OAKLAND -- Of all the potential problems Raiders coach Dennis Allen played out in his mind before his head coaching debut, his team being unable to deliver the ball to the punter probably wasn't one of them.
The Raiders lost their season opener 22-14 to the San Diego Chargers Monday night at O.co Coliseum, with an injury to Pro Bowl snapper Jon Condo being the most glaring issue but hardly the only one.
Emergency replacement Travis Goethel rolled two snaps to Shane Lechler, leaving him unable to get off a punt, and a third punt attempt was blocked, helping account for three of Nate Kaeding's five field goals.
By game's end, Kaeding had field goals of 23, 28, 19, 41 and 45 yards against an Oakland defense that played well in the red zone.
The field goals, plus a 6-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Malcom Floyd, were more than enough to offset field goals of 51 and 19 yards by the Raiders' Sebastian Janikowski and a cosmetic 2-yard flip from quarterback Carson Palmer to Rod Streater in the final minute.
"We've got to stop the self-inflicted wounds," Allen said. "That's the thing that hurt us during preseason, and it obviously hurt us tonight." Many of the 61,896 fans grew frustrated with a Raiders passing offense that too often threw short of the first down stake, piling up completions and yards but not enough points as Oakland dropped its ninth opening game in the last 10 years.
"Offensively I thought Carson played well, but we didn't have a lot to show for it," Allen said.
Rivers completed 24 of 33 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown.
The Raiders had no need to apologize for their defense, which gave up 258 yards in total offense and held the Chargers to a single touchdown despite being in short-field situations all night.
The Oakland run defense was stout as it has been through the preseason, giving up just 32 yards on 20 carries -- 11 of which came on an Eddie Royal reverse.
"It's a good group," Rivers said. "A stout front seven. We had some short fields we didn't capitalize on, but our defense and special teams were playing so well that it didn't hurt us."
Although Allen said Goethel has done a fair amount of snapping in practice, it was apparent the third-year linebacker was in over his head after Condo left the game after taking a blow to the head with 11:16 left in the half.
Lechler said he'd never taken a snap from Goethel "other than messing around a couple of times."
Goethel said he hadn't long-snapped in a game since high school, and his preparation has been little more than getting in a few snaps before practice.
When asked how much notice he had, Goethel said, "Right there when he went down and I got put in. Believe me, I wish it never happened."
Goethel conceded he was affected by his first poor snap, even though he got encouragement from Lechler.
"It's hard snapping on the dirt, too," Goethel said. "I'd never snapped on the dirt before."
Said Lechler: "My hat's off to him just for doing it. That ain't easy. You know, he went out and did his best. That's all you ask from a guy to get put in a situation like that."
The punt block on Lechler was his first since 2006 against San Francisco, a play that he thought the more experienced Condo might have been able to identify a pressure overload.
It's not known how seriously Condo is hurt or if he'll be available for the Raiders when they visit Miami on Sunday.
"We'll look at that tomorrow and we'll find out what options we have available to us, but we'll make sure we have someone who can handle those duties," Allen said.
The Raiders had a chance to go for a touchdown late in the first half, driving to the 2 with a fourth-and-1, seven seconds remaining and no time outs. Allen opted to send Janikowski out for the sure points -- which given the fact that Goethel was the snapper, were far from automatic.
Janikowski converted from 19 yards out.
"We'd used our last timeout there at the end, and we wanted to make sure we were able to get points on the board," Allen said.