Oakland gets playoff spot
Janikowski only Raider left from previous trip, in 2003
san diego» The Oakland Raiders are going back to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, earning a postseason nod on the same field where they were so thoroughly humiliated in the Super Bowl in January 2003.
Fittingly, the only player remaining from that roster, kicker Sebastian Janikowksi, helped the Raiders punch their ticket. He kicked a 44yard field goal with 2:40 left, his fourth of the game, and the Raiders beat the San Diego Chargers 19-16 in the Relocation Bowl on Sunday.
“I can’t even describe my words man. It feels so special. I waited a long time for that,” Janikowski said.
So have their fans, and they packed Qualcomm Stadium, outnumbering Chargers fans by roughly 80 percent to 20 percent in the crowd of 68,352, the largest in San Diego this season.
All that Silver and Black backing the Raiders (11-3) provided a surreal atmosphere to the game, which might be the Chargers’ second to last in San Diego after 56 seasons.
Team chairman Dean Spanos seems almost certain to move the team to the Los Angeles area after failing to get a big public subsidy to help him replace aging Qualcomm Stadium.
The Raiders could be on the move, too, with owner Mark Davis eyeing Las Vegas, although they’d still play in Oakland until a new stadium was built in Sin City.
A sour relationship between Spanos and the Chargers fans, as well as yet another losing season, gives the appearance of a franchise flaming out. Raiders fans were all too happy to snap up available tickets.
“I was very excited, very joyful, looking around the stadium and seeing our fans just going crazy,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “When we come to San Diego, our fans turn it into a home game. We always think we get nine home games a year.”
The Chargers (5-9) were eliminated from the playoff chase when Miami beat the New York Jets on Saturday night.
Latavius Murray of the Oakland Raiders fumbles the ball during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.