With all due respect to the Air Coryell Chargers, they weren’t a complete all around great football team. They had a great offensive minded head coach in Don Coryell. They had a Hall of Fame quarterback in Dan Fouts and a great passing game as a result. With great receivers, Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joyner, John Jefferson and perhaps a few others. And they had a pretty good running game with Chuck Muncie. This was a team in the late 1970s, through 1987, which was Dan Fouts last season, that scored a lot of points and gained a lot of yards. But gave up almost as many points and yards as they gained. Great teams don’t do that. If they have a great offense, they at least have a good defense to go with it. So they aren’t winning and losing a lot of shootouts. But winning a lot of blowouts. The San Francisco 49ers of the 1980s are a great example of that.
The 1980 Raiders, were a great team, at least in the second half of the season and through the playoffs, including the Super Bowl. Because they could score a lot of points and gain a lot of yards. Both passing and running, but their defense shut teams down. They shut good offenses down, like the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 15. And this first quarter is a great example of that. The Raiders scored 21 points, the Chargers scored a touchdown. But the difference being the Raiders were able to shut down the Chargers in that quarter, even though the Chargers did score a touchdown. And the Chargers, give up three touchdowns in that quarter.
The Raiders, simply matched up very well with the Chargers that season. The Chargers had the great passing game, but the Raiders had a great pass rush and great secondary. They were big and quick on defense and caused a lot problems for the Chargers offense. And the Raiders had a balanced offense and with the Chargers being prone to giving up a lot of yards both from the pass and run, meant the Raiders could move the ball and score and get the ball back. Which created separation on the scoreboard. Super Bowl teams, aren’t great on one side of the ball and weak on the other. Even if their strength is on one side of the ball, they’re good enough on the other side to complement their strengths. Which gives them a good team. That was the difference between the Raiders and Chargers in this game.