The semi-retiree was reborn Thursday night. Carson Palmer racked up his first win as a Raider, offering substantial evidence that Hue Jackson's bold midseason deal to get him wouldn't turn into the biggest folly in NFL history.
To be clear, the defense and Michael Bush's 157 yards rushing buried the Chargers more than the quarterback did. Palmer completed 14 of 20 passes for two touchdowns and 299 yards - a number that captured his evening perfectly. He was just shy of excellence.
"What he's doing is phenomenal," Jackson said, with qualifiers. "He was on his couch three weeks ago, and the team believes in him, and trust me when I tell you, you ain't seen nothing yet."
In three weeks and 2 1/2 games of play, Palmer has progressed from completely and understandably lost (Kansas City game) to sporadically good but unsteady (Denver game) to a playmaking winner on national TV. After throwing six interceptions in his first six quarters as a Raider, Palmer threw just one in San Diego, while taking a hit as he released the ball.
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