SAN DIEGO -- The Raiders and San Diego Chargers have found nowhere to run and thus have nowhere to hide.
In large part because of their inability to run the ball, these organizations are in different stages of transition and will be watching the playoffs from afar.
With second-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor starting in place of the injured Carson Palmer, the Raiders (4-11) will need to get the NFL's 29th-ranked rushing attack in gear when they finish the regular season against the Chargers on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium.
After a stretch of five games where Oakland averaged 4.5 yards per carry and had a season-high 203 yards against Kansas City, the Raiders had just 47 yards on 22 carries in a 17-6 loss to Carolina last week.
"We definitely want to emphasize the run game," Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said. "I was pleased with the progress of the run game going into last week. We had made some good strides. ... I expect us to get back to where we were going into last week's game."
Even with their minor resurgence, the Raiders have only 1,305 rushing yards, are averaging 3.8 yards per carry and have a league-low three rushing touchdowns. Oakland had a combined 35 rushing TDs in 2010 and 2011.
An added bonus for the Raiders is that Pryor is a running threat in the way that Palmer and Matt Leinart are not.
"They're going to get him on the move, they're going to run some bootleg-type things, and you've got to account for a quarterback running when he goes back to pass and is in the pocket," Chargers coach Norv Turner said Wednesday by conference call in anticipation of seeing Pryor in the game.
The hope is Pryor's ability to move -- and possibly run some read option style plays -- could help get Darren McFadden on track.
McFadden missed four games with a high ankle sprain and has struggled for the better part of the 11 games he has played, rushing for 650 yards on 197 carries. He's averaging 3.3 yards per carry after being over 5 yards per carry in each of the last two seasons.
"You have to be able to run the ball in this league," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "Points are scored through the passing game -- that's how you get big chunks. But you have to be able to run the ball to be effective."
San Diego (6-9), is ranked 27th in rushing with 1,391 yards, is averaging 3.7 yards per carry and has four rushing touchdowns. The Chargers had 34 rushing TDs in 2010 and 2011.
The teams met in the season opener, with San Diego winning 22-14 in large part because long-snapper Jon Condo was knocked out with a concussion and Oakland couldn't execute simple snaps to punter Shane Lechler.
The Raiders' season has been a disappointment in almost every way imaginable under first year general manager Reggie McKenzie and Allen, his rookie head coach.
"This game is about us playing for us and moving forward," Allen said. "It's about pride. It's about defining who we are as individuals and as men and what we're about."
Lane Kiffin in 2007 is the only Raiders coach to survive a season with 12 or more losses, lasting four games into the following season until being fired by Al Davis.
Allen appears safe because managing partner Mark Davis hired McKenzie to do the hiring and firing and McKenzie spoke in support of Allen on Nov. 30.
Asked during the week about the job performance of Knapp and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, Allen said, "I don't think this is the time. We have one game left. There will be time to assess all aspects of the organization, coaching staff included. We'll do that at some point after the season."
As for the Chargers, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Dec. 6 that team president Dean Spanos would fire Turner and G.M. A.J. Smith at the end of the season.
It's familiar territory for Turner, who went through speculation about his job as head coach of the Washington Redskins, Raiders and last year with the Chargers.
"Not only do people talk about it being a year-to-year thing, but in a lot of situations it ends up being month-to-month or week-to-week," Turner said. "It's a big part of this profession."