In a turbulent season, the Los Angeles Chargers outlasted a contending Las Vegas Raiders squad 30-27. Quarterback Justin Herbert committed a highly contested sneak to score the winning touchdown in an overtime thriller.
Herbert completed 22 passes for 314 yards and scored two touchdowns. Running back Austin Ekeler had 13 carries for 60 yards and wide receiver Jalen Guyton had four catches for 91 yards.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota made 17 slings for 226 yards and led the team with 88 rushing yards. Tight end Darren Waller had nine receptions for 150 yards.
Herbert enjoyed going up against a fellow Oregon Duck stand-out, Mariota was his favorite player during his formative years.
“Being from Eugene, I knew that whole program so well,” Herbert said. “Just to see him on the field, it’s everything I ever wanted.”
The Chargers has racked up two consecutive wins. Guyton believes the wins give the team confidence.
“We as a team, I’m so proud of every single individual on this team,” he said. “To go through a season like how we have, it takes a lot out of you.”
The Chargers struck first with tight end Hunter Henry taking a 10-yard touchdown pass. In the Raiders next possession, Carr suffered a groin injury and left the game. Las Vegas settled for a field goal.
Mariota came in and grabbed four first downs before connecting with Darren Waller for a touchdown. Herbert advanced the offense by targeting Guyton and wide receiver Keenan Allen but came up short on a third and goal at the Las Vegas four yard-line. With a successful field goal, the game was tied at 10.
Bolts head coach Anthony Lynn noted how prepping to deal with Mariota’s skill set was a challenge, Lynn called him a “dual threat.”
“We knew he could beat us with his legs and he makes you play 11-on-11,” Lynn said. “And when you hadn’t trained in practiced for that all week in a short week, that was a little bit of a surprise for us.”
When the Chargers offense returned to the field, they had one minute left in the second quarter and they began at the Raiders 49 yard-line. Herbert made two slings and scored to push the Chargers up 17-10.
The Las Vegas defense pushed the Chargers off the field, allowing Mariota make scramble and passing plays to score a touchdown.
Herbert responded through the pass, connecting with Guyton, wideout Mike Williams, and Henry. Rusher Kalen Ballage ran into the endzone and took the lead.
Mariota escaped two fourth downs to reach a first-in-goal. From two yards out, Mariota executed a touchdown rush to tie the game at 24.
The Bolts made big rushing plays, but the Raiders defense halted their momentum before they reached the Las Vegas red zone. Chargers kicker Bagley missed the field goal.
On the Raiders next possession, cornerback Chris Harris picked off Mariota for a 51-yard return. Mariota stopped the play.
After defensive tackle Kendal Vickers sacked Herbert for a loss of eight yards, Bagley missed a 51-yard field goal attempt. Las Vegas was also forced into a field goal situation with four seconds left in the game. A fumble by specialist AJ Cole sent the game into overtime.
The Las Vegas offense where on the field for most of overtime. Chargers defenders got more aggressive in the red zone and the Raider took a three-point lead with a field goal.
“As we got to the end of overtime when they were in the red zone, I told everybody ‘give me your best three plays right here’ right when they’re on the [five yard-line],” said corner Chris Harris, Jr. “Guys did that, everybody executed at a high level to make them kick that field goal.”
A defensive pass interference call helped the Chargers advance for 20 yards. Guyton completed a 53-yard passing play to give the Chargers a first and goal with Herbert making the winning touchdown.
The Bolts will return home to battler the Denver Broncos on December 27 at 10:00A.M.