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By Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
Los Angeles is a secondary market of San Diego; thankfully the Chargers did not sell outIn Southern California, Los Angeles is the big city. The City where the Lakers have won 11 NBA titles, the Dodgers have won five World Series, UCLA’s basketball team has won 11 national titles, and USC’s football team has been voted the national champions 11 times. The Sparks have won the WNBA title twice, and the Galaxy have won the MLS cup twice. The Raiders also won a title while in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has achieved greatness in sports many times over, but yet, in the NFL’s eyes, Los Angeles is a secondary market of San Diego, a city that has never won a major championship. Well, the Chargers did win the AFL title in 1963, but the NFL was the league that mattered more then. Because there is no NFL team in Los Angeles, it is considered a secondary market of San Diego, which means that the Chargers are essentially the home team of Los Angeles. So Chargers road games and sold out home games must be shown on television here in Los Angeles. That just does not sit well with any Los Angeles football fan. Two weeks ago that caused Los Angeles fans to miss the dramatic end to the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills game. With the Bills trailing late in the game, and marching for the winning touchdown, CBS left the game with them on a fourth down play in the redzone. What kind of nonsense is that?Seeing that most NFL fans in Los Angeles either love or hate the Raiders, that game had a lot of interest, especially at that moment of the game. But if a fan was not at a sports bar or had Direct TV’s Sunday ticket, they missed the ending of one of the best games so far this season. The NFL said that there was no issue because the Chargers game had to be shown in its entirety. But when they left the Raiders/Bills game, they went to a good three minutes of commercials, and then a couple minutes of intro for the Chargers game against the New England Patriots. They could have shown the rest of the Raiders/Bills game and still switched over to the Chargers in time for the kickoff. Last week the Raiders, who have been one of the hot stories in the league, played the New York Jets, who have been one of the top teams over the past two seasons, but instead of airing that great game in Los Angeles, we were stuck watching the Chargers play the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the worst teams in the league, who now are 0-3. The Chargers do not have much of a fan base in Los Angeles, but that is the team that we’re stuck watching. Thankfully this Sunday the Chargers did not sell out their game against the 0-3 Miami Dolphins. So instead of watching the Chargers play another horrible opponent, we’ll be getting the Raiders/Patriots game! The game will be on CBS at 1 p.m. We should all thank the folks down in San Diego for not purchasing enough tickets to lift the blackout. If they did, we’d be stuck watching one of the worst games on Sunday and we’d miss what is probably the best game on Sunday. And since the Chargers continue having issues selling out their games, they could be one step closer to actually moving to Los Angeles. It would feel much better if we were stuck watching the Los Angeles Chargers instead of the San Diego Chargers. Raiders McFadden leading the league in rushingIn the day and age of the quarterback, the Raiders are going old school. Instead of throwing the ball all over the field, they are relying on running back Darren McFadden to lead the way, which allows quarterback Jason Campbell to manage the game. McFadden has a league best 393 rushing yards through three games, and he has averaged a whopping 6.2 yards per carry. He has a knack for hitting the edges of the defensive front seven and breaking into the open field. The Raiders have really committed to running at the defenses, which most offenses do not do in this new pass happy NFL. Campbell is having a career year so far because the offense is not resting on his shoulders. His 93.8 passer rating is 10th best in the league, and he is completing 65.9 percent of his passes. Defenses have to respect the run on nearly every play, so Campbell has only been sacked twice. A great running game and an efficient passing game has produced 30.7 points per game for the Raiders, which is sixth in the league. And they are going to need to score as many points as possible this Sunday, because the Patriots are coming to town, and they average 34.7 points per game, which is tied for second best. If McFadden goes off against a bad Patriots defense, then they’ll keep quarterback Tom Brady and his high-powered offense on the sidelines. The Patriots defense is giving up a league worst 468.7 yards per game. But the Raiders are not much better, giving up 410 yards per game, which is 28th in the league. The Raiders are giving up 27.3 points per game, which is 28th in the league, while the Patriots are giving up 26.3 points per game, which is 27th in the league. The team who can keep their offense on the field as much as possible, and their defense off of it as much as possible, will have a great advantage. Vick should be treated as a passerPhiladelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick put the referees on notice that he is taking a lot of hits, which prompted a lot of people to say that he is officiated differently than most other quarterbacks because he plays the position as a runner more than others. That logic does not make much sense. When Vick is a passer, standing in the pocket, and he has just thrown the ball, he in no way was acting as a runner, so he should not be officiated as one. He was in the act of passing, not running. If Vick takes off and runs, then he loses a lot of protections from the referees. But when he is in the act of throwing the ball, or has just thrown the ball, he should not in any way be viewed as a runner, and he should get every call that a quarterback who does not run gets. Big games this weekThe Patriots at the Raiders, as mentioned above, looks like it is going to be a great game. When was the last time the Raiders were in one of the biggest games of the week? Shows that they are finally putting it all together. The Detroit Lions travel to the Dallas Cowboys (Fox at 10 a.m.). The Lions are what the Cowboys are supposed to be. A team with a lot of talent who is supposed to produce. The Lions are finally doing that, and are one of the leagues best stories so far this season, while the Cowboys always seem like they are on the verge of breaking through, only to fall on their faces when it matters the most. The Cowboys have been able to come up with close wins the past two weeks, but that was after they blew their week one game.
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