The Las Vegas Raiders can’t buy a break. Their season started out well enough, so promising, but now it appears that they are not even going to make it to the playoffs, again. If they do get in, it will be only the second time in 18 years for the franchise. Last night’s NFL game against the LA Chargers didn’t go at all as planned.
The Raiders Fall Behind
The Raiders were handed an expected loss in Thursday Night Football and, on top of that, it looks like they may have lost the services of quarterback Derek Carr due to a groin injury he suffered while running the ball late in the second quarter. The good news is that Jon Gruden had a backup quarterback on the bench with loads of experience. It was Marcus Mariota who went into the game for the injured Carr and did very well indeed. Gruden and the Raiders paid a lot of money to contract Mariota after he left the Tennessee Titans, but last night he proved to be worth it.
Not so long ago, the Raiders were at 6-3 after beating the Browns and the Broncos in back to back games. Since then, it’s been pretty ugly for the newly transplanted Las Vegas football franchise.
The Raiders could have won last night against Chargers. Mariota was playing well and they were moving the football. But regulation time ran out with the score tied at 24. Las Vegas won the coin toss and received the overtime kickoff.
They moved the ball down the field but sputtered out when they approached the goal line and settled for a field goal, probably figuring that would be enough to win the game. If they had just scored that touchdown, the game would have been over and the Raiders would be in good position to make the NFL playoffs for only the second time in 18 years. But they kicked the field goal and appeared satisfied with that. It just did not look like the Raiders were playing to win.
Herbert Clinches For The Chargers
But they hadn’t counted on rookie Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who has to rate an “exceeds expectations” grade, at least. Yes, the Chargers are only at 5-9 this year, even after beating the Raiders. But, this Herbert guy is the real deal it seems. He’s a big kid at 240 pounds and 6’6”, but he moves like a lighter man. If the Chargers can get him a supporting cast during the off season, we might just see Las Vegas in the playoffs next time around.
Herbert threw 32 passes and completed 22 of them for 314 yards, scoring two touchdowns and no picks. Mariota was only in the game for a little more than the second half, but he completed 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards and one touchdown, with one interception. Both quarterbacks were impressive last night.
Herbert also rushed for 88 yards and one touchdown becoming the first rookie quarterback in the history of the NFL to pass for over 300 yards and run for the winning touchdown in overtime, taking the score to 30-27.
Las Vegas oddsmakers, perhaps favoring the home team, made the Raiders 3-point favorites, and everything that could go wrong did. The Raiders pulled the same burn out last season, losing 5 of their last 6 games.
Raiders To Be Ready For Miami
Next up for the Las Vegas team is a Saturday night game on Boxing Day (December 26) when the Miami Dolphins come to town bringing their own version of a promising young quarterback named Tua Tagovailoa. The Raiders will finish up the regular season on January 3 up in Denver playing the Broncos.
The Chargers will host the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon December 27 in their beautiful new SoFi Stadium and close out the season on January 3 with a trip to Kansas City to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.