FSM Essential Recap: Week 18 – Raiders vs Chargers

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) | Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)


For the first time since 2016, the Raiders are playoff-bound with a home victory over their division rival.


Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders are back in the playoffs. For only the second time in twenty years, the Silver and Black will be in the postseason.

In the final game of the 2021 campaign, the Raiders controlled their destiny. A win over their AFC West division rival, Los Angeles Chargers, would continue their season and put them in the playoffs. If they suffered a loss, it’s better luck next year, but a tie would send both teams into the postseason.

In the biggest game at Allegiant Stadium’s short history, the Raiders and Chargers gave the fans in attendance, and those watching on TV, a thrilling game that went into overtime and down to the wire to see who moves on and who goes home.


What better way to end the NFL regular season than with this thrilling match-up?


Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Early in the game, the Raiders were in control. More energetic, players seemed locked in while the Chargers looked nervous, not making the plays they are accustomed to in the game.

Raiders got out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to quarterback Derek Carr finding you know who, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow for a touchdown. Raiders looked to be in control and, if they could keep it up, would have a good showing at home.

But the Chargers would start to find their groove in the second quarter as they scored two touchdowns to take the lead 14-10. But just before the end of the half, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs would score on a run giving the Silver and Black a 17-14 lead going into halftime.

With a close game, the Chargers looking like themselves, the second half would be an exciting affair to watch. But that wasn’t the case. Both teams struggled to take advantage and find a steady rhythm in the third quarter. Fortunately, the Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson booted one through the uprights and gave the team a 20-14 lead going into the fourth and final regular-season quarter.

The final quarter would see the Raiders look to put the nail in the coffin and send the Chargers home looking for better luck next seasonAnother touchdown pass from Carr to Renfrow gave the team a 26-14 lead. An interception by cornerback Casey Hayward on the next Chargers drive gave the Raiders the ball back and a chance to further their lead. Carlson would kick another field goal and give the Raiders a 29-14 lead with 8:23 left to play in the game.

The Chargers would go on an extended drive that saw them convert on two fourth down plays. The second resulted in a touchdown, cutting the lead 29-22. With the Raiders going three and out, the Chargers’ offense was back on the field again for another extended drive. This time, the Bolts had three conversions on fourth down to keep the drive alive. The Chargers were able to work down to five seconds remaining in the game when quarterback Justin Herbert found wideout Mike Williams in double coverage for the touchdown to tie the game.

The quarter that started with a fifteen-point lead turned into a game going into overtime. Conservative play calling on offense, defensively having the secondary back far off the line of scrimmage to not give up anything over the top, allowed the Chargers to eat up yards in front of them down the field. What should’ve been over was now going into an extra quarter to decide it all.


Overtime. All or nothing.


Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: David Becker/AP

On the opening possession of overtime, the Raiders managed a decent drive down the field and got another field goal from Carlson. The Chargers did the same as they had another conversion on fourth down (Chargers were 6/7 on fourth downs) and made their own field goal.

With both teams scoring, the next point would win with only 4:30 left in OT.

The Raiders once again were able to manage a good drive that saw them chew away the clock. As time went down, the idea of a tie seemed like a possible outcome.

If the game ended in a tie, both the Raiders and Chargers would make the playoffs, giving the AFC West three teams in postseason play. It would also eliminate the Pittsburgh Steelers from postseason play. So as the clock ticked away, many wondered, could we see a tie and both teams move forward?

But that’s not how the Raiders wanted to end their season. That’s not the result they wanted to give the fans, and in the spirit of the late great John Madden, that’s not how you play the game. So the Raiders worked their magic and, with two seconds left on the clock, called on Carlson. For two seasons, he has not missed a field goal in Allegiant Stadium, and he wasn’t going to miss one now. The kick went straight through the uprights and saw the Silver and Black punch their ticket into postseason play keeping their season alive while sending their rivals home to sulk all offseason.

Back in the playoffs, the Raiders are where they once made a home for themselves. This will be Carr’s first time in the postseason as he missed the 2016 campaign due to injury. This team, through all it’s been through, at one point was 6-7 and seemed to have a lost season. This team is now headed to play in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs.

With momentum on their side and a never-say-die mentality, the Raiders will look to keep the ball rolling in victory lane next week. They rallied, pulled together, won four straight games against playoff-caliber teams, and finished the season 10-7. It doesn’t get any easier as they will match up on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals, who gave the Raiders a beat down back in Week 11, with a 32-13 win over the Silver and Black at Allegiant Stadium.


The Raiders will play the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday. The kickoff will be at 1:30 pm and can be seen on NBC.

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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Kalani on Twitter @KLua11

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