The draught for the Chargers in the AFC West is officially over.
With a 30-27 win over the Raiders in overtime, the Bolts grabbed their first win against a division opponent since Week 17 back at the end of the 2018 season. That breaks a streak of nine-straight losses within the division, something that went on far too long. With that streak being broken, a new streak was created at the same time. It’s the Chargers’ first winning streak of the season and the first time they’ve won back-to-back games since Weeks 8-9 of the 2019 campaign.
Justin Herbert started red-hot in this one, completing all six of his pass attempts for 75 yards on the team’s opening drive of the game, capping it all off with a 10-yard touchdown to tight end Hunter Henry.
The Raiders responded with a field goal after the Chargers defense stiffened up and held out the end zone from first-and-10 at their own five-yard line.
Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr wound up leaving the game on the failed third down attempt after he pulled up near the sideline with what was an obvious groin injury. Former Oregon and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota went on to replace Carr in what became the Duel of the Ducks.
On the Chargers ensuing drive, Herbert hit Tyron Johnson for a 17-yard gain after a false start penalty by Keenan Allen on a second-and-five. With some momentum on their side, Herbert threw a perfect pass to Jalen Guyton on short crossing route but the ball fumbled through his hands and fell incomplete. After punting it away, the Raiders only needed seven plays to go 86 yards before Mariota dropped a dime to tight end Darren Waller for a 35-yard score.
The Bolts killed seven and a half minutes off the clock on their next drive before Michael Badgley knocked home a 22-yard field goal to tie things back up at 17-17.
The defense stepped up once again and forced a quick three-and-out of the Raiders. In a swing of luck, the Las Vegas punter shanked his kick and set the Chargers up at the Vegas 49-yard line.
Four plays later, Herbert hit Johnson right between two defensive backs in coverage on a corner route for his second touchdown of the day right before halftime for a 17-10 lead.
In the third quarter, both teams traded one-yard touchdowns that each came after the opposing team committed a pass interference penalty in the end zone. The Raiders got one from Josh Jacobs and the Chargers got a short score from Kalen Ballage.
When the fourth quarter arrived, the Chargers were attempting to retain a 24-17 lead while the Raiders were in the early stages of what would end up being the longest drive by any team in the NFL this season. Las Vegas went 75 yards in a whopping 19 total plays, including two successful conversions on fourth downs. On third-and-goal from the two, Mariota took a short drop back before taking off to his right. As the Chargers pursued, the veteran took off from the two and leapt over two defenders before falling into the end zone.
The Chargers first drive of the fourth went 47 yards before Michael Badgley was called on once again to attempt a 47-yard field goal. It sailed wide left, leaving the score tied at 24-24. It was Badgley’s 11th miss of the season and his seventh missed field goal.
In desperate need of a momentum-shifting play, the defense got their first takeaway of the game when Chris Harris Jr. took advantage of a Mariota pass thrown behind his intended receiver. Harris sprinted the other direction for 51 yards before getting forced out at the Las Vegas 33.
In excruciating fashion, the Bolts got zero points off of the turnover after Badgley missed his second field goal of the game and his 12th kick of the season. This inevitably led to the score of 24-24 standing put through the remainder of regulation as this matchup headed into overtime.
The Raiders started OT with the ball and wasted no time in going right at the Chargers. They handed them body blow after body blow, getting inside the five-yard line with first-and-goal at the four. Here, with their backs against the wall, these Bolts did not break.
Three straight plays the Chargers held the Raiders out of the end zone and Las Vegas was forced to take the field goal, giving the offense one more shot to win it.
And that’s exactly what they did.
Taking advantage of a defensive pass interference call, Herbert and company got started at their 45-yard line. With a deep dropback on first-and-10, Herbert heaved a 53-yard bomb to Guyton who hit the turf at the two.
The Bolts tried a quarterback sweep play to the right but it was swallowed up immediately. However, the Raiders were called for a “lowering the helmet” penalty and the Chargers got the ball and a first down at the one. On the first attempt at a quarterback sneak, the ball was knocked out of Herbert’s grasp and shot into the end zone before Gabe Nabers recovered it. Unfortunately, due to the “Holy Roller” rule, no fumble advanced in the final two minutes can be recovered, so the ball returned to the one.
The second time was the charm.
Herbert extended the ball over the goal line before he was called down in the scrum and that was it.
Game over. Chargers win.
Herbert finished with three total touchdowns and 314 yards on 22-of-32 passing. Defensively, linebacker Nick Vigil led the team nine total tackles and a sack while Harris had five tackles and the team’s lone turnover of the night.
The Bolts are now 5-9 with two games remaining. They are back at home to host the Broncos a week from this Sunday.