Maybe for the last time.
If Turner's tenure in San Diego really, truly is over, at least his players sent him out a winner. And in typical Turner fashion, it again might've come too late.
"I hope it's not the end," Rivers said of his time with Turner. "I'd be super disappointed."
The Raiders (8-8) began the final day of the regular season needing a win and help to end an eight-year playoff drought. They received the support they needed when Denver (8-8) lost 7-3 at home to Kansas City but were unable to do their part by beating the Chargers (8-8). The Broncos won the division based on record versus common opponents.
If Turner's time has ended in Southern California, he ended his tenure with an offensive masterpiece: San Diego never punted, committed just one turnover and gained 463 yards.
Whether it's enough to keep his job, Turner stayed away from any last-minute lobbying.
"I don't need to answer that. There's going to be a decision made, and you'll all know what it is," he said. "And what my opinion is right now probably doesn't have a lot of effect. I'll leave it at that."
Rivers completed 19 for 26 passes for 310 yards and showed his best on a key drive in the fourth quarter after Oakland sliced San Diego's lead to 31-26 with 9:37 to go.
San Diego finally sprinted to a strong start under Turner, going 4-1 and rising into AFC contenders. Then the Chargers fell apart as Rivers struggled, penalties and frustration mounted, and injuries hit.
"What we went through this year, injury wise, bad quarterback play, some of that, he can't control any of that," Rivers said. "And then to look up and go, `Man, they're 4-7 and they've fallen back at 8-8. And in what many would call a meaningless game, to go out and play the way we did. It's disappointing knowing 9-7 would have got you in.
"It's unfortunate the way the year has gone," Rivers said, "but I believe Norv's the guy."
Oakland seemed in control in the AFC West after beating Chicago 25-20 on Nov. 27 to improve to 7-4. But they lost four of their final five games, including squandering a late 13-point lead at home to Detroit two weeks ago to finish out of the postseason for the ninth straight year.
Palmer, acquired in a midseason trade with Cincinnati after starter Jason Campbell broke his collarbone, delivered the kind of performance the Raiders expected, throwing for 417 yards and two touchdowns.
The game started off well as Oakland drove 95 yards on its first possession to score on Palmer's 3-yard TD pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey. The drive was aided by a pair of personal fouls against San Diego, including one that got Chargers leading sacker Antwan Barnes ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.
But Oakland then allowed a 38-yard TD pass from Rivers to Antonio Gates, a 1-yard run by Tolbert after a pass interference call in the end zone against Stanford Routt tied the single-season penalty record and Goodman's return.
Only time will tell if Turner still has a job in San Diego next season.
"We had great guys and they've never backed down from what we've asked them to do," Turner said. "I know it's hard for everyone else on the outside, but they know what they've been through and they know the situations that we've had to handle. And I think that makes it even more special, the fact that we've finished and played well and beat a good team that was fighting to make it to the playoffs."
Notes: Goodman's kickoff return TD was the first for San Diego since 2008. ... Mark Davis lit the flame honoring his late father Al Davis before the game. ... The Raiders allowed a franchise-worst 31 TD passes this season.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press