The Las Vegas Raiders hosted the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday in an AFC West matchup at Allegiant Stadium. The Chargers walked away with the win against the Raiders after their Week 1 bout, but today, the Raiders went home with their heads high after a seven-point win over their division rivals, boosted by an impressive performance by the Raiders defense, which held the Chargers to just one touchdown. The Raiders have now won three straight and are in the hunt for a wild card spot in the AFC playoffs after a rough start to the season.
“I think we hit the quarterback and affected him a lot today… we were a little bit more aggressive,” head coach Josh McDaniels said when asked how the Raiders defense was able to put together such a great game.
The Raiders started with the ball but were forced to a quick three and out. The Raiders defense returned the favor after DE Maxx Crosby forced a fumble on the Chargers’ first play. QB Justin Herbert fell on the ball to maintain possession, but Patrick Graham’s defense held the Chargers offense to a punt. The Chargers decided to fake the punt and successfully converted, but the defense remained relentless and held yet again thanks to former Chargers DT Jerry Tillery putting the pressure on Herbert.
The first series for the Raiders defense was highlighted by a forced fumble by DE Maxx Crosby, a sack by DE Chandler Jones, and a pressure by Tillery.
The second series for the Raiders offense was ended abruptly after an uncharacteristic fumble by RB Josh Jacobs. The defense was able to prevent the Chargers offense from getting any points on the board with a stop on fourth and two, with Jones tripping up Herbert short of the marker.
The Chargers got the ball back quickly after CB Bryce Callahan picked off a ball intended for WR Mack Hollins and took it to the house for a pick six. The referees threw a flag for pass interference on CB Asante Samuel Jr, but later picked up the flag after review in what would seem to be a controversial decision.
The Chargers finished the first quarter with the ball and started their drive in Raiders territory. Another Chandler Jones sack forced a field goal, giving the Chargers a 10-0 lead.
The Raiders responded well after the Chargers field goal, focusing targets to WR Davante Adams and handing the ball off to RB Josh Jacobs to get down the field. Jacobs finished the drive with a touchdown run on what appeared to be the same play as his 86-yard game-winning touchdown last week in Seattle.
Chandler Jones led the Raiders defense to another stop before the half after pressuring Herbert and allowing S Isaiah Pola-Mao to get the sack. The Chargers couldn’t convert on the long third down and the Raiders offense got another opportunity to put points on the board, driving down the field and converting a 55-yard Daniel Carlson field goal.
Chandler Jones was making his presence known all game. His first half ended with three sacks and multiple pressures.
The third quarter can only be described as a Davante Adams highlight reel. The Chargers started the second half with the ball, but were stopped after S Duron Harmon forced a fumble on RB Austin Ekeler, which was recovered by CB Nate Hobbs. The Raiders offense only needed one play for Carr to find Adams for a 31-yard touchdown. The Raiders defense was able to force a quick stop and a missed FG attempt. The Raiders responded to the stop with a 13-yard run by Jacobs and then a flea flicker to Adams for a 45-yard touchdown.
“We’re winning,” Carr said when asked about he and Adams’ chemistry and performance of late. “When you win, everything feels better.”
The Chargers seemed to emerge from their offensive slumber in the fourth quarter after Herbert escaped pressure and threw a 35-yard touchdown to WR Keenan Allen on fourth and 12, making the score 27-20 with the Raiders ahead with a little over eight minutes left.
The Raiders offense was able to bring the clock down to 5:20 before their drive was stopped and they were forced to punt.
Herbert and the Chargers offense looked sharp for the first time all night and were making their way down the field in what appeared to be an eventual touchdown drive, but the Raiders defense held and forced the Chargers to go for it on fourth down yet again. Herbert was not able to connect with WR DeAndre Carter on the sideline with Hobbs in coverage.
The Raiders held on in the last minutes of the game to improve to 5-7, getting the win over their AFC West rivals and extending their win streak to three straight with something to still play for. The Raiders will have a short week though, as they take on a banged up Los Angeles Rams team on Thursday Night Football who will be without QB Matthew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp, and star DT Aaron Donald.
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