NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 18 Game Recap: Las Vegas Raiders 35, Los Angeles Chargers 32

Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) scores a touchdown ahead of Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Michael Davis (43) during the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Despite an improbable comeback from Justin Herbert that forced the game into overtime, the Las Vegas Raiders still pulled out the 35-32 win in Week 18 to advance to the 2021 NFL postseason as the No. 5 seed. The Los Angeles Chargers’ loss bounces them out of the playoffs with a 9-8 record.

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Las Vegas Raiders

Quarterback

Derek Carr wasn’t all that impressive against Los Angeles despite the win. On PFF’s first review of the game, he recorded two big-time throws and two turnover-worthy plays while averaging just 5.2 yards per attempt. He completed just 20-of-36 passes for 186 yards but did find the end zone twice.

He’ll need to play a lot better to pull out the win next week against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Running back

This was easily one of Josh Jacobs’ best performances of the season. He broke more than 10 tackles and should finish reviews with an 85.0-plus PFF rushing grade. He finished the game with 132 yards on 26 carries and a score, and more than 100 of his yards came after contact.

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Carr’s up-and-down performance kept the Raiders’ receiving corps in check. Bryan Edwards was the team’s leading receiver with four receptions on five targets for 63 yards, including two first-down receptions. His only incomplete target was nearly one of the most impressive touchdown catches of the year.

Hunter Renfrow found the end zone twice but still mustered just 13 yards on four receptions. The Renfrow screen game just wasn’t fooling the Los Angeles defense tonight.

Offensive line

Par for the course, Kolton Miller was the only Raiders offensive lineman who put on a really strong performance Sunday night. He should finish reviews with a 75.0-plus PFF grade with zero pressures allowed on 40 pass-blocking snaps. Right tackle Brandon Parker allowed a team-high four pressures on PFF’s first review of the broadcast film.

Defensive line

Maxx Crosby put Chargers right tackle Storm Norton in a bodybag. Crosby single-handedly torched the Chargers’ offense on multiple plays, consistently forcing Herbert off his spot all night long. He finished PFF’s first review of the broadcast film with a 90.0-plus PFF grade and nine total pressures. It was a banner day to cap off a career regular season.

Linebackers

Las Vegas played a rotation of Denzel Perryman (74 snaps), Divine Deablo (66) and K.J. Wright (22) at off-ball linebacker. The trio combined for five defensive stops and just two missed tackles while earning PFF grades above 65.0 on first review of the broadcast film.

Secondary

Los Angeles threw the ball more than 60 times, so the Las Vegas secondary took a beating a bit from a box-score perspective. Outside cornerback Brandon Facyson and Casey Hayward Jr. allowed more than 70 yards in coverage but still combined for three forced incompletions and a pick (Hayward).

Rookie safety Trevon Moehrig will likely finish reviews as the team’s highest-graded defensive back with zero yards allowed in coverage.

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Los Angeles Chargers

Quarterback

Herbert was nothing short of sensational against Las Vegas and will finish PFF’s review process with an 85.0-plus PFF grade and at least three big-time throws.

The star quarterback battled more than five dropped passes and some conservative, run-forward playcalling early but gave Los Angeles every chance to win the game. The future is very, very bright in Los Angeles with Herbert at quarterback.

Running back

Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson combined for 84 yards and a score on their 19 carries. The Chargers went away from the run game when they went down multiple scores, but both backs were efficient sans the third- and fourth-down rush attempts in the third quarter.

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Four different Chargers pass-catchers were charted with a drop in this game. Both Mike Williams and Jared Cook recorded 80 or more receiving yards in the game, but Williams was easily the most impressive. He caught 9-of-17 targets for 119 yards, including six first-down receptions.

Offensive line

Storm Norton and Matt Feiler have a long flight home from Las Vegas — and that’s only if they were let on the plane. Both players will finish PFF’s review process with sub-40.0 PFF pass-blocking grades. The duo allowed 12 combined pressures, including eight from Norton by himself.

Defensive line

None of the Chargers defensive linemen will finish reviews with a 70.0-plus PFF grade, largely because of poor run defense across the board. Not even Joey Bosa cleared 50.0 PFF run-defense grade on first review — a big reason why Jacobs & Co. ran all over Los Angeles in overtime.

Linebackers

Kenneth Murray was one of the game’s worst performers for Los Angeles. He should finish PFF’s review process with a sub-40.0 run-defense grade and a sub-50.0 coverage grade.

Secondary

Nasir Adderley finished PFF’s first review of the broadcast film with an 80.0-plus overall grade, 80.0-plus coverage grade, three defensive stops and zero yards allowed in coverage. Michael Davis (63) and Asante Samuel Jr. (62) were the only two Los Angeles defensive backs with more than 20 yards allowed in coverage.

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