By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
When the Los Angeles and Las Vegas met on the final game of the 2021 season LA walked off the field with a sour taste in their mouths. It was an overtime loss that sent the Raiders to the playoffs and the Chargers packing.
This game was the sequel a chance to see how this rivalry that dates back to the American Football League and the JFK Presidency would move forward.
It would be the Chargers and several new faces coming out on top with a 24-19 win in front of 70,240 loud fans at So-Fi Stadium.
After the teams exchanged field goals it was Justin Herbert driving the team 67 yards before connecting with Zander Horvath on a two-yard pass play. It was the rookie from Purdue’s first NFL touchdown giving LA a 10-3 lead. The big play was a 42 yard catch and run by Keenan Allen.
Herbert’s execution and accuracy drew praise from teammate safety Derwin James. ‘I’m amazed every time man, I’m just like you man when I’m watching him play every day in practice,” said James. “His daily habits and when he gets out there and slings it with the defense coming at him. I mean it’s like no other.”
On the Raiders next possession Dru Tranquill intercepted Derek Carr and returned it to the Raider 31. Two plays later Herbert fired a laser between two defenders hitting DeAndre Carter on a slant route putting the Chargers 17-3 at the half.
Carter was replacing Allen who suffered a hamstring injury.
Carr has not had a pass intercepted in the previous six of seven games versus the Chargers.
Carr and the Raiders took the second half kick-off and drove 75-yards on 5 plays with the key play a DeVante Adams a nifty 42-yard catch. The former Packer had 10 catches for 141 yards and a TD.
The Chargers responded on their next possession as Herbert hitting TE Gerald Everett at the six yard-line. After the catch the former Ram bolted his way into the endzone caring defensive back with him putting the Chargers up 24-10.
Herbert finished the day completing 26 of 34 for 279 yards and no interceptions.
The third year QB connected with nine different receivers and his scoring passes were to all newcomers to the Chargers. His final one of the day to Everett was his 80th career toss He had 77 his first two campaigns that broke the two -year mark (70) set by Dan Marino.
On the defensive side it was Joey Bosa and Morgan Fox free-agent signee who sacked Carr in the final moments of the game to ‘seal the deal’ for the Chargers.
The Chargers defense gave up 295 passing yards but had six sacks on the day. Derwin James, Tranquill and Mack led the team with six tackles each.
Mack also had a team high three sacks against his former team. “Its team ball,” said the nine-year vet. “The coverage guys were doing an excellent job, they did a lot.”
NEXT UP: The Chiefs in Kansas City on Thursday night.