The Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Las Vegas Raiders in a week one AFC West matchup, 24-19, at SoFi Stadium. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert threw for three touchdowns and zero turnovers. Herbert completed 26 of 34 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers starting offensive line – Rashawn Slater, Matt Feiler, Corey Linsley, Zion Johnson, and Trey Pipkins III deserve a season opener shoutout as they did not allow a single sack.
Herbert was joined in victory by a nine-year veteran, five-time All-Pro linebacker, and former Raider, Khalil Mack, who joined the Chargers in the offseason from the Chicago Bears. Mack tallied six tackles, four quarterback hits, and three sacks (two of those in the second quarter).
“It’s team ball, man,” Mack said. “It’s all team ball. The coverage guys were doing an excellent job. They did a lot.”
Mack, 31, didn’t play like a man who recently had foot surgery and had not played since October 2021. The victory was sweet for the Chargers, who lost to the Raiders in week 18 of the 2021 season. Who can forget the Raider’s game-winning field goal in overtime, a play that knocked the Chargers out of playoff contention. The Chargers traded for Mack in a deal worth over 200 million dollars, an investment that is paying immediate dividends.
Herbert targeted seven players throughout the game, especially after wideout Keenan Allen left the game with a hamstring injury but led the team with four catches for 66 yards. After a 43-yard field goal by kicker Dustin Hopkins, Herbert found rookie Zander Horvath for a one-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Wide receiver DeAndre Carter scored with a 23-yard pass from Herbert, giving the Chargers a 17-3 lead at the half.
Tight end Gerald Everett would score in the third quarter with an 18-yard reception followed by a Hopkins extra point field goal. The Chargers would close the third quarter leading 24-10. The Raiders had a final opportunity to win on a Davante Adams 3-yards pass reception from Carr, but the two-point pass conversion failed. The Chargers would win with a final score of 24-19.
The play of the Charger’s defense was exemplary. Mack and Joey Bosa combined for 4.5 sacks, with five QB hits and two fumbles. Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said the defense’s performance down the stretch is what the Bolts envisioned when they revamped their defense this offseason.
“Our defense rose to the occasion today,” Staley said, “When they got the ball, and it’s 24-19, and they have a chance to finish the game, your defense has to come through and close it out, and that’s exactly what happened today for us.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was sacked five times for a loss of 29 yards. Carr finished the game 22-of-37 for 295 yards with two touchdowns and three picks. In his Raiders debut, wideout Davante Adams had ten catches for 141 yards with one score. The Chargers will hit the road to face the Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) for Thursday Night Football, and the Raiders will host the Arizona Cardinals (0-1) on Sunday, Sept. 18