Marc Wilson threw five touchdown passes and the Los Angeles Raiders withstood a last-minute San Diego drive today to beat the Chargers, 44-37.
The Raiders scored four times in seven minutes of the third quarter as they withstood a 17-point fourth quarter by the Chargers.
San Diego missed a chance to send the game into overtime when Earnest Jackson's four-yard touchdown run was nullified by a holding penalty against tight end Eric Sievers. Ted Watts then intercepted a Dan Fouts pass in the end zone with seconds left to preserve the victory.
But perhaps the day's worst news for the Chargers was that all-pro tight end Kellen Winslow is out for the season after suffering a knee injury in the final minutes.
San Diego team doctor Gary Losse said Winslow, the NFL's leading receiver with 55 catches for 663 yards after eight games, was to undergo surgery tonight. "It's a serious knee injury to anyone who does a lot of pivoting and cutting," Losse said. "It's not always career-ending."
The Raiders overcame three first-half turnovers with the 20-point third period barrage, and improved to 7-1, maintaining a first-place tie in the AFC West with Denver. San Diego fell to 4-4.
"I'm really proud of the way our guys came back," Chargers Coach Don Coryell said. "They moved the ball, made some clutch catches. The defense came up with some big plays."
Wilson, making his second start since Jim Plunkett suffered torn abdominal muscles, completed 24 of 37 passes, with one interception. He threw for touchdowns of 51 and 45 yards to Malcolm Barnwell, a 20-yarder to Dokie Williams, a 10-yarder to Marcus Allen and a one-yard score to Derrick Jensen after a fake dive over the goal line by Allen. Chris Bahr added field goals of 42, 33 and 32 yards.
Los Angeles used three straight turnovers by the Chargers early in the second half -- fumbles by Fouts and Lionel James and an interception by Brad Van Pelt, playing his first game as a Raider -- to erase a 20-14 San Diego halftime lead.
Wilson victimized a secondary that was without starting cornerback Danny Walters and safeties Andre Young and Bob Gregor, all out with ankle injuries. He completed 17 of 24 passes for 219 yards in the first half, but two fumbles by Allen and a missed field goal by Bahr kept the Raiders in check.
Jackson ran for two touchdowns and Fouts hit Wes Chandler with a 22-yard pass for another score in the first half. The Chargers got a 29-yard field goal by Benny Ricardo and touchdown passes from Fouts to Winslow and Bobby Duckworth in the fourth quarter.
Fouts threw for 410 yards and three touchdowns, completing 24 of 45 passes. He was intercepted three times.
"You can't stop them, so you try to control them," Raiders defender Lyle Alzado said. "We didn't do that, but it came out all right -- we won."