It was the form of comedy that sells out theaters on the Strip.
In the course of November, after his workforce had misplaced at residence to the lowly Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders proprietor Mark Davis proclaimed with no trace of sarcasm that first-year coach Josh McDaniels was doing a “fantastic” job.
Unbelievable? The identical Raiders had blown three leads of at the least 17 factors. Speak about a gag reel. They have been so vexingly unreliable that quarterback Derek Carr cried in frustration in a postgame information convention. They fell to the Colts within the sideline debut of coach Jeff Saturday, who had no collegiate or professional teaching expertise and had simply stepped out of an ESPN studio.
If the Raiders weren’t the largest disappointment of the NFL season, they acquired clipped on the wire solely by Russell Wilson. They have been a tragic trombone personified.
However they positive didn’t look that means Sunday of their 27-20 victory over the Chargers, or of their two wins earlier than that, time beyond regulation street victories in opposition to the Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.
The Raiders even have a pulse, and that’s fairly one thing for a workforce that misplaced seven of its first 9 video games.
OK, so Las Vegas has solely 5 wins and is buried in third place within the AFC West. It’s just a little untimely to say it may possibly make a playoff run. Then once more, the Raiders play on the Rams on Thursday — nothing goes proper for the defending Tremendous Bowl champions — with an opportunity to claw their technique to 6-7.
The Raiders had an equivalent 6-7 document final season earlier than closing the schedule with 4 wins in a row and sneaking into the playoffs. Crazier issues have occurred.
The NFL season actually begins after Thanksgiving. That’s the fourth quarter of the common season, so everybody who can keep related as much as that time has an opportunity.
“Teams that can adapt in November and December, those are the teams that are really going to go the farthest,” Raiders left deal with Kolton Miller mentioned. “That’s do-or-die time for a lot of teams.”
Even with the loss, the 6-6 Chargers nonetheless have a greater document than the Raiders. Nevertheless it was the third defeat in 4 video games for Justin Herbert & Co., and the subsequent two opponents — Miami and Tennessee — are seemingly playoff groups. They aren’t as hobbled because the Rams, however the Chargers are heading within the unsuitable course as effectively.
And for Herbert, this journey to the mecca of gaming was type of a high-stakes recreation of left, proper, heart. As a result of the Chargers had backups at left deal with, proper deal with and heart, leaving them with porous safety of their quarterback (sacked 5 occasions) and nearly no working recreation (72 yards).
Las Vegas doesn’t have a straightforward end, both, with the Raiders’ remaining 4 video games in opposition to New England, at Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Kansas Metropolis. It’s value noting, although, that the 49ers have misplaced quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the season, and that remaining recreation may very well be meaningless to the Chiefs.
What’s extra, Raiders tight finish Darren Waller and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow are eligible to come back off injured reserve this week, so this workforce must be getting stronger on offense.
On Sunday, the Raiders acquired off to a horrid begin earlier than discovering their footing, with their first three possessions ending thusly: three and out, fumble, pick-six. However they have been a unique workforce after halftime, with Davante Adams scoring two touchdowns on lengthy receptions within the third quarter and nearly catching a 3rd scoring cross on the primary play of the fourth quarter.
Adams, who arrived this season from Inexperienced Bay, has made an prompt affect within the AFC West. He has caught passes for at the least 100 yards in every of his first 5 division video games.
The Chargers had their uncommon moments — a 35-yard landing reception by Keenan Allen within the fourth quarter to chop the deficit to seven — however principally couldn’t generate a lot of something.
For some within the guests’ locker room, dropping to the Raiders needed to conjure recollections of final season when Raiders-Chargers was moved to the coveted remaining Sunday evening slot, the league’s regular-season finale. The Raiders gained in time beyond regulation, 35-32, extinguishing the Chargers’ playoff hopes like moist fingers pinching a candle wick.
Carr, for one, is hopeful.
“The character was on full display this week,” he mentioned.
Positive beats comedy.