By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com
The Chargers will be welcoming the Las Vegas Raiders into SoFi Stadium on Sunday’s Week 9 matchup, as they debut their new dark blue uniforms for the first time. This will be the 120th meeting all-time for these divisional rivals. Though the Chargers have a 12-4 record in the last 17 home games, the Raiders do have a 64-52-2 series advantage. While Melvin Ingram boasts a five-game sack streak against the Raiders, Rookie QB Justin Herbert has led the Chargers to the NFL’s No. 2 offense as they put up an average of 417.1 yards per game.
The Chargers will play this without the services of All-Pro Defensive End Joey Bosa and lineman Trai Turner and storm Norton. They will also be missing Running Back Troymaine Pope, though newly acquired Kalen Ballage would get the call to fill in.
Ballage would fill in admirably, per coach Anthony Lynn “he stepped up and I thought he did a good job… I thought he helped us today he certainly did not hurt us. Late in the 4th quarter, he got behind his pads and made a difference.”
by averaging 4.6 yards a carry while having 2 receptions for 15 yards in the game. While Keenan Allen chipped in 9 catches for 103 yards to complimented their rushing attack. Even though Justin Herbert had another record-setting performance by surpassed Cam Newton (2,103) for the most pass yards by a rookie QB in their first 7 starts since 1950 in addition to 250+ pass yards in each of his first 7 starts.
His 326 yards passing and 24 yards on the ground would not be enough to get the victory. As the Raiders were led by their 6.4 yards rushing and a couple of big plays. All 6 of Josh Jacobs’ rush TD this season have been on the road. In doing so he surpassed HOF Marcus Allen (1,711) for the most rush yards in a player’s first 2 seasons in franchise history.
The Charger did take a lead into the locker room, yet coming out of the locker room they gave up 14 consecutive points to the Raiders. In Coach Lynn’s words, “We got to eliminate the explosives (plays).” That Chargers sideline had to have it in their head that they have lost 9 straight games vs AFC West opponents. Even more daunting is the fact that they are 3-15 (.167) in games decided by 8 or fewer points since 2019 (most such losses in NFL in that span).
Even after a muffed punt in the 4th quarter, the Chargers did have a chance to come back to win this game. When Coach Lynn was asked if he was truly aware of the resiliency within Justin Herbert, he responded by saying, “Absolutely, there was no doubt in my mind we weren’t going to go down and score? Justin’s a playmaker and he doesn’t flinch!”
They ended up having a couple of attempts at getting the go-ahead score once they got the ball inside the Raiders 10-yard line. Though Justin and Mike couldn’t connect on a fade route in the corner. On the final play of the game, Herbert went to use the height of Donald Parham Jr to complete the second fade attempt though, after high pointing the ball, he bobbled the ball as he hit the ground rendering the pass incomplete.
Each week the Chargers seem to invent different ways to lose games. It’s imperative the leadership in the locker room doesn’t allow this attitude to fester and become a culture. Whether they bring Anthony Lynn back next season or not, they have certainly found their quarterback of the future. It’s going to be key that they find quality players for him to grow and develop with.
Kindly share your thoughts on how you see this team finishing the season and if they can gain some momentum for the future, by reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward any suggestions on what topics or angles you’d like to see discussed to email@example.com.
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