A wild game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers led to the Chargers beating out the Raiders, 30-27, for their first win against an AFC West opponent since December 30, 2018. However, while the Chargers were exuberant about the win, the Raiders were not so much. With this loss, the Raiders are unlikely to make the playoffs for the fourth-straight year in a row. It was yet another late season collapse for the Raiders and at this point is becoming pretty common.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers came into the game looking for their first win against an AFC West opponent since December 30, 2018, but they came ready to show out. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and the Chargers’ offense put on a show early in the game, and dropped 17 points on the Raiders in the first half behind an impressive performance from the arm of Justin Herbert, who on Thursday tied the all-time rookie passing TD record.
The Chargers seemed to go into this game with a lot more focus on passing and less focus on the ground game, unlike the Raiders previous opponents. Overall, the Chargers did a pretty good job of moving the ball down the field and getting the first downs they needed to get, when they needed to get them. The only problem with the Chargers is that their kicker simply couldn’t find the range in this game and missed two field goals that really could’ve helped the Chargers, the last of which could’ve helped the Chargers secure the win in regulation. As for the defense for Los Angeles, it wasn’t great, but defense wasn’t really a factor in this game so they get off the hook.
Las Vegas Raiders
When the Raiders had a must win game, it would be expected that all hands would be on deck. However, that was far from the case and for the Raiders this game was far from normal. With a new defensive coordinator, and without the offensive coordinator, the Raiders were already considered weakened. Add in the fact that their quarterback Derek Carr suffered a groin injury in the first quarter and most people would’ve thrown in the towel. However, the Raiders and arguably the best backup quarterback in the league, Marcus Mariota had no such plans to go quietly. Mariota took over in second half, and played an outstanding game, going 17/28 with 226 yards in the air, a passing touchdown and rushing for 88 yards and picking up a touchdown with his legs. Mariota really didn’t do much wrong and it was a quarterback duel down the stretch, one that unfortunately ended with Mariota getting the short end of the stick after not converting on a third and goal, but overall a great game from the former Oregon quarterback.
Darren Waller has been on a tear for the Raiders, and once again put up a stellar numbers, catching nine passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders may have caught a steal in picking up Waller, as he is turning into one of the best tight ends in the league.
Most Rec Yards in 3-Game Span by TE
Single Season, All-Time
LV Darren Waller 2020 425
NO Jimmy Graham 2013 413
HOF Shannon Sharpe 1996 413
PHI Pete Retzlaff 1965 406
NE Rob Gronkowski 2017 397 https://t.co/kyqpQahU7T
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 18, 2020
After going head to head in the game, the Raiders and the Chargers met in overtime with one team looking to remain in the playoff hunt, the other looking for their first win against an AFC opponent. The Raiders got the ball first, and after marching all the way down the field, had to end up settling for a field goal after a tremendous stop by the defense.
Then it was Herbert time, Justin Herbert had been balling all game, and delivered a clutch throw after his wide receiver beat the Raiders’ cornerback, leaving him wide open down the field. This throw resulted in the Chargers setting up shop at the two yard line.
HERBERT GOES DEEP. #BoltUp
— NFL (@NFL) December 18, 2020
After several unsuccessful attempts, quarterback Justin Herbert finally broke the pylon to give his team the ball game, in which he emphatically stated. “I WAS IN!”
HERB CALLED GAME.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) December 18, 2020
With the team already eliminated from postseason contention, expect the Chargers to continue working on team chemistry and building ahead for their next season. Herbert is a young quarterback with a ton of potential and these next few games will give him an opportunity to really excel and face top tier competition with little pressure involved.
Next game: 12/27 @Broncos
With the Raiders once again likely on the outside looking on of yet another playoff season, the Raiders are simply the same team in a different place. It was a hot start with big expectations, but another late season collapse that derails the teams hopes. While the team had some huge wins this year, overall the Raiders are simply too inconsistent to really be a threat, and might need to really look at the drawing board.
Next Game: 12/26 @Dolphins
- Marcus Mariota makes $825,000 as the backup quarterback after stepping in to play for an injured Derek Carr
- Two of the best QBs in Oregon history played against each other (Marcus Mariota and Justin Herbert)
- Jon Gruden wearing an Oakland Raiders hat then changing to a Las Vegas Raiders hat for the second half
- Two missed field goals by the Chargers
- The Raiders having a new defensive coordinator because their last one was fired
- No Raiders offensive coordinator’ because Bill Musgrave was out due to Covid
- The Raiders botched a potential game winning 65-yard field goal with bad clock management and the holder muffing the snap.
- Justin Herbert being heard on National TV screaming, “I was in!!!” at the top of his lungs.