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SAN DIEGO CHARGES TOWARD PLAYOFFS BY BEATING RAIDERS

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No, there was nothing wrong with the TV signal coming out of San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

Those were indeed the Chargers shutting down the Los Angeles Raiders 27-3 Sunday night."It was nice to be on national TV," quarterback Stan Humphries said. "Everyone was done, so they could sit back and watch us. We showed that we're not the team we used to be out here."

From 0-4 in September to 7-5 heading into December, the Chargers remain the hottest team in the AFC with victories in seven of their last eight games.

More importantly, the Chargers kept alive their chances of reaching the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

"A lot of people have been critical of us in terms of not being able to beat a contender," linebacker Gary Plummer said. "These guys were definitely on a roll and in their opinion, headed for the playoffs. We were not only able to beat them, but dominate them in the process."

The Raiders (5-7) had won five of their previous seven games.

"They've always had a lot of talent. Now they have the confidence to go with it," Raiders quarterback Jay Schroeder said of the Chargers.

The Chargers were opportunistic, forcing two turnovers to set up scores.

Stanley Richard intercepted Schroeder to set up the Chargers' first touchdown, on which wide receiver Anthony Miller picked up running back Marion Butts' fumble in the end zone for a 7-0 lead with eight seconds left in the first quarter.

The Chargers made it 21-3 late in the second quarter with some fancy lateraling following a Raiders' fumble.

Delton Hall stripped Tim Brown after a short pass at the Chargers 24. Junior Seau recovered and ran 10 yards before lateraling to Sean Vanhorse, who gained 14 before lateraling to Darren Carrington for 4 more.

Ronnie Harmon carried 33 yards on a blast to the 15 two plays into the ensuing drive. Two plays later, Shawn Jefferson beat Torin Dorn to pull in Humphries' third-down scoring pass.