Yesterday, the Silver and Black prepared for a crucial win-or-go-home game against division rivals the Los Angeles Chargers. By the night’s conclusion, the Las Vegas Raiders had punched their ticket to a playoff berth. Before the road to Cincinnati gets underway, let’s revisit this wild game.
The Raiders came in with a game plan yesterday to exploit the Chargers’ weaknesses. It was a fight to the end, and they delivered a clutch W in a nail-biting overtime thriller.
First, let’s give interim head coach Rich Bisaccia a huge round of applause. Despite hearing certain coaching rumors, he coached a solid game. Or how about the whole entire conspiracy of the game ending in a tie? Regardless, he was set on winning this game and advancing into the postseason. Any coaching staff decisions will have to wait.
Defense Was Hungry
During this nail-biter, the Raiders’ defense was making plays when it mattered the most. The defense, led by defensive end Maxx Crosby, made things difficult for quarterback Justin Herbert. Crosby had himself an amazing game, totaling six tackles, two sacks, and three pass deflections. In the fourth quarter, Crosby blitzed Herbert, forcing him to make a bad pass, which led to cornerback Nate Hobbs making a pass deflection.
Numerous players on defense stepped up, including veteran cornerback Casey Hayward, who had a huge interception, and defensive end Darius Philon, who disrupted the Chargers’ running lanes. In the third quarter, Philon made two clutch tackles, both of which led to a turnover on downs. The Raiders’ defense, simply put, was hungry and wanted to win the turnover battle.
Running Game is Back
In order to win this game, the ground game had to be established from the outset. The running back duo of Josh Jacobs and Jalen Richard delivered and carried this team for most of the game. Josh Jacobs finished this game with 131 rushing yards and a touchdown, while his teammate Jalen rushed for 24 yards.
In the course of the game, when the team needed it the most, Richard delivered a clutch conversion on 3rd and 22, effectively flipping the script of the game. Both running backs made plays in the trenches, which contributed to the win.
Passing Attack is Alive
Another key factor in securing this victory was the tandem of quarterback Derek Carr, who had 186 passing yards with two touchdowns, and wide receivers Zay Jones and Hunter Renfrow.
Renfrow himself had an amazing game with two touchdowns. He once again put the NFL on notice with that elusive route running that has yet to be stopped.
His teammate had 27 receiving yards as Jones answered the call when needed. In overtime, Jones caught a clutch laser-like pass from his quarterback on the sidelines, icing the game. Carr once again told his critics to relax with this game-winning drive.
Thank You Minnesota For Carlson
The Raiders’ kicker must really have ice in his veins because he keeps delivering game-winning field goals. Since Carlson was originally cut by the Minnesota Vikings, Raider Nation has welcomed him with open arms. Just this season, he’s more than proven that his feet can be trusted. Surely the Vikings are regretting this move right about now.
Who Would’ve Thought
In a season filled with numerous headlines, the Silver and Black never folded. The team could’ve easily given up and decided to focus on drafting a prospect in the top 13. Instead, they came together as one and won four straight games and are now in the wild card. This season has been special and it just shows how strong of a cohesive unit that exists inside the locker room. As the Raiders prepare for their next opponent, we all know that John Madden is smiling down from heaven, proud of what was done last night.
*Top Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports