SAN DIEGO -- There were no blocked punts this time.
The Oakland Raiders just blocked everything else in sight, turning the San Diego Chargers into baby-blue chum.
And that trademark, San Diego late-season run to the postseason? Late on that, kids.
Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium, Oakland actually resembled the team that used to strike fear into the rest of the NFL -- if you're old enough to remember back a couple of decades or three. The Raiders were bigger, badder and meaner.
As for the Chargers, they looked like they'd been washed off their surfboards by a rogue wave, their four-game win streak now just a whole bunch of sand in their shorts.
If the Raiders' win over San Diego back in October seemed fluky, with the Chargers imploding behind three blocked punts and the bad bounce of a late fumble, Sunday's 28-13 win by Oakland looked more like real football.
The strong team won.
The Raiders ran at will from start to finish, ramming the ball down the Chargers' gullet even when the home team knew it was coming, late in the game when San Diego desperately needed the ball back.
"It's pretty satisfying when they put eight or nine men in the box and you're still running the ball," said Oakland guard Robert Gallery. "That's just mano-a-mano football."
Nothing was more obvious about the game than that. The Raiders had 251 yards rushing, the Chargers 21.
San Diego's fancy-schmancy passing offense didn't fare much better, with Oakland defenders repeatedly storming the Chargers walls, pressuring the NFL's most productive quarterback, Philip Rivers, into hurried throws and desperate scrambles. Picture coyotes after a small, furry animal.
Rivers couldn't engineer a touchdown drive until it was uncomfortably late, in the fourth quarter, briefly getting the Chargers within 21-13 and reviving thoughts of a rally.
Not on this afternoon, with the Raiders runners rolling downhill.
"I wouldn't say we were flat," protested San Diego tailback Mike Tolbert. "Sometimes you just have to grind your teeth, grit it and go. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn't."
Mostly they didn't.
So the Raiders get to celebrate their first season sweep of the Chargers since 2001, and managed to pull themselves into a 6-6 tie for second place in the AFC West with San Diego.
That doesn't necessarily bode well for either team, however, with first-place Kansas City moving to 8-4 Sunday. The Raiders and Chargers each have a game left with the Chiefs, meaning they will be pulling for each other in the near future.
As much as it will pain mortal-enemy Chargers and Raiders fans, they now need each other. How's that feel, having to trust the other guy's game?
Oakland is still saddled by an ineffective passing attack. The Raiders looked tough Sunday because the Chargers simply could not meet their muscle. Teams that "grit their teeth" usually stop Oakland's running game, stop the Raiders offense and ask for the minimum from their offenses.
The Chargers are suddenly in a big hole again, the myth of their December domination (18 consecutive wins in the month) off the table, and the team as dazed as its undersized running back, Darren Sproles, when he left the game in the second quarter with a concussion.
Sproles caught a pass and was decked by rookie linebacker Rolando McClain's vicious helmet-to-helmet smack. With the stadium in a booing frenzy, the officials threw no flags, explaining later that the rules apparently allow helmet-first hits if the receiver has taken several steps and isn't in a "defenseless position."
Just their luck. The only Charger who wasn't in a defenseless position all day.