SAN DIEGO – Carson Palmer looked like an NFL quarterback again, not like a guy who had settled into semi-retirement in Southern California.
Philip Rivers looked, well, like the turnover-prone quarterback that he’s been since opening day.
Palmer threw two touchdown passes and Michael Bush ran 30 times for a season-high 157 yards and one touchdown to lead the Oakland Raiders to a 24-17 win over San Diego on Thursday night, the Chargers’ fourth straight loss.
The Raiders (5-4) broke a two-game losing streak and took a half-game lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
“I wouldn’t call it a must-win, but it was a big win for us,” Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. “These games in a sense count twice.
“It’s a win and also it’s a win in the division. It gives us a leg up right now.”
Palmer threw touchdown passes of 33 and 26 yards to Denarius Moore in his second start and third appearance since being acquired in a trade with Cincinnati. He’d been semi-retired and living in Del Mar, just north of San Diego, before being traded. He lives next door to Chargers coach Norv Turner. Palmer was 14 of 20 for 299 yards, with one interception.
Bush helped carry the load for the Raiders with his running and also had three catches for 85 yards.
The Chargers (4-5) looked dismal most of the night and lost left tackle Marcus McNeill, right guard Louis Vasquez and linebacker Takeo Spikes to injuries.
The Raiders have won three straight against the Chargers. Before that, San Diego had won 13 straight in a rivalry that dates to the birth of the AFL.
With the Chargers threatening to tie it, Rivers was intercepted in the end zone by Matt Giordano with 3:22 left. It was Rivers’ NFL- and career-high 15th interception.
Rivers was sacked on consecutive plays near midfield to end the game. He fumbled on the final play, giving him an NFL-high 19 turnovers.
Rivers was 23 of 47 for 274 yards. He was sacked six times as the Raiders overwhelmed Brandyn Dombrowski, who replaced McNeill at left tackle.
“Obviously some of the offensive linemen went down and we smelled blood and we just went after him,” Seymour said.
“All week our defensive coordinator said, ‘Hey, they can score from anywhere on the field and it’s going to be up to our defensive front to get pressure on the quarterback’,” Seymour added.