But hey -- at least it's clean.
"I cannot remember the last time I coached a football game in the NFL that there was only one penalty," said San Diego's Marty Schottenheimer, who's in his 19th full season as a head coach and improved to 25-7 against the Raiders. "That is absolutely remarkable, and unfortunately we had the one."
"You could have made a lot of money betting that," Schottenheimer said about the Raiders' clean slate. "I couldn't believe it."
The Broncos lost 31-27 at Kansas City, which is tied for second place -- as well as the last wild-card spot -- with the Chargers. The defending division champion Chargers beat the Chiefs 28-20 on Oct. 30, and the teams will play again in Kansas City on Dec. 24. The Chargers will play host to Denver in the season finale on Dec. 31.
Of course, San Diego must still play at undefeated Indianapolis, on Dec. 18.
"We've been able to get up on them and just continue to pound them and pound them," Brees said. "I think we know that if we go out and play our game and execute that that should be the result."
San Diego got a scare when Tomlinson came out with a rib injury late in the second quarter. After talking with the team's medical staff on the sideline, he jogged to the locker room, accompanied by a doctor, with 22 seconds left before halftime.
Tomlinson was back for the start of the second half, carrying on the Chargers' first two plays. He finished with 86 yards on 25 carries.
"He wanted to finish but I decided it was time to give Michael a few shots," Schottenheimer said.
San Diego safety Clinton Hart, subbing for the injured Terrence Kiel, put the game away when he intercepted Kerry Collins' pass and returned it 70 yards for a score with 6:29 to play. Oakland didn't get its first first down of the second half until that drive.
"Their defense took control in the third quarter," Collins said. "They forced us three-and-out and put pressure on the quarterback."
The Chargers had gone up 24-10 on Brees' 1-yard throw to Eric Parker in the third quarter. Brees was 4-for-4 for 49 yards on the 13-play, 57-yard drive.
Nate Kaeding added a 32-yard field goal. He kicked a 41-yarder in the first quarter.
Brees was 17-for-22 for 160 yards with no interceptions. He was coming off one of the worst games of his career, when he was intercepted three times and was 22-for-44 for 215 yards and no touchdowns in a 23-17 overtime victory at Washington.
Keenan McCardell became the 13th player in NFL history with 800 catches, reaching the milestone with an 8-yard reception late in the second quarter.
Tight end Antonio Gates caught a 6-yard pass from a scrambling Brees before falling out of the back of the end zone early in the second quarter, but the nearest official ruled that he was juggling the ball.
Coach Marty Schottenheimer threw his red flag, and, after reviewing the play, referee Bill Vinovich ruled it a score, giving San Diego a 10-3 lead.
That drive was set up when Hart forced LaMont Jordan's fumble, which was recovered by Randall Godfrey at the Oakland 34.
The Associated Press News Service
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