It might not have come easy, but the Oakland Raiders on Thursday managed to pull out another dramatic victory that has put them squarely in the American Football Conference (AFC) playoff race.
Derek Carr engineered another late winning drive, Karl Joseph delivered the sealing defensive play and Josh Jacobs scored on an 18-yard run with 1 minute, 2 seconds remaining to pull off the Raiders’ second thriller in five days, beating the Los Angeles Chargers 26-24.
“We just found a way to win. That says so much about our team,” Carr said. “Some nights are just tougher than others. This was just one of those nights that was just tougher. You see our team with the resilience.”
The late-game heroics came after Philip Rivers threw a six-yard pass to Austin Ekeler that gave the Chargers (4-6) a 24-20 lead with 4:02 remaining.
Carr completed three passes to Jalen Richard and two to Hunter Renfrow to start the game-winning 75-yard drive, before Jacobs finished it off with his seventh touchdown of his rookie season, running through a big hole created by center Rodney Hudson and guard Richie Incognito.
“As soon as I saw it, I was just thinking: ‘Go.’” Carr said. “I knew this would either be a big run or a first down, and luckily it was a big run.”
Daniel Carlson missed the extra point, putting more pressure on the tired Raiders defense to stop Rivers. Trayvon Mullen was called for holding on a fourth-down pass to extend the drive, but Joseph then intercepted a fourth-down pass from Rivers to seal it.
“That says a lot about our team,” coach Jon Gruden said. “We have a lot of resilient guys. We compete. You might beat us, but we’ll be a hard out to get. We’ll battle.”
Rivers threw interceptions on his first two drives, falling into a 10-0 hole, when Erik Harris took the second interception back 56 yards for a touchdown.
Rivers responded by throwing two touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score to Ekeler in his final start at the Coliseum — but he fell short at the end.
“You give a team 10 points at their place — then you have the ball with a chance to win at the end, and you have eight snaps and go nowhere. It’s going to be tough to win,” Rivers said.
The Raiders blew a chance to open up the game in the third quarter, settling for a field goal after driving to the four-yard line on the opening drive and then missing a 53-yard field goal in the next drive, after DeAndre Washington got stuffed for no gain on third-and-one.
The Chargers settled for a field goal after getting inside the 10-yard line later in the quarter.
Melvin Gordon had 22 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown that put the Chargers up 14-10 in the second quarter.
The Raiders responded with their first sustained drive of the game and took a 17-14 lead at the half on Carr’s nine-yard pass to rookie fullback Alec Ingold with 20 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
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