|San Diego and Oakland both lose key players early Thursday night. (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Watching live, it looked like a routine running play. But with 7:39 to go in the first quarter, Chargers left tackle Marcus McNeill, pulling to block for running back Ryan Matthews, was met head on by Raiders linebacker Aaron Curry.
McNeill, listed at 6-7, 336 pounds, is five inches taller and 81 pounds heavier than Curry. But it was Curry who had the leverage on the play. He appeared to hit McNeill under his chin, and the Chargers tackle fell backwards hitting his head on the turf. He left the field on a cart.
According to NFL Network sideline reporter Alex Flanagan, the Chargers are calling the injury a neck stinger and his return is doubtful (Update: it's official -- McNeill won't return). Brandyn Dombrowski will replace McNeill.
NFL Network color analyst Mike Mayock pointed out that the loss of McNeill means that Oakland pass rushers Lamarr Houston and Jarvis Moss, because of their speed, could create matchup problems for San Diego's tackles.
The Raiders have injury issues of their own; Darren McFadden didn't play for the second consecutive game and wide receiver and returner Jacoby Ford limped off the field with a left ankle injury with 4:51 left in the first quarter. He went down after hauling in a slightly underthrown 41-yard pass from Carson Palmer. If Palmer had hit Ford in stride, it would've been an easy touchdown. Ford also headed for the locker room on a cart.
You can follow the game live here.
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