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Amari Cooper leads Raiders in win over Chargers

*It was separation day in the AFC West, as the Oakland Raiders lambasted the Chargers in San Diego 37-29 in a game that wasn't nearly that close. Here's what we learned: *

  1. This game was a fantastic opportunity for one of these teams to step up in a watered down AFC West as the clear second place team that could contend for a wild card. The Raiders left no doubt they were that team on the way to a 37-6 lead after three quarters. The Raiders, now 3-3, scored on their first seven possessions and didn't punt or turn the ball over in the first half for the first time since 2002.
  1. Amari Cooper is a force of nature. He leaped over a defender to save a dangerously late Derek Carr pass over the middle for a 44-yard gain in the second quarter. Just a few minutes later he took a short pass and weaved through the Chargers defense for a 52-yard score. Carr is playing consistent, heady, clean football. Cooper is playing like a Pro Bowler. With 133 yards, he has topped 100 yards in half his career games.
  1. Don't let Philip Rivers' final numbers (336 yards, 3 scores, 2 interceptions) fool you. He struggled badly in the first half when the game was in doubt. The pass protection and lack of Antonio Gates Sunday certainly didn't help matters, but Rivers did not help his case Sunday. The Chargers, now 2-5, are playing with such a small margin for error because of their dink and dunk offense and erratic defense.
  1. Raiders fans should enjoy this one. They were giving standing ovations in San Diego and making it very difficult for Philip Rivers to get plays off. At home.
  1. The Chargers don't have any big defensive playmakers. Corey Liuget is getting paid like a superstar, but plays like a solid starter. He could also face a big fine after kicking Raiders tackle Donald Penn in the chest. The Chargers have spent a lot of capital at inside linebacker (Manti Te'o, Donald Butler, and Denzel Perryman) without much production.
  1. San Diego also isn't getting much production out of their "stars." First-round pick Melvin Gordon barely played after fumbling twice last week. Cornerback Brandon Flowers continued his rough season.
  1. On a relatively quiet night for Aldon Smith and Khalil Mack, the Raiders' defensive star was Malcolm Smith. He was all over the place, leading the team in tackles to go with an interception, a sack, two quarterback hits, and two passes defensed.
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