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Derwin James’ first INT of 2021 smothers any hope for late Raiders comeback

DJ called “Game!”

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After eating two long drives by the Raiders to minimize their lead to just seven points, the Chargers needed a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to put away a pesky divisional opponent. Behind the efforts of their revamped offensive line, the Chargers marched down the field on a 10-play, 58-yard drive and capped it with an 11-yard scamper by Austin Ekeler to take a two-touchdown lead.

Even after that score, however, the Chargers knew they needed to shut the door.

Seven plays into the Raiders’ ensuing drive, one second-and-nine from the Chargers’ 47-yard line, Derek Carr attempted to hit tight end Darren Waller on a deep crossing route. However, the Bolts’ defensive captain was strapped to Waller’s hip and managed to leap in front of the massive pass-catcher to take the ball away before heading back the other direction for a 15-yard return.

It was James’ first interception since the Chargers’ comeback victory over the Steelers during his 2018 rookie season and certainly a welcomed sight by the fan base after the past two seasons where James was held to just five games played over a 32-game span.

James finished the game with a team-high six tackles and a pass defended along with the aforementioned pick. He’s currently second on the Chargers with 20 total tackles this season behind Nasir Adderley’s 22.

Through the first three games against Washington, Dallas, and Kansas City, James has been a force all over the field and hadn’t necessarily needed an interception to put his mark on a football game. However, in this game, with bragging rights in the division on the line, I’m glad he finally decided to make it happen.