Raiders Win OT Thriller to Reach Playoffs for First Time in Five Years

Source: Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

At one point this season it looked as though all hope was lost for the Las Vegas Raiders. Most notably, there was the scandal that led to former head coach Jon Gruden’s resignation, the tragic DUI arrest that led to the release of former first-round pick WR Henry Ruggs III, and a 6-7 record with four weeks left in the season. All the while, the team stuck together and rallied to battle through adversity.

Despite one of the most tumultuous seasons in franchise history, the Las Vegas Raiders were able to defeat their division rival Los Angeles Chargers 35-32 in overtime Sunday night in Las Vegas to secure a playoff berth for the first time in five seasons.

It was an up and down game for the Raiders, as has been a theme for the team this year. There was never a stretch of comfortability or security, even with the lead in hand for most of the contest.

“As far as the game goes, we made some play and we missed some plays,” interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said after the game. “We had some drives, and we gave up some drives, we had some touchdowns, they had some touchdowns… and we just find just found a way to have a chance to win at the end.”

That’s about right, especially down the stretch, when the Chargers were able to score two touchdowns in four minutes at the end of regulation. The teams traded field goals in overtime before Daniel Carlson kicked a game-winning 47-yard field goal with no time remaining to seal the game and send the Raiders to the playoffs.

Raiders QB Derek Carr and the offense rolled throughout the game, keeping the team in the lead and the Chargers on the chase.

Carr played very well in the contest despite a pedestrian 20 completions on 36 attempts for 186 yards and two touchdowns. He made multiple throws to keep the offense moving and handled consistent pressure from the Chargers well.

WR Bryan Edwards led the team in receiving with 4 catches for 63 yards and WR Hunter Renfrow pitched in well, catching both of Carr’s touchdown passes. RB Josh Jacobs was a nice complement to the passing game, rushing 26 times for 132 yards in the contest. Between the passing game and the running game, the offense was able to convert 8 of their 17 third-down chances, enough to keep drives alive and put 35 points on the board.

On the other side of the ball, it wasn’t as pretty of a story. The secondary struggled throughout the game, especially in the second half and when the team had opportunities to get off the field. QB Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense were able to convert on six fourth-down opportunities down the stretch to stay in the game.

If it weren’t for yet another superhuman effort from star edge-rusher Maxx Crosby to send the Raiders to the playoffs (six tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, and three pass deflections), it could have been a very different game for the Raiders.

However, ultimately, it was a “win-and-in” for the Silver and Black and they got the job done, even without a perfect performance. Rich Bisaccia and crew will now get ready to take on the Cincinnati Bengals next Saturday at 1:30 PST in the Wild Card Round.

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