiders LB Neiron Ball also left with a knee injury. ... The Chargers have lost five of their last seven AFC games and eight of 11 games overall.