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Rivers, Chargers stop Raiders

Associated Press / September 15, 2009

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Philip Rivers and the Chargers opened the season doing what they do best: beating the Raiders.

Rivers answered a pair of go-ahead scores by Oakland by leading two touchdown drives, capped by Darren Sproles’s 5-yard run with 18 seconds left that gave the Chargers their 12th straight victory in this one-sided rivalry, 24-20, last night at Oakland, Calif.

This might have been the toughest one of the bunch. JaMarcus Russell had given Oakland a 20-17 lead with a 57-yard touchdown pass to rookie Louis Murphy with 2:34 left. But despite having two backup linemen in the game, Rivers calmly led the Chargers down the field for the winning score.

Rivers was 6 for 7 for 79 yards on the winning drive before Sproles silenced the crowd with his run up the middle.

Urlacher out for year
Finally healthy after two years, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher launched his regular season by making a run at Aaron Rodgers, lowering his shoulder and plowing over the Packers quarterback in the first quarter Sunday night.

His 10th season was off to a good start. And then, it was over.

Chicago’s star linebacker went on injured reserve yesterday after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated right wrist and will not be back this season, a major blow for a team with high expectations.

There was no immediate word from Urlacher other than a text message to the Chicago Tribune that said simply: “season is over.’’ But coach Lovie Smith said Urlacher clearly was disappointed.

“He had put himself in position to have an outstanding year,’’ Smith said.

Hayward season over
Jaguars defensive end Reggie Hayward broke his left leg Sunday at Indianapolis and will miss the rest of the season. One of five team captains, Hayward broke his fibula in a fourth-down pileup against the Colts . . . Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks and running back Danny Ware are probably going to be sidelined at least two weeks with injuries sustained in the season opener. Nicks sprained his left foot in the fourth quarter of the Giants’ 23-17 win over the Redskins. Ware dislocated his left elbow returning the opening kickoff . . . Steelers safety Troy Polamalu doesn’t need knee surgery and says “the best case scenario’’ is that he will be back in 3-6 weeks as expected. Polamalu is one of the NFL’s best defensive players. He tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Thursday’s win over Tennessee on a blocked field goal during the second quarter. For now, Polamalu will rest and hope the ligament heals quickly.

McNabb stays positive
Eagles coach Andy Reid said quarterback Donovan McNabb, who cracked a rib Sunday, “is pretty sore, but he’s going to try and battle through it. We’ll see how that goes. He’s staying optimistic about that.’’ McNabb is not ruling himself out for the Eagles’ game against New Orleans next Sunday. “Not necessarily, anything can happen,’’ he said. “It’s just Monday right now, but if Friday and Saturday come along and I’m feeling a lot better, you just never know.’’ Third-year pro Kevin Kolb filled in for McNabb during Philadelphia’s 38-10 victory over Carolina in the season opener. He would start against the Saints if McNabb can’t play. Michael Vick is not eligible because he was suspended for the first two regular-season games as the last part of the NFL’s penalty for his role in a dogfighting ring. The Eagles signed Jeff Garcia to back up Kolb if McNabb can’t play. Garcia, a 10-year veteran released by Oakland, played for Philadelphia in 2006 and went 6-2 in eight starts - including the playoffs - while McNabb was injured.

Panthers ink Feeley
The Panthers agreed to terms with veteran quarterback A.J. Feeley, whom the Patriots were rumored to be interested in, and placed backup Josh McCown on injured reserve. The move comes one day after McCown injured his left knee and ankle in the loss to Philadelphia in relief of struggling starter Jake Delhomme. McCown was wearing a protective boot yesterday. Feeley, who was released by Philadelphia this month, provides a veteran presence behind Delhomme, who has committed 11 turnovers in his last two games. Coach John Fox said that despite his turnovers, Delhomme will start next week at Atlanta.

Gonzalez gone
The Colts expected Anthony Gonzalez to replace Marvin Harrison this season. Now they could be looking for a replacement to the replacement. One day after losing Gonzalez in a 14-12 victory over Jacksonville, team president Bill Polian said Gonzalez sprained ligaments in his right knee and it is not clear how much time the third-year receiver could miss . . . A person familiar with the deal says the Seahawks have brought back recently released D.D. Lewis to reinforce a hurting linebacking unit. The Seahawks lost starters Lofa Tatupu to a hamstring injury and Leroy Hill to a groin strain during their opening win Sunday against St. Louis . . . Broncos linebacker Spencer Larsen will miss a few weeks after injuring his shoulder in a fall in the locker room at Cincinnati.

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