A playoff spot is on the line when the Las Vegas Raiders take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football. If, leading up to Thanksgiving, you thought the Raiders would have a chance to make the playoffs, you may have been institutionalized.
A year with ups and downs and more off-field drama than Hollywood could write has the opportunity to see the Raiders in the postseason
. Nevertheless, a familiar face could again derail the Silver and Black’s postseason hopes. Let’s revisit this cruel history with the Bolts
coming into Sin City
with plans to spoil the Raiders’ party again.
If you want to look at a season
with a lot of happenings that tested the team’s mentality and resolve, this was one. The Raiders had jumped out to a 2-2 start, but legendary owner Al Davis had passed away the day before they played the Houston Texans. They won that emotional game, honoring Davis and improving to 3-2. Unfortunately, in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, they lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell to a broken collarbone though they improved to 4-2. Hue Jackson, the Raiders’ head coach at the time, made what he called the “greatest trade in football” when the Raiders traded first-round picks for former Pro Bowler Carson Palmer.
Nearing the season’s end
, the 4-2 start seemed so far away as an overtime win against Kansas City kept their season alive and let them have their all-or-nothing game against the Chargers. The team came out flat and responded late, but with everything set up for them, the Raiders failed and lost 38-26, a heartbreaking loss that seemed to cause the reset button, as it would be a few more years before the Raiders would contend.
The 2020 season sparked much negative press following the Raiders’ collapse from starting 6-3 to ending 8-8. The game that closed the door was the loss to the Chargers. The game was highlighted by a Derek Carr injury as he pulled his groin. Marcus Mariota took over and was electric, giving the Chargers a different look. It was a back and forth battle towards the end, with the Raiders driving to possibly pull out the win. Instead, an interception and a big return seemed to spell doom for the Raiders. What happened was a missed field goal and overtime. Mariota led a drive down the field, but it flamed out and ended with a field goal. The Chargers, on a play where they turned cornerback Keisean Nixon around, got inside the five, and following some close plays, Justin Herbert reached the ball over the goal line and all but ended the Raiders’ hopes.
What about Sunday?
The Raiders need to change that history, and it will be up to Carr to do that. In a Week 4 loss this season, Joey Bosa essentially called Carr soft, and Carr admitted that it got to him. “It pissed me off,” Carr stated. If there was a moment, a game, a place to show that he is that franchise player, it is here. Carr should have his all-world tight end, Darren Waller, back for this game, which means the Raiders will be as healthy as they’ve been in a while. In the Week 17 victory against the Colts, Carr showed tremendous poise as he led two scoring drives with big throws to secure the win and solidify this opportunity. Nothing else matters but a win, so in the words of Al Davis this week, “Just Win, Baby.”
*Top Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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