On Monday night, the Chargers picked up a victory over their division rival, handing the Raiders their first season loss by a final score of 28-14.
Here are five quick takeaways from Los Angeles’ victory in Week 4:
Herbert was lights out in the first half, completing 20 of his 25 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns. Then, in the second half, Las Vegas’ defense finally started to get to him with additional pressure. Yet, the 23-year old still managed to stay composed throughout and contributed to setting up the offense’s fourth and final touchdown of the night to tie the bow late in the fourth quarter. On that drive, Herbert converted on fourth down for the second time on three attempts. Finishing the game with 25 of 38 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns, Herbert continued to justify that the sky is the limit with him under center.
It was only a matter of time until Ekeler was going to steal the offensive spotlight. Well, it finally came in primetime. It was clear that Joe Lombardi wanted to take advantage of a subpar run defense, which is what Ekeler and an offensive line with a 79% run block win rate did, finishing the game with a career-high 117 yards on 15 carries (7.8 yards per carry). Ekeler powered a crucial fourth-quarter scoring drive that burned over five minutes of the game clock, which resulted in an 11-yard rushing touchdown to close out the game. His presence in the passing game also paid dividends, with one of his three receptions going for a score.
There are the tight ends
Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams had the least productive performances up to this season, combining for only 48 receiving yards. Instead, it was the tight ends time to make their presence known. Leading the group, veteran Jared Cook finished with six receptions for 70 yards and the game’s first touchdown. Cook was an integral piece in critical situations, as he caught both targets on fourth down. Donald Parham finally provided some value in the red zone with a touchdown catch following Cook’s. Stephen Anderson continued to make his money as a blocker, but he also made a play in the passing game that went for 34 yards.
Defense fired on all cylinders
Coming into this matchup, the Raiders had eight straight games with over 400 yards of offense. That was until they met the Chargers’ defense, which stymied them to only 51 yards in the first half and 251 yards altogether. Defenders were swarming on all three levels. They sacked Derek Carr four times and finally played physically enough up front to limit the running game to 48 yards. Aside from a couple of hiccups in coverage, the secondary kept nearly everything in front throughout all four quarters, with credit going to pass rush too, not allowing a receiver to go for over 100 receiving yards and holding Carr, the league leader in passing yards (entering Week 4), under 200. Derwin James’ fourth-quarter interception sealed the deal.
Aggressive, effective, efficient
These are the words to describe Brandon Staley and his game management. While all the players mentioned above are worth applauding for the outcome of this game, it would not mean anything not to include Staley, whose vital decisions also guided the team to victory. Refusing to punt and give the ball back to the Raiders, Staley went for it on fourth down three times, two of which the offense converted. The 13-yard conversion on 4th-and-2 in the fourth quarter between Herbert and Cook led to the game-winning touchdown by Ekeler. In addition, Staley challenged and successfully won the challenge of the spot late in the second quarter, which ultimately gave the Chargers the ball back, and the team went on to score right before the half. After enduring double-digit blown leads the past few seasons due to poor game management, Staley has completely changed the narrative in Los Angeles.
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