Chargers cannot afford any extra losses after Raiders setback

He simply watched his staff blow an early 10-point lead, surrender 100 yards every to an opposing runner and receiver, and fall to .500 with solely 5 video games remaining.

Security Derwin James Jr., one of many Chargers’ hardest hitters, delivered a stark and sobering shot Sunday when requested in regards to the staff’s subsequent two foes — 8-4 Miami and 7-5 Tennessee.

“From here on out, the opponent don’t have a face” he mentioned. “We gotta win ’em. The opponent … it don’t matter who we’re playing, we gotta win.”

The Chargers, 6-6 and ninth within the AFC, now will meet groups consecutively that at the moment maintain playoff positions. Each video games are at SoFi Stadium, the place the Chargers are 2-3 this season.

They’ve the identical total document as New England and sit one recreation behind the New York Jets, who at the moment maintain the AFC’s last postseason spot.

By shedding 27-20 to a Las Vegas Raiders staff that entered Sunday 4-7, the Chargers pushed themselves even nearer to the brink.

Or maybe they have been shoved there.

The Raiders sacked Justin Herbert 5 instances and hit him 14 instances complete, strong-arming the sport away with a 4-minute 7-second stretch of bullying to open the third quarter.

Main 13-10 and having acquired the second-half kickoff, the Chargers turned over the ball on their second play when operating again Austin Ekeler fumbled on successful by Raiders security Duron Harmon.

“Had the ball in the inside arm, which is putting yourself at risk,” Ekeler mentioned. “I had a defender on the outside. I wasn’t even thinking about the ball, and, sure enough, [it got] punched out.”

The Chargers bought off to a very good begin when Bryce Callahan (23) returned an interception for a landing towards the Raiders to present the guests an early lead.

(David Becker / Related Press)

On the subsequent snap, Las Vegas’ Derek Carr hit Davante Adams for a 31-yard landing go when the two-time All-Professional vast receiver gained a battle for the ball with cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. ultimately zone.

The Chargers moved 42 yards in eight performs on their subsequent possession however failed to attain when Cameron Dicker’s 52-yard field-goal try sailed vast proper.

Earlier than the miss, the Chargers had made 45 consecutive tries — area targets and further factors — throughout a streak that started in Week 2 and coated the efforts of three kickers.

This time, the Raiders wanted solely two snaps to achieve the top zone and open a sudden 24-13 edge. After a 13-yard run by Josh Jacobs, Carr and Adams related for a 45-yard landing.

Cornerback Bryce Callahan was in protection and tweaked a earlier groin harm on the play, knocking him out for the remainder of the afternoon.

“The third quarter was where the game was decided,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley mentioned. “That was the story, those two big passes.”

The story did have one other thick chapter, one which detailed Las Vegas’ early and intense strain on Herbert. Raiders edge rushers Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones got here out flying and dominant.

Even Jerry Tillery, a 2019 Chargers first-round choose launched by the staff in November, had successful on Herbert within the first quarter. Las Vegas claimed Tillery on waivers.

Jones, who entered the sport with solely half a sack for the season, bought to Herbert 3 times. Security Isaiah Pola-Mao had a sack, and Clelin Ferrell and Matthew Butler break up one. Tillery hit Herbert once more later too.

The Chargers started Sunday lacking 60% of the offensive line — middle and each tackles — projected to begin this season. Then, all through the sport, rookie proper guard Zion Johnson battled a shoulder harm that price him snaps.

“It was tough out there,” Staley mentioned. “The rush was coming. They had a lot of different designer looks.”

The Raiders blitzed at instances and combined personnel packages that frequently challenged the Chargers’ safety scheme. Fill-in tackles Jamaree Salyer and Foster Sarell got assist, however the struggles have been evident.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert tries to scramble away from Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby (98) in the second half.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert tries to scramble away from Raiders defensive finish Maxx Crosby through the second half.

(David Becker / Related Press)

Herbert completed 28 for 47 for 335 yards however may drive the Chargers into the top zone solely as soon as, and that got here on a determined fourth-and-12 go to Keenan Allen halfway by the fourth quarter.

“I thought we were good at times,” Staley mentioned of the safety. “And then, at times, a little bit leaky. Didn’t run the ball well enough. But I thought [Herbert] managed it well, was able to protect the football. But the heat was on, for sure.”

Adams completed with eight receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns. In two video games towards the Chargers this season, he had 18 catches for 318 yards and three touchdowns.

Jacobs added 144 yards dashing in 26 makes an attempt, turning into the seventh operating again this 12 months to high 100 yards towards the Chargers.

And up subsequent comes a Miami staff that options vast receiver Tyreek Hill, who made a behavior of torching the Chargers’ protection throughout his time with AFC West rival Kansas Metropolis.

Not that, as James urged, the opposition issues as a lot for this staff now because the end result.

“We gotta keep playing,” the Professional Bowl security mentioned. “There’s more games to be played. Prime time next week. We gotta come out [with a] sense of urgency. Each game from here on out, we can’t lose anymore. We gotta win out.”