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SNF Recap: Las Vegas Raiders Answer Pittsburgh’s Prayers, Defeating The Chargers, 35-32, En Route To Playoffs

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Pour one out for Chargers fans; the Raiders and Steelers are headed to the playoffs after a 35-32 victory by Las Vegas sealed the three-way bid for the postseason.

The playoff picture was set up where a win by either team would result in a postseason spot but a tie would send both teams, capping Pittsburgh and Big Ben’s final ride.

Steelers fans were on their knees for nearly 70 minutes, watching the Chargers and Raiders trade scores.

The game was also defined by fourth downs, concurrently filling out the narrative on Chargers coach Brandon Staley as a first-year play-caller — opting for analytics over traditional play calling.

Staley’s first contentious call to go for it on fourth came in the third quarter with 8:52 left.

The Chargers trailed the Raiders, 17-14, and Staley called for the offense to attempt the fourth-down conversion with the team’s back only 11 yards away from their end zone. Running back Austin Ekeler fell short of the first down and the Raiders capitalized with a field goal to extend their lead 20-14.

The Raiders didn’t relent, scoring on an 11-yard touchdown to Hunter Renfrow to start the fourth. Barring their failed two-point conversion, Las Vegas seemed the favorite to run away with the win after a 52-yarder by placekicker Daniel Carlson, 29-14.

Herbert was picked off at the start of the fourth quarter (12:55) by former Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward, amping up sentiments of a sure-fire win by the Raiders.

Still, only two possessions away from tying, the Chargers got the ball back and traveled 75 yards in 14 plays to cut the lead after hitting Austin Ekeler for a two-point conversion, 29-21.

On a final drive to tie up the game, Herbert and the offense fought through fourth-down attempts to keep their hopes alive. Mike Williams not only caught a crucial first-down pickup, but he also caught the walk-off, game-tying touchdown pass by Herbert. 29-29.

Josh Jacobs ripped a pair of big runs to set the Raiders up comfortably in Chargers territory. Carlson narrowly hit the upright but saw the field goal go in, 32-29.

Chargers kicker Dustin Hopkins hit a 41-yard field goal to tie the game, 32-32.

The Chargers converted six total fourth downs on the evening, but the ballsy plays by Staley couldn’t prevent an errant timeout called as the Raiders seemingly tried to run the clock out with seconds left in overtime. Sentiments began to hover around this point that both teams would let the tie ensue and ruin Pittsburgh’s playoff scenario; however, interim Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia decided to end his improbable success this year on a high.

Las Vegas sent out Daniel Carlson for a final appearance, nailing the 47-yarder to win in overtime.

Derek Carr completed 20-of-36 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Jacobs rushed 26 times for 132 yards and a touchdown.

Herbert completed 34-of-64 attempts for 383 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

The Raiders (10-7) now look to the Wild Card round as Las Vegas becomes the first team to advance to the playoffs after losing their head coach mid-season. Los Angeles finished their season at 9-8, giving Staley a foundation to work with for seasons to come. Should the botched fourth downs not start to pile up.

Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Guided by Kevin Harlan on one shoulder, Eli Manning on the other, Alejandro joins the OutKick community with an authentic passion for sports, pop culture, America, and episodes of Jeopardy!

 

Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

3 Comments

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  1. Some bad 4th down decisions cost them the KC game. The endless kicking woes continue. The offensive line needs an overhaul. Receivers drop way too many catchable balls. Not enough pass rush on Carr last night, Too many defensive penalties. There is a lot of work to do this off season for the Chargers.

  2. Am I the only one who doesn’t think that LAC timeout was a big deal? If they let the clock run, the Raiders just run the same play and call timeout afterwards anyway. And it gave Chargers’ coaches a chance to set their defense (which admittedly forgot how to tackle on the ensuing play).

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