For most of their Thursday night game, the Chargers were in control, either with the lead or tied with the ball in their hands. But they still found themselves needing a score with three minutes left in overtime to end the game with a result.
Justin Herbert got the job done. He connected with Jalen Guyton for a 53-yard pass to get the Chargers within two yards of the end zone. Four rushes later, the Chargers had their fifth win of the season, beating the Raiders 30-27 on their first trip to Allegiant Stadium.
The Chargers got off to a strong start, forcing a three-and-out on the Raiders’ first possession, and they capitalized with a 12-play touchdown drive that lasted nearly seven and a half minutes. Justin Herbert hit five different targets during the drive, culminating with a strike to Hunter Henry for the tight end’s fourth touchdown catch of the season.
It looked like the defense was going to surrender seven in response, but the Chargers got a gift when Raiders quarterback Derek Carr pulled up gimpy on 3rd-and-goal with a strained groin. He ended up leaving the game with a strained groin, and the Raiders had to settle for three.
The Chargers couldn’t take advantage, and the Raiders immediately countered on backup QB Marcus Mariota’s first possession with a touchdown of their own to go up 10-7. Mariota had two big throws to tight end Darren Waller, including the scoring play itself, to take the lead. Fortunately, the Chargers regained their footing, and were aided by a Raiders gaffe. They scored a field goal with 1:56 to play in the half, and then got the ball back at essentially midfield thanks to a punt that went out of bounds. Herbert aired it out, and 41 seconds later, the Chargers were up 17-10.
The trading scores continued in the second half, as the two teams scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives to bring the score to 24-all. The Chargers sold out to prevent big plays, but that allowed the Raiders to get short completions, and Mariota’s running was too much to handle.
Still, the Chargers had a chance to take the lead with time winding down in the fourth quarter. Things were going according to plan until Henry may or may not have been held on a potential third-down conversion near the 30-yard line. The Chargers probably could have gone for it on 4th-and-2, but they instead lined up a 46-yard field goal with 3:38 left in the game that felt doomed from the snap, and Michael Badgley missed.
The Raiders were marching for the winning score, but then Zay Jones couldn’t get his hands on a Mariota pass that was just behind him, and Jones deflected the ball into the hands of Chris Harris Jr. for the first turnover of the game. Harris returned the ball to the 33-yard-line, but the Chargers were content to play for the field goal for some reason, which proved disastrous when Herbert was sacked on third down. Badgley missed the 51-yarder. Fortunately, the Raiders couldn’t do anything in the remaining 53 seconds, resulting in overtime.
The Raiders could only get a field goal to start overtime thanks to a strong line goal-line stand from the Chargers defense, and then Herbert led the game-winning drive. It was a strange finish, but the Chargers played well enough to win, and they earned the victory.