Video Credit: NFL

New FSM Essential Game Recap: Raiders vs Chargers – Week 15

Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)  |  Los Angeles Chargers (5-9)



The door for the Las Vegas Raiders’ playoff chances continues to close, but another one has opened up for backup quarterback Marcus Mariota.


Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: USA Today

After starting quarterback Derek Carr went down with a leg injury in the first quarter, Mariota stepped in. Mariota’s valiant effort came up short as the Raiders lost 30-27 in overtime against divisional rival Los Angeles Chargers. After starting 6-3, the Raiders have lost four of their last five games, diminishing their playoff hopes.

But this could be the spark Mariota needed in his career.

After a stellar career at Oregon — which included him winning the HeismanMariota went No.2 overall to the Tennessee Titans, where he couldn’t find his groove and eventually was signed replaced by Ryan Tannehill.

The Raiders gave him a hefty contract — two years worth $17.6 million — to be the backup to Derek Carr.


Yet it wasn’t enough to keep their playoff hopes alive.


“It’s been a long journey,” Mariota said. “I’ve been through everything. From injuries to surgeries. I truly appreciate the Raiders and the entire organization for helping me through that. I was trying to find my way again and they gave an opportunity.”

In his first drive trailing 7-3, Mariota navigated the Raiders to touchdown, ending a six play, 86-yard drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darren Waller to give Vegas the 10-7 lead.

Marcus played great,Waller said. “Marcus comes into practice everyday, he has a good attitude. He plays hard and I thought it was no surprise to see him play he did tonight.”


But the Chargers fired back.


Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: USA Today

Los Angeles followed up the next drive with a 23-yard field goal by Michael Badgley to tie up the game at 10. Later, Justin Herbert gave the Chargers the 17-10 lead, connecting with Ty Johnson for a 24-yard touchdown.

It was a pretty special moment for Oregon fans, seeing two legendary Ducks‘ quarterback battling it out on NFL prime television.

“It was special for me,” Mariota said. “It was really cool to see his level and how he’s playing and doing. Being a fan of the game and a fan of Oregon players, it was really cool.”

Mariota led the Raiders to another long scoring drive, this time a 76-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown pass to Josh Jacobs in the third quarter to tie the game. But the Raiders defense couldn’t come through on the next drive, allowing a touchdown and a 24-17 lead by the Chargers.

Mariota tied the game up in the fourth quarter, scoring a one-yard touchdown run, sending the game into overtime.

The Raiders got on board with a Daniel Carlson field goal but the Chargers shut the door by responding with a 75-yard drive that concluded with a Herbert game-winning sneak.

The Raiders appointed defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli earlier this week after firing Paul Guenther. But it didn’t change much. Vegas‘ defense allowed 407 yards Thursday night.


Marcus Mariota’s play against the Chargers could result in a big payday.


Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: USA Today

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Mariota is poised to earn $200,000 whenever he plays more than 60% of the Raiders’ snaps in a game. That number increases to $325,000 if Vegas wins the game. (This is on top of a fully guaranteed 2020 salary of $7.5 million.) Additionally, playing at least 60% of the snaps in any single game bumps Mariota’s 2021 salary up by $625,000.

Mariota ended up playing 86% of the snaps, so he could have earned $950,000 if the Raiders had won. The Chargers came out on top, despite their best efforts to give the game away, so Mariota earned $825,000 in bonuses.

There’s a catch, though. It’s possible that Mariota doesn’t see the additional $625,000 that was tacked on to his 2021 salary. His pay for next season isn’t guaranteed and the Raiders can save more than $10 million on their salary cap if Mariota isn’t with the team. That’s a lot of money to pay a backup quarterback but Mariota showed on Thursday that he’s the best backup in the NFL, so the team could decide it’s worth it to have him behind Carr, in which case Mariota keeps the $625,000.

Mariota probably isn’t done cashing in this year, either. Coach Gruden said after the game that Carr’s groin injury is “significant.” That lines up Mariota to start at least one more game and earn at least another $200,000.


You can watch next week’s game next Saturday against the Dolphins with kick-off scheduled for 5:15 p.m. PT.


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Jesus Cano – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: @Juice_Cano


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