The Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers have a long-lasting rivalry that dates back to the 1960’s. The Raiders lead the series 63-52-2 despite losing 13 straight from December 2003 to November of 2009.
Until the Raiders were blessed by the presence of Derek Carr, the quarterback situation in Oakland seemed to be a never-ending game of musical chairs. On the flip side, the Chargers have used the services of Philip Rivers in each of these matchups since 2006.
As such, let’s take a look back on how Rivers has fared thus far against the Silver and Black.
Rivers VS Raiders
Even though the Chargers won their first eight games against the Raiders with Rivers under center, his statistical output was nothing to brag about early on.
In his first three seasons starting against Oakland, Rivers only managed an average of 154 yards per game with a total of seven touchdown passes and four interceptions. Not terrible, but not great either.
The next three years Rivers would see a huge spike in production as he averaged nearly 300 yards per game against the Raiders while throwing 10 touchdown passes and five interceptions. Even though Rivers saw an increased stat line, the Bolts would split with the Raiders going 3-3 over this span.
From 2012-2014 Rivers would throw for fewer yards, averaging 250 per game, and again tossed 10 touchdown passes while throwing one less interception (4). Rivers and company would dominate the Raiders over this stretch going 5-1.
The most recent slate of games from 2015-2017, Rivers has increased his yards per game to 305 as well as his touchdowns (14) and has thrown five interceptions. Once again for Rivers, the increased stats haven’t translated to wins as the Raiders have won four of the last six.
Forcing Turnovers Is Critical
The two most recent wins for the Chargers both came last season as the Ken Norton Jr. and John Pagano led defense for Oakland failed to produce a single Rivers turnover. The two other times Rivers had zero turnovers in a season series came in 2012 and 2014. Over the three combined instances, the Chargers defeated the Raiders all six times.
Forcing Rivers to commit turnovers is almost required in order to defeat the Chargers. In the eight games where the Raiders have defeated the Chargers when led by Rivers, he only has one game where he failed to turn the ball over at least once (2015). The seven other games where the Raiders won, Rivers has a combined 13 turnovers. In the 16 games where Rivers and the Chargers beat the Raiders, he has 10 turnovers. It’s not necessarily a number to be proud of, however, in half the amount of games he has three more turnovers.
The defense forcing turnovers is not the only element needed for a win on Sunday, the offense has to perform well too. Derek Carr must keep the offense humming once again in order to keep the Chargers ground game at bay. When the Chargers are forced to rely on the arm of Rivers in a greater capacity, he is more prone to commit turnovers.