The Oakland Raiders had a golden opportunity to make the playoffs when the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 7-3. All they had to do was win and they were in. But they were unable to stop Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers.
Up 24-13 at halftime, Rivers has directed two big touchdown drives to keep Oakland up and ahead of the Raiders. The Raiders have had to settle for Sebastian Janikowski field goals when they needed touchdowns, as Oakland got into scoring position three times in the second half and ended up with nine points instead of 21.
San Diego got the points they needed thanks to some big drives by Rivers, as he hit Vincent Jackson for a 13 yard touchdown to put San Diego up 31-16. When the Raiders got within striking distance and made it 31-26, it looked as if the tide had completely swung when San Diego was pinned at their own goal-line after a botched kickoff return. But Rivers found Malcolm Floyd for 19 yards, then Mike Tolbert broke loose for 40 yards, and Rivers found Floyd for a 43 yard score that put Oakland back up two scores. Oakland tried driving again fro another score, but Palmer threw a pick right to Antoine Cason.
Rivers completed over 70% of his passes with 300+ yards passing, and nearly 12 yards per pass attempt. The Broncos are now the AFC West champions, and the Raiders are headed home.