The Los Angeles Chargers got a throwback performance from Khalil Mack and some gutsy plays from an injured Justin Herbert to survive a late rally by the Raiders to move to 2-2 ahead of their Week Five bye.
Herbert played most of the second half with a splint and wrap on his left hand after it was stepped on by a Raiders player following his first interception of the season. The Chargers couldn’t muster many yards from then on and they hastily tried to stop All-Pro wideout Davante Adams from single-handedly winning the game.
Ultimately, Asante Samuel Jr.’s interception and Khalil Mack’s franchise-record six sacks were all needed to come out on top in this one.
For the compete quarter-by-quarter recap of today’s game, continue on below!
The Raiders won the toss and chose to defer. Justin Herbert and the offense were up first.
On the second play of the game, rookie wide receiver Derius Davis lined up in the backfield and took a toss to the right. Davis broke through the first line of defense, cut back, then hit the accelerators for a massive 51-yard gain to put them deep inside Raiders territory. Two plays later, Joshua Kelley took his first handoff for an 11-yard gain.
After recovering a forced fumble by Maxx Crosby, the Chargers managed to find the end zone on a 12-yard scramble by Justin Herbert who beat the blitz and sprinted into the end zone at the same corner he scored his very first touchdown back in 2020 against the Chiefs.
A little over four minutes into the game, the Charges led 7-0.
On Aidan O’Connell’s first drive of the game, he handed off twice to Josh Jacobs before dropping back on third down. Khalil Mack looped inside off a pick from Tuli Tuipulotu and managed to get home for his first sack of the 2023 season. The quick three-and-out gave the ball right back to Herbert and the offense with 8:35 in the quarter.
The Chargers got another chunk run from Kelley who broke through multiple tackles on a 22-yard gain. That was followed by a poor call from Kellen Moore on another pitch play that lost five. A six-yard gain to Gerald Everett and an incompletion forced the Chargers to punt.
The Raiders even the score with a eight-play, 64-yard drive that was aided by a defensive pass interference penalty on Michael Davis to give the Raiders first-and-10 from the Chargers’ own 19-yard line. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell converted a QB Sneak to get the Raiders on the board.
The Chargers faced a third-and-one at their 30-yard line as the quarter came to an end.
Quentin Johnston made his first catch of the game on a fantastic effort to get both hands under the ball following Herbert’s miraculous escape from a near-sack. The Chargers found themselves with the ball at first-and-10 from the Raiders seven-yard line. A tipped incompletion to Johnston was followed by a sack via Maxx Crosby. Herbert then attempted to fit a ball to Donald Parham in the back of the end zone but that also got tipped. Parham was injured on the play with a wrist injury.
Cameron Dicker came on for the field goal to break the tie at 10-7.
Several plays into the Raiders’ next drive, Chris Rumph forced an O’Connell fumble before recovering it himself. It set the Chargers up inside Raiders territory with plenty of mometum on their side.
Following a four-yard rush by Isaiah Spiller, Herbert rolled out right and was immediately pressured by Crosby. Herbert put the jukes on him and ran up the right sideline for a modest gain. Jut as Hebert was completely outside the boundary, former Chargers teammate Jerry Tillery rocked him high to draw an obscene unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The entire Chargers bench erupted and the tension was enormous as the whole team mugged up on Tillery, not allowing him a quick escape to teh other side of the field. After replay of the incident, Tillery was ejected from the game for the egregious hit.
Three players later, Herbert hit Keenan Allen on a wide-open slant route for his first passing score of the game. After the extra point, the Chargers led 17-7.
Khalil Mack got home for his second sack of the day and forced another O’Connell fumble which was recovered by Austin Johnson. The Chargers marched the ball all the way to the Raiders one-yard line where back-to-back quarterback sneaks from Herbert got them back into the end zone. The score pushed the lead to 24-7.
The defense held at the end of the half as they forced a punt just before kneeling into the half.
The Raiders received the opening kickoff of the second half but were immediately reminded about that Khalil Mack guy rushing off the edge. The first play of the half was Mack’s fourth sack and second forced fumble of the game. That threw off the offense’s rhythm once again and they punted. Punter AJ Cole got a nice bounce and was able to pin the Chargers at their five-yard line.
On the other side of the break, the Chargers couldn’t gain a yard. In fact, they lost two yards on first down and then attempted to go routes up the left sideline. Both fell incomplete and the Bolts punted right back to the Raiders who started their drive near midfield.
Mack record his fifth sack of the game to force the Raiders into a third-and-18 situation several plays in. That ended up not meaning much as the Raiders converted with a 21-yard catch-and-run play to Josh Jacobs. Asante Samuel Jr. was later called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after tossing wideout Hunter Renfrow to the ground after the whistle blew which set the Raiders inside the Chargers’ red zone. Thankfully, the defense held and forced Las Vegas to kick. It was good and the Chargers got the ball back up 24-10 with 4:51 remaining in the quarter.
The Chargers got off to another good start with good runs by Joshua Kelley and Herbert, but tragedy struck soon after. On third-and-10 from the midfield stripe, Herbert escaped the pocket to his right and threw up a pass to Josh Palmer who was covered well by a defender between him and his quarterback. The ball sailed over his head and into the waiting arms of Trevon Moehrig. An illegal block on the Raiders backed the return up but it was still the first turnover from Herbert on the season.
Herbert was caught up in the garbage of the play trying to make the tackle and he took a hit by Maxx Crosby before getting his left hand stepped on. Visibly shaken up, Herbert was slow to get up before walking under his own power to the medical tent.
The Raiders were driving as the quarter came to an end.
Running back Josh Jacobs helped lead the Raiders down the field into threatening territory. A lucky “crackback block” penalty on Las Vegas backed them up behind the chains which led to Mack’s SIXTH sack of the game. That set the single-game Chargers franchise record and put him one off tying the NFL single-game record of seven.
Six sacks today for Khalil Mack, who is one shy of the NFL record with about 10 minutes to go in L.A. pic.twitter.com/Q0RhptQLN3— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 1, 2023
Herbert came back into the game with his left hand wrapped up with a splint on his middle finger. The Chargers ran the ball on first for no gain, Herbert was sacked on second down, and then another run to gain room for the ensuing punt on third.
Davante Adams took over on their next drive with four receptions to get the Raiders inside the 10-yard line. Las Vegas eventually punched it in to make the score 24-17 and really put the pressure on the Chargers.
Herbert returned to the field once more with a new glove to help him grip the ball with the splint in place. Three plays into the drive, the Chargers faced fourth-and-one after a heroic scramble from Herbert. For the first time this season, the Bolts attempted a “tush push” quarterback sneak, similar to the Eagles’ highly-successful play. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t muster the needed yard and they turned the ball over at their own 34-yard line with 3:30 on the clock.
In five plays, the Raiders found themselves at the three-yard line with all four downs. O’Connell took the snap and drifted to his right, looking for a receiver to get open off a legal pick concept. Samuel read it the whole way before jumping in front of the intended pass to Jakobi Meyers. Samuel slid at the 11-yard line instead of attempting to score with a free acre of green in front of him.
With 2:33 on the clock and the Raiders possessing just one timeout, the Chargers ran the ball twice for no gain to take it into the two minute. Facing a third-and-10, Herbert dropped back and launched one up to Josh Palmer who was streaking up the left sideline. He created just enough space at the top of the route and snagged Herbert’s pass for a 51-yard gain. The conversion iced the game for the Chargers who knelt out the rest of the clock.
Justin Herbert finished with 167 passing yards on 13-of-24 passing for 167 yards and one touchdown to one interception. He also rushed for two touchdowns.
Joshua Kelley led the backfield with 17 carries for 65 yards.
Josh Palmer, who caught the game-sealing reception, finished with a team-high 77 yards on three catches. Keenan Allen also caught three passes for 32 yards.
Khalil Mack set the single-game Chargers record with six sacks. He also forced two fumbles.
Asante Samuel Jr. had six tackles and a huge interception, his first of the season.