OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Robert Meacham caught a 46-yard pass from Philip Rivers to set up a 23-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding, and the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders were tied 3-3 after the first quarter Monday night.
Meacham dived along the San Diego sideline to make the catch at Oakland’s 20-yard line. Rivers sailed passes to Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates before the Chargers settled for a field goal.
Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 51-yard field goal from the infield dirt to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead earlier in the quarter. The preseason opener for both teams had plenty of production but not points.
Darrius Heyward-Bey took a short pass from Carson Palmer for 13 yards and Darren McFadden caught a 9-yard pass before the drive stalled. Janikowski stayed steady despite a high snap and kicking from the infield dirt at the Coliseum — shared by baseball’s Oakland Athletics — to boot a wobbly line drive through the uprights.
Oakland moved the ball with relative ease on the game’s first possession until a familiar mistake flared up.
Rod Streater caught Palmer’s pass over the middle for what would have been a first down on third-and-4. As Streater spun around, Melvin Ingram came from behind to knock the ball lose and Antwan Barnes recovered at San Diego’s 29-yard line.
But the Chargers couldn’t capitalize on the turnover. Ronnie Brown caught a 4-yard pass, was stuffed for no gain and Matt Shaughnessy and David Tollefson sacked Rivers to force a punt.
The Raiders took over and Palmer led the seven-play, 33-yard drive that ended with Janikowski’s field goal. With the Miami Marlins getting a new ballpark this year, Oakland is the only stadium still shared by NFL and Major League Baseball teams.
The Raiders spiced up the home opener with a performance by rapper Ice Cube, who overcame a glitch on his microphone before getting a sold-out Coliseum crowd on its feet, singing lyrics and waving in unison. Gene Simmons from “Kiss” sang the national anthem, and former coach Tom Flores ignited the eternal flame in memory of owner Al Davis.
The season started the way last season ended for these two California franchises.
The Raiders would have won the AFC West had they beaten San Diego at home in the season finale. Instead, they lost 38-26 at home and missed the postseason for the ninth straight season.
Oakland hired general manager Reggie McKenzie, who promptly fired coach Hue Jackson, hired Dennis Allen as the replacement and began an upheaval of an organization sadly in need of it after being run one way for a half-century under Al Davis.
The Chargers are counting on continuity.
Coach Norv Turner was brought back for a sixth season in San Diego, which missed the playoffs for the second straight year following a run of four consecutive AFC West titles. A six-game losing streak in the middle of the season sent San Diego home early.
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