Following an already stressful week, the Las Vegas Raiders decided to follow the trend, taking their battle with the Los Angeles Chargers down to the very last seconds, but emerging victorious 31-26.
Throughout the first half, the Raiders bent and broke trying to slow down the Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen connection and probably should have been burnt for more points and yards, had Herbert completed a few more deep passes.
In the second half, the Raiders buckled down a bit, limiting more passes headed towards the middle of the field. Yet, the defense still left plenty of space between them and the receivers. Isaiah Johnson replaced an injured Trayvon Mullen, a new target the Chargers thought they could pick on, The second-year corner certainly earned his playing time, breaking up Herbert’s final two passes to the end zone, crushing their hopes and sealing the victory.
The Raiders defensive line pressured Herbert for a majority of the game. Sadly, they only managed with two sacks (which is impressive considering their last few games) and two tackles for loss. The two-sack recorders were Maxx Crosby and Carl Nassib and coincidentally, the pair were also the two recorders of tackles for loss. It is certainly not ideal for two players to register all loss of yards tackles, but two is better than none.
On the run-stopping side, the Raiders did not stop much at the line of scrimmage. However, they did an impeccable job limiting the long runs. The longest run of the game was Kalen Ballage’s 14-yard scamper. At the beginning of the season, the Raiders appeared to be a team that could be walked through on the ground. Today, it felt like the Silver and Black tightened up. It was certainly not locking down but tightened up for sure.
Offensively, Carr looks better than ever throwing the deep ball and scrambling as well. Carr threw perfect deep balls to Nelson Agholor for 53 yards and a touchdown and a 45-yard improvised touch pass to Hunter Renfrow. He also rushed and jumped defenders for a clutch third-down conversion in the red zone. The only possible complaint fans could have with Carr was his inability to get Henry Ruggs involved today. The first-rounder only saw three targets.
Josh Jacobs was exactly what one might expect, but Devontae Booker may have stolen the show with a 23-yard touchdown run. Jacobs, however, would not go quietly and answered Booker’s run with a 14-yard touchdown of his own.
All in all, the offense played impressively, but I know the defense can be better. Yes, they showed significant improvement today, but they can get better. Good teams find a way to maintain some semblance of coverage.
Regardless, a win is a win, and now all eyes point to Denver.