SAN DIEGO — Cole Ford kicked three field goals and Derrick Fenner had a 17-yard touchdown reception as the Oakland Raiders limited the San Diego Chargers to 29 yards rushing in a 23-14 victory Monday night.
Oakland (4-4) has won three straight games to move one-half game behind San Diego (4-3) for third place in the AFC West.
“San Diego has a tough defense and forced us to throw a lot,” Raiders coach Mike White said. “Jeff (Hostetler) threw well tonight and had a great game. I’m just so happy for these players. Our defense did an exceptional job. I think Chester (McGlockton) had the best game he’s ever had as a Raider. This was a real breakthrough for us, now we have to keep going from here.”
The Raiders are the winningest team on Monday Night Football with a 32-13-1 record (.711), and after a bye week, will be the first team to play back-to-back Monday night games when they host the Denver Broncos on November 4th.
“I thought I had a very good game, but I don’t know if I agree with Mike that is was my best game as a Raider,” McGlockton said. “I just go into one those grooves tonight and everything seemed to work in our favor.”
Backup quarterback Sean Salisbury was 22-of-35 for 252 yards and one interception for the Chargers, who have split the last four season series with the Raiders. Salisbury replaced starting quarterback Stan Humphries, who suffered a separated left shoulder in the first quarter after he was tackled by Oakland’s Chester McGlockton.
“We’ll just see how it goes tonight and tomorrow,” Humphries said. “My arm popped out and they popped it back in when they rolled me over. It’s day-to-day to see how it goes. I had this injury four years ago and I came back the next week to play in the wild-card game against Kansas City and we won.”
“When your quarterback goes down like that, I have a job to always be ready,” Salisbury said. “I felt very good out there playing. We didn’t win the game and the rest doesn’t matter. It’s my job to go in when I’m called upon.”
Ford kicked a 36-yard field goal 3:33 into the second quarter to give the Raiders a 10-7 lead at halftime. Jeff Hostetler’s 17-yard scoring pass to Fenner capped an 8-play, 65-yard drive, extending Oakland’s lead to 17-7 with 8:02 left in the third quarter.
Pat Swilling recovered a fumble by Salisbury and returned it 49 yards before Ford’s 32-yarder increased the lead to 20-7 with 3:12 left in the third.
“I just picked up the ball and ran, all I could think of was someone was gonna hit me from behind,” Swilling said. ”The bye is big because we’re banged up and hurting. We’ll be ready to contend when we come off our week off.”
Salisbury’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Tony Martin, pulled the Chargers within 20-14 just under two minutes into the fourth. It was the league-leading ninth touchdown reception for Martin, who had catches of 25 and 31 yards on the 13-play, 79-yard scoring drive.
“It’s a miracle we were as close as we were with some of the things that happened,” Chargers coach Bobby Ross said. ”There were times late in the game we had both linebackers out. Junior (Seau) and Kurt (Gouveia), after both got their bell rung by hitting each other. We had a lot of things like that happen during the course of the game. More so than any game I’ve been in. Obviously, losing Stan doesn’t help us and even with that happening and with all the other things, we still had a chance to win.”
Dan Turk recovered Darrien Gordon’s fumbled punt return at the San Diego 19, and three plays later, Ford booted a 34-yard field goal for the final points with 2:11 to go in the fourth.
“He kicked it high and short, a couple of guys came and blocked my vision and I hesitated for a split second,” Gordon said. “But there’s no excuse, I still have to make that catach. If there’s any indecision, I should let it go.”
Napolean Kaufman, who had 56 yards on 13 carries, scored on a 12-yard run to give Oakland a 7-0 advantage just over three minutes into the game.
Martin caught an 11-yard pass from Salisbury as the Chargers tied the score with three seconds left in the first.
Hostetler was 20-of-33 for 191 yards and one interception.