Raiders know to beat San Diego they have to stop Tomlinson
By Bill Soliday, STAFF WRITER
ALAMEDA — The last five times the Raiders have met the San Diego Chargers, the word "close" rarely came up.
The Bolts won five straight times and have more than doubled the score on Oakland. The numbers are ugly:
-A total of 147 points for San Diego, 69 for Oakland.
-San Diego has scored 21 points or more every time.
-Oakland has never scored more than 17.
Never in the 92-game history of this intrastate rivalry have the Chargers beaten the Raiders that many times in succession. They have only won as many as four in a row once (1961-62).
These, of course, have not been normal times in Oakland. The Raiders, once the scourge of the AFC West, are 2-16 over the past three years in division games.
Which brings us to Monday night when the Raiders and Chargers kick off their 2006 season at McAfee Coliseum. The time is different for a Monday kickoff (7:15), and the time has come for the Raiders to turn back the clock and repudiate the trend.
Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp has a plan, one quite simple yet not so easily accomplished:
Stop LaDainian Tomlinson and force Drew Brees' replacement, the inexperienced Philip Rivers, to win the game from the quarterback position.