Palmer threw two touchdown passes and Michael Bush ran 30 times for a season-high 157 yards and one touchdown to lead the Oakland Raiders to a 24-17 win over San Diego on Thursday night, the Chargers’ fourth straight loss.
The Raiders (5-4) broke a two-game losing streak and took a half-game lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
Palmer threw touchdown passes of 33 and 26 yards to Denarius Moore in his second start and third appearance since being acquired in a trade with Cincinnati. He’d been semi-retired and living in Del Mar, just north of San Diego, before being traded. His next-door neighbor is Chargers coach Norv Turner. Palmer was 14 of 20 for 299 yards, with one interception.
“We had a real good rhythm going,” Palmer said. “There were some great play calls at the right time. We still have some things to get better at, but it’s just good to come into this environment and get a win.”
The Raiders traded for Palmer after Jason Campbell went down.
“I know the man, I know what he is and what we have,” coach Hue Jackson said. “We haven’t seen the best of him yet. He’s just warming up.”
Last December, Palmer helped crush the Chargers’ playoff hopes when he threw four touchdown passes as the Bengals stunned San Diego.
Palmer said he’s put in “long days, long nights,” in getting back to form. “It has been information overload at times just trying to get everything in and whittle it down into a game plan.”
Bush helped carry the load for the Raiders with his running and also had three catches for 85 yards.
The Chargers (4-5) looked dismal most of the night and lost left tackle Marcus McNeill, right guard Louis Vasquez and linebacker Takeo Spikes to injuries.
Philip Rivers struggled again as the Chargers hit their longest losing streak since they started 0-5 in 2003.
“We’re in a rough stretch right now. We get a few days off to take a deep breath,” Rivers said.
The Raiders have won three straight against the Chargers. Before that, San Diego had won 13 straight in a rivalry that dates to the birth of the AFL.
With the Chargers threatening to tie it, Rivers was intercepted in the end zone by Matt Giordano with 3:22 left. It was Rivers’ NFL- and career-high 15th interception. Rivers was sacked on consecutive plays near midfield to end the game. He fumbled on the final play, giving him an NFL-high 19 turnovers.
Rivers was 23 of 47 for 274 yards. He was sacked six times as the Raiders overwhelmed Brandyn Dombrowski, who replaced McNeill at left tackle.