It’s been an unreal season, so it’s only fitting that the Las Vegas Raiders pushed their way to the playoffs for the first time in five years and for the second time in 20 season with a ridiculous 35-32 overtime win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Here are five keys from the chaos:
Enough for Bisaccia to keep job?
We’ve heard so much about a possible coaching search. Jim Harbaugh’s name has been floated often and we’ve even heard about possible trade runs for Mike Tomlin or Sean Payton. But what about Rich Bisaccia? He has led Las Vegas to the playoffs as an interim coach. Raiders owner Mark Davis waited to see what this team would do and it won its final four games to make the playoffs. Bisaccia went 7-5 as the Raiders coach after Jon Gruden’s resignation in October. Has Bisaccia done enough. It’s hard to deny him and it’s clear his players love him, No team has made the playoffs in the NFL with an interim coach in 60 years.
Chargers made so many mistakes:
Yes, the Chargers showed a lot of guts coming back from being down 15 points in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. But, this was a poor overall outing from this team and its coach, Brandon Staley. The Chargers committed 10 penalties for 108 yards, lost two turnovers and Staley made some head-scratching decisions. Had he not gone for it on fourth down at his own 18-yard line in the third quarter and not called a time out in the final seconds of overtime, his team may have been headed to the playoffs. That’s not the Raiders’ concern, of course. Let the other guy hang himself.
The Raiders are something else. They have won an NFL record six games on the final play of the game. They went 4-0 in overtime this season and kicker Daniel Carlson is a wicked, late-game weapon. Maxx Crosby said Sunday night the Raiders will play until their hearts explode and then play another snap. That about sums up this squad.
Daniel Carlson is now 15 for 16 on FGs for #Raiders in final 2 minutes of regulation and OT. I think he might be in line for a 4th AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) January 10, 2022
Defensive line is huge:
The Las Vegas defensive linemen were the unsung heroes of this game. Defensive ends, Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue and defensive tackles Quinton Jefferson and Darius Philon (who was carted off the field with a knee injury late in the game) all made big impacts. These guys were factors in both the passing and running games. It was a tremendous effort by a unit that has been improved greatly in 2021.
Burrow was watching:
Justin Herbert almost took over this game late and in overtime. he made one big play after another, cutting the Raiders up on fourth down. The Chargers were 6-of-7 on fourth down. Now, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow awaits Saturday. He had some big moments against the Raiders in a 19-point Bengals win in November. It will be a challenge. But that is a worry for another day. For now, the Raiders can bask in their special accomplishment.