First look at the NFL playoffs schedule

The schedule for the NFL playoffs was released Sunday night, Jan. 3.

(All Times PST)

Wild-card playoffs

Saturday, Jan. 9

Indianapolis at Buffalo, 10:05 a.m.

Rams at Seattle, 1:40 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Washington, 5:15 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 10

Baltimore at Tennessee, 10:05 a.m.

Chicago at New Orleans, 1:40 p.m.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 5:15 p.m.

Divisional Playoffs

 

Saturday, Jan. 16 and Sunday, Jan. 17

NFC lowest seed remaining at Green Bay

AFC lowest seed remaining at Kansas City

TBD vs. TBD

TBD vs. TBD

 

Conference Championships

Sunday, Jan. 24

 

Super Bowl

At Tampa, Fla.

Sunday, Feb. 7, 3:30 p.m.

Powered by WPeMatico

Rams don’t want to see a Carson rerun when they play Seahawks

INGLEWOOD — The Rams’ first game against the Seattle Seahawks this season produced one of their best moments of the year, a solid bounce-back win that gave them life in the NFC West race.

Getting the same result in the same desperate circumstances when the teams play again Sunday in Seattle won’t be easy, in part because these aren’t the same Seahawks.

In November, running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde were both injured and missing from the Seahawks’ offense. What the Rams’ defense did in a 23-16 victory, sacking Russell Wilson six times and shutting down DK Metcalf, was impressive anyway. But they know it will take more to repeat that performance now.

Carson and Hyde are healthy after foot and hamstring injuries, while third running back Rashaad Penny is back from a knee injury, and the Seahawks have won four out of five games after losing three out of four.

“You’d be surprised what five weeks can do for a team from a personnel standpoint,” Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley said this week.

“Because of the run game, I think that they’re a much more complete offense than when we first faced them and they’re definitely hitting their stride.”

The Seahawks’ offense begins with Wilson, who’s on his way to career highs in passing yards and touchdowns throwing to Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

The Rams held Wilson to his worst game of the season in Week 10 at SoFi Stadium. Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey limited Metcalf to two catches for 28 yards on a season-low four targets. Seahawks running backs managed 51 yards in the team’s third game without Carson and Hyde.

That win following a sloppy loss at Miami lifted the Rams into a first-place tie with Seattle and Arizona, which led on a tiebreaker.

Now, as the Rams try to right the ship after losing to the Jets, Carson and Co. make their task tougher.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on being a balanced attack, and there was a portion of the schedule in there when we lost three running backs at the same time,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week. “We didn’t have the same rhythm.”

With the running game intact again, Carroll said, “This is as good as we’ve been all year.”

In Carson’s four seasons in Seattle, including 2,381 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground in 2018-19, the Seahawks are 30-14 when he’s playing and 11-10 when he isn’t.

Carson is running for 5.0 yards per carry, which would be a career high over a full season and ranks eighth in the NFL this year.

The Rams are 3-5 this year when opponents average for 4.5 or more per carry.

That’s a statistical benchmark to watch Sunday in a game that shapes up as a showdown between the Rams’ defense (No. 1 in yards allowed per game and per play, No. 1 against the pass, No. 2 against the run) and the Seahawks’ offense (No. 6 in yards per play, No. 5 in passer rating, No. 4 in yards per run).

“It gives them another dynamic. That’s going to be something we needed to be really ready to defend,” Ramsey said before practice Thursday.

The Rams (9-5) can clinch a playoff spot Sunday with a win or tie against Seattle (10-4), a Chicago loss or tie at Jacksonville or an Arizona win or tie against San Francisco. They can go back into first place in the NFC West by beating Seattle, giving themselves a chance to wrap up the division title by beating Arizona or seeing Seattle lose at San Francisco in the season’s final week.

Carson’s and Hyde’s return will make that harder.

Rams coach Sean McVay calls Carson, 26, a seventh-round draft pick from Oklahoma State, “one of the more underrated players in this league.” McVay has seen Carson at his best, rushing for 116 and 118 yards in L.A.’s past two games at Seattle.

“Getting those runners back and how they’ve run the football,” McVay said, “has definitely made them even more of a challenge than they already were as a great offense.”

NOTES

The Rams practiced at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Thursday afternoon, the third time they’ve done that during the season, because strong wind was forecast at their facility in Thousand Oaks. The team will practice on Christmas day, but will start work later than usual to allow players and coaches to spend the morning with their families. … Right tackle Rob Havenstein practiced and is “ready to roll” for Sunday after being limited Wednesday by a neck injury suffered in the loss to the Jets. … Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the third Rams player to earn Pro Bowl selections in his first seven seasons, joining defensive tackle Merlin Olsen (who did it in his first 14) and linebacker Les Richter (eight), the Rams said, quoting the sports data company Sportradar.

Read more about Rams don’t want to see a Carson rerun when they play Seahawks This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Steelers’ slide continues with costly loss to Bengals

  • The Bengals’ Darius Phillips, left, breaks up a pass intended for the Steelers’ Diontae Johnson during the first half of Monday’s game in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

  • Cincinnati Bengals’ Giovani Bernard (25) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley (5) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor reacts in the first half during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers’ Joe Haden (23) and Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) break up a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals’ Tyler Boyd (83) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Cincinnati Bengals’ Mackensie Alexander (21) celebrates an interception during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers’ Diontae Johnson (18) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals’ Darius Phillips (23) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

  • Cincinnati Bengals’ Vonn Bell (24) and Jordan Evans (50) look to recover a fumble by Pittsburgh Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

  • Cincinnati Bengals’ Carl Lawson (58) sacks Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers’ Benny Snell (24) runs past a Cincinnati Bengals defender during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Avery Williamson #51 and Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Samaje Perine #34 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin watches the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers’ Benny Snell (24) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals’ Mackensie Alexander (21) and Germaine Pratt (57) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers’ Benny Snell (24) goes in for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Alex Erickson #12 of the Cincinnati Bengals returns a punt during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Samaje Perine #34 of the Cincinnati Bengals rushes the ball during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Cincinnati Bengals players celebrates following a forced fumble by Vonn Bell #24 during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals rushes the ball past Marcus Allen #27 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Jessie Bates #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals tackles Benny Snell #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers attempts a pass during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Diontae Johnson #18 of the Pittsburgh Steelers catches a touchdown past Darius Phillips #23 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Diontae Johnson #18 of the Pittsburgh Steelers catches a touchdown past Darius Phillips #23 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Ryan Finley #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals attempts a pass during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Tee Higgins #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals makes a reception past Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers’ Chase Claypool (11) runs after a reception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers’ Benny Snell (24) is chased by Cincinnati Bengals’ Carl Lawson (58) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Ryan Finley #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals rushes the ball during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Ryan Finley #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals rushes for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley reacts after running for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Ryan Finley #5 and Fred Johnson #74 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrate following a first down run during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Pittsburgh Steelers fans look on in the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Sam Hubbard #94 of the Cincinnati Bengals blocks a pass during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers’ Diontae Johnson (18) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals’ Darius Phillips (23) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson (22) and cornerback Mackensie Alexander (21) react in the second half during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

  • Cincinnati Bengals’ Mackensie Alexander (21) and William Jackson (22) celebrate after Pittsburgh Steelers turned the ball over on downs during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: Fred Johnson #74 of the Cincinnati Bengals shakes hands with Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers after a game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 21: A Cincinnati Bengals fan displays a sign following a game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 21, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

  • Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward walks off the field after a 27-17 loss to the Bengals on Monday night in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

of

Expand

CINCINNATI — The Pittsburgh Steelers’ December swoon is looking more like a collapse.

The Steelers lost their third in a row – getting thumped, 27-17, by the last-place Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night – after ripping off 11 consecutive wins to start the season. They couldn’t generate any offense early, and the opportunistic Bengals took advantage of their mistakes.

Assured of a playoff berth, the Steelers (11-3) could have wrapped up the AFC North with a win but instead turned the ball over three times and allowed Cincinnati to build a 17-0 halftime lead.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’re not a good football team right now.”

Three weeks ago, the Steelers were on track for the top overall seed in the AFC, but now they could end up as a wild card. Pittsburgh has tough matchups remaining against Indianapolis (10-4) and division rival Cleveland (10-4).

Pittsburgh averaged 29.8 points during its first 10 games and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, back from an elbow injury that cost him most of 2019, looked like an MVP candidate. But the Steelers struggled to an uninspired 19-14 victory over a COVID-19-decimated Baltimore Ravens team on Dec. 2 and haven’t topped 20 points in a game since.

Prior to Monday’s game, they had said a stretch of three games in 12 days caused by COVID-19-related scheduling issues contributed to their first two losses. They believed this week was a chance to reclaim their trademark physicality after a much-needed full week of preparation.

“High frustration,” said the 38-year-old Roethlisberger, who had 19 passing yards in the first half and was picked off by Mackensie Alexander, setting up a touchdown. He finished 20 for 38 for 170 yards.

The drops that plagued his receivers in recent games weren’t the problem. Roethlisberger’s throws just weren’t on the mark.

“I’m not consistent enough, which affects the offense because the ball is in my hand every play,” said Roethlisberger, who saw several of his first-half passes broken up by defenders. “I just felt like they were taking away some of the underneath stuff, so we wanted to take some shots down the field and the disconnect was me not making it happen.”

For the first time in 20 seasons – including the playoffs – the Steelers went three-and-out on their first five possessions, including two fumbles that led to 10 points for the Bengals.

“That was not good enough for us,” Tomlin said. “The performance speaks for itself. We turned the ball over at the early portions of the game. You can’t do that. You can’t do that vs. anybody. We gave them a short field three times in the first half or so, and so it was an uphill battle the rest of the way because of that.”

Cincinnati (3-10-1) snapped a streak of 11 consecutive losses to Pittsburgh in most unlikely fashion, with Ryan Finley at quarterback. The second-year player, starting in place of injured No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow, completed seven passes for 89 yards, but his touchdown run early in the fourth quarter all but sealed it for the Bengals.

The injury-plagued Bengals had lost five straight, averaging 10 points per game and rarely looking competitive, since Burrow led them to a 31-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 1.

“We gave everybody a game ball today,” said Coach Zac Taylor, now 5-24-1 in his two seasons. “Everyone deserves to cherish this night. We needed a big divisional win against a team we’ve struggled against. It was fun to see the players celebrate and have fun.”

UPSET WEEKEND

Pittsburgh was a 14½-point favorite, and the Rams were favored by 17 before losing to the previously winless New York Jets on Sunday. It was the first time since the 1970s that two teams favored by 14 points or more lost on the same weekend. With the loss, the Steelers matched their largest upset defeat since 1966.

PACED BY BERNARD

Veteran running back Giovani Bernard, who has been starting in place of the injured Joe Mixon, had 25 carries for 83 yards as the Bengals stuck to a ground-heavy approach and wore down a Steelers defense playing with significant injuries to its inside linebackers. Bernard ran for a touchdown and caught a pass from Finley for another score. Both touchdowns came after the Bengals forced turnovers.

“Obviously it feels good to win, but it amplifies everything because of what’s happened this season,” Bernard said. “To be able to beat a team like that. We know they’re a good team, they know they’re a good team, but when you play those divisional games, the records don’t matter. It’s about who wants it more.”

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE

The Steelers rallied within 17-10 in the second half before Finley ran untouched around the left side for a 23-yard touchdown with 11:21 left in the game to push the lead back to 14.

Pittsburgh scored again on a plunge by Benny Snell after getting a pass-interference call in the end zone on fourth-and-4 from the Cincinnati 12.

The Steelers got the ball back with 2:17 left at their own 24 but four incomplete passes by Roethlisberger all but finished it. Austin Seibert kicked a 33-yard field goal with 12 seconds left for the final margin.

MAKING THE TRIP

There were more Terrible Towels than Bengals jerseys in Paul Brown Stadium, where the limited crowd was announced at 10,249.

QUARTERBACK SHUFFLE

Finley was the third starting quarterback for the Bengals this season. Burrow suffered his season-ending knee injury on Nov. 22 and Brandon Allen started the next three games, all losses. Allen suffered a knee injury in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 13.

WATT’S UP

With a first-quarter sack, Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt joined Hall of Famers Reggie White and Derrick Thomas as the only players to record at least 13 sacks in three of their first four seasons.

INJURIES

Steelers: Fullback Derek Watt went to the locker room with a possible concussion in the first quarter and was ruled out. Tight end Eric Ebron suffered a back injury in the second quarter and did not return.

Bengals: Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati’s top receiver, suffered a concussion in the first quarter.

UP NEXT

The Steelers host Indianapolis on Sunday.

The Bengals visit Houston on Sunday.

Powered by WPeMatico

Giants gamble against explosive Browns and come up a loser

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The way the Cleveland Browns had been scoring, coach Joe Judge felt the New York Giants were going to need points to beat Baker Mayfield and company.

So they gambled despite using a backup quarterback and play caller and came up short in a 20-6 loss to the red-hot Browns on Sunday night.

It not only cost them a game and a chance to go back into first place in the weak NFC East, the Giants (5-9) need help to make the playoff for the first time since 2016 with two games left in the regular season.

“That’s the way you’ve got to go and play it sometimes,” Judge said after the Giants stayed a game behind first-place Washington (6-8). “All right. But we’ve got to go ahead and make the decision to be aggressive. Obviously, their team scored a lot of points throughout the year. It’s an explosive offense and they’ve done a very good job of moving it. They’ve been on a hot streak lately. We knew coming in what kind of team they were, and we had to call a game a certain way.”

The Giants got into the red zone on their first three possessions with Colt McCoy starting at quarterback instead of the injured Daniel Jones and former Browns coach Freddie Kitchens calling plays on offensive with coordinator Jason Garrett sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.

They came away with three points. It was par for a team that has now scored 13 points in its last two games.

On the opening drive of the game, the Giants got to the Browns 8. On fourth down and 5, Judge sent out his field goal team and used a trick play. Before the snap, the line and kicker Graham Gano shifted, leaving center Nick Gates eligible. Holder and punter Riley Dixon took the snap in the weird formation but his pass to a well covered Gates in the middle of the end zone fell incomplete.

Judge thought it was a well designed fake. The team had practiced it throughout the year.

“I thought the timing was right and you ought to go ahead, just roll the dice sometimes to take a chance,” Judge said. “You hit that thing and everyone is saying ‘You’re the guru.’ You don’t and everyone wants to second guess the decision.”

A field goal by Gano gave New York a 3-0 lead on the second series, but the Browns took the lead on a 2-yard pass from Mayfield to Austin Hooper.

The Giants drove 68 yards on their next series and had a fourth-and-2 at the Browns 6. Instead of closed the deficit to a point, Judge elected to go for a first down and Wayne Gallman came up a yard short.

Mayfield then drove the Browns 95 yards in 10 plays, capping the march with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry for a 13-3 lead. The extra point hit the upright.

The Giants never threatened again in losing their second straight.

McCoy, who was 19 of 31 for 221 yards, said there was no problem working with Kitchens.

“We just didn’t finish drives,” McCoy said. “In the first half I felt like we didn’t even punt. So we were moving the ball. We just shot ourselves in the foot. You know, we went for it on fourth down and in tight came up a half short. Those are huge plays in a game like this that we’ve got to make if we want to go for it on fourth down with a fake field goal. We’ve got to convert it if we want to win football games.”

The Giants will play Baltimore (9-5) next weekend and close the regular season at home against Dallas (5-9).

Defensive back Logan Ryan is not discouraged, especially after seeing the Giants post a recent four-game winning streak after a 1-7 start.

“We were counted out, left for dead and we won some games surprised some people who didn’t believe it, us and then everyone is believing in us,” Ryan said. “Now, people don’t believe again. So it doesn’t matter. And honestly, it doesn’t matter. W are who we are. And we got two games in front of us where we going to go out there and and win.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Justin Herbert’s TD plunge gives Chargers OT victory over Raiders

  • Raiders cornerback Keisean Nixon (22) tackles Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton after Guyton made a 53-yard catch in overtime to set up the decisive touchdown in Thursday night’s game in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers looks to pass during the second half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Center Dan Feeney #66 of the Los Angeles Chargers readies at the line of scrimmage during the second half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs the ball as defensive tackle Jerry Tillery #99 of the Los Angeles Chargers gives chase during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders holds his leg while trying to get rid of the ball during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) runs against Los Angeles Chargers safety Jahleel Addae (36) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Daryl Worley #36 of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts after a stop during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders dives into the end zone for a touchdown as outside linebacker Kenneth Murray #56 and outside linebacker Nick Vigil #59 of the Los Angeles Chargers defend during the second half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders dives into the end zone for a touchdown as outside linebacker Kenneth Murray #56 of the Los Angeles Chargers defends during the second half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders dives into the end zone for a touchdown as outside linebacker Kenneth Murray #56 of the Los Angeles Chargers defends during the second half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver Zay Jones #12 of the Las Vegas Raiders congratulates quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 on his touchdown during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Running back Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders carries the ball as defensive tackle Jerry Tillery #99 of the Los Angeles Chargers defends during the second half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs the ball during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Running back Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders is tackled by defensive end Joey Bosa #97 and linebacker Uchenna Nwosu #42 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Center Dan Feeney #66 of the Los Angeles Chargers spikes the ball after teammate Kalen Ballage #31 scored a touchdown during the second half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on during the second half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Running back Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders dives into the end zone for touchdown during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Running back Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders dives into the end zone for touchdown during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders scrambles against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of the game at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates with Justin Herbert #10 after scoring a 10 yard touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of the game at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates after scoring a 10 yard touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of the game at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow #13 of the Las Vegas Raiders leaves the field with a trainer during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates after scoring a 10 yard touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of the game at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers scores a 10 yard touchdown against Erik Harris #25 and Keisean Nixon #22 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow #13 of the Las Vegas Raiders talks with a trainer during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Tight end Darren Waller #83 of the Las Vegas Raiders makes a first down reception during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders rushes for a first down as Jaylen Watkins #20 of the Los Angeles Chargers defends during the second half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers throws a pass during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders hands the ball off to Josh Jacobs #28 during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Jalen Guyton #15 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs with the ball against Trayvon Mullen #27 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of the game at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers throws a pass during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders looks to throw a pass during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Darren Waller #83 of the Las Vegas Raiders catches a 35 yard pass to score a touchdown against Michael Davis #43 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the second quarter in the game at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) celebrates after tight end Darren Waller (83) scored a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders scrambles during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Kicker Mike Badgley #4 kicks a field goal as punter Ty Long #1 of the Los Angeles Chargers placeholds during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Running back Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders is tackled by outside linebacker Kenneth Murray #56 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver Tyron Johnson #83 of the Los Angeles Chargers catches a touchdown pass during the first half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver Tyron Johnson #83 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates scoring a touchdown as Daryl Worley #36 of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver Tyron Johnson #83 of the Los Angeles Chargers catches a touchdown pass as Daryl Worley #36 of the Las Vegas Raiders defends during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers looks to pass during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver Jalen Guyton #15 of the Los Angeles Chargers trips after rushing the ball during the first half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Running back Kalen Ballage #31 of the Los Angeles Chargers is tackled by Daryl Worley #36 and free safety Lamarcus Joyner #29 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers looks to pass during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts after a first down scramble during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders scrambles for a first down as cornerback Michael Davis #43 and linebacker Uchenna Nwosu #42 of the Los Angeles Chargers defend during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs the ball during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver K.J. Hill #84 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball on a punt return as safety Dallin Leavitt #32 of the Las Vegas Raiders defends during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers makes a reception as free safety Erik Harris #25 of the Las Vegas Raiders defends during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers passes the ball during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Running back Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs the ball during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Tight end Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers scores a touchdown during the first half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver Tyron Johnson #83 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball as cornerback Trayvon Mullen #27 of the Las Vegas Raiders defends during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Tight end Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers makes a first down reception during the first half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers pitches the ball to avoid a sack from defensive end Maxx Crosby #98 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Chairman and owner Dean Spanos of the Los Angeles Chargers points during warmups before the game against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Las Vegas Raiders running back Jalen Richard (30) runs against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) commits a pass interference on Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler #30 rushes during the third quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn speaks with players during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler #30 rushes during the third quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) tosses the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) dives into the end zone for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Uchenna Nwosu #42 hits Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 during the third quarter in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) runs against Los Angeles Chargers strong safety Rayshawn Jenkins (23) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton (15) celebrates after wide receiver Tyron Johnson (83) scored a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Tyron Johnson (83) scores a touchdown against Las Vegas Raiders’ Daryl Worley during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) runs against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs #28 rushes during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) tackles Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Cornerback Chris Harris #25 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball after making an interception late in the second half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Cornerback Chris Harris #25 of the Los Angeles Chargers reacts after intercepting the ball late in the second half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers is sacked by Daryl Worley #36 and defensive tackle Kendal Vickers #91 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Kicker Mike Badgley #4 of the Los Angeles Chargers watches as he misses a 47-yard field goal attempt during the second half against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 rushes in overtime against the Los Angeles Chargers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs #28 rushes in overtime against the Los Angeles Chargers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Kicker Daniel Carlson #2 of the Las Vegas Raiders kicks a field goal during overtime against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Wide receiver Jalen Guyton #15 of the Los Angeles Chargers makes a first down reception during overtime against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Keisean Nixon (22) tackles Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton (15) after Guyton made a catch in overtime of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton #15 catches a pass in overtime against the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 rushes in overtime against the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert dives for the end zone and eventually stretches the all across the goal line for the game-winning touchdown in their 30-27 overtime victory over the Raiders on Thursday night at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 scores the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) scores a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers dives into the end zone for a touchdown to win the game 30-27 during overtime against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers dives into the end zone for a touchdown to win the game 30-27 during overtime against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Tight end Jared Rice #40 of the Los Angeles Chargers reacts after teammate quarterback Justin Herbert #10 scored the game-winning touchdown during overtime against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Chargers won 30-37. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers dives into the end zone for a touchdown to win the game 30-27 during overtime against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Defensive tackle Cortez Broughton #91 of the Los Angeles Chargers congratulates quarterback Justin Herbert #10 after Herbert’s game-winning touchdown during overtime against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Chargers won 30-27. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • The Los Angeles Chargers celebrate after defeating the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)

  • Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, right, embraces quarterback Justin Herbert (10) after defeating the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 17: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers greets quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders after the Chargers’ 30-27 overtime win against the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

of

Expand

Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert was asked in October to list his favorite quarterbacks growing up. He rattled off two obvious names in Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but the third was Marcus Mariota, the backup quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Many snickered on social media because Mariota’s name is rarely grouped with legendary quarterbacks. But Herbert idolized Mariota for his accomplishments at the University of Oregon. Herbert and his family walked from their home in Eugene, Ore., to Autzen Stadium to watch the Ducks for nearly every home game during Mariota’s Heisman Trophy-winning college career. Herbert later went on to star at his hometown university before joining the Chargers in April.

Herbert has gone toe-to-toe with Brady, Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes in his first season in the NFL. But unexpectedly playing against Mariota on Thursday night at Allegiant Stadium might top all of those moments for Herbert during his historic rookie season.

Mariota, the 2015 No. 2 overall pick, entered the game after Raiders quarterback Derek Carr pulled his groin late in the first quarter. Suddenly, the many new Chargers fans in Eugene were torn about who to root for in the quarterback duck fight between Herbert and Mariota. Or it was a win-win situation to watch the two Oregon products battle in a prime-time game.

For the Chargers and Raiders, there was almost a tie-tie situation during a chaotic overtime period, but the Chargers changed their fortunes for the second week in a row. Herbert’s quarterback sneak gave the Chargers a 30-27 victory to snap a nine-game losing streak in the AFC West. The Chargers (5-9) recorded their first win against a team with a winning record this season and improved their record in one-score games to 4-7.

“Pretty crazy experience,” Herbert said about playing against Mariota. “I grew up watching Marcus. He was my favorite player. Just being from Eugene, I knew that program so well. To be able to play a couple games against him, it’s been really cool just to see him out on the field. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted.”

Herbert’s 53-yard pass to wide receiver Jalen Guyton set up his game-winning run with 1:29 left in overtime. It was Herbert’s second consecutive game-winning final drive. He did it against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in Inglewood.

“Guys are tired of losing close games and want to win some of these and guys are fighting and they executed at the end,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.

Herbert finished 22 of 32 for 314 yards, two touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Mariota completed 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one rushing score.

Mariota flashed his athleticism and Herbert displayed his arm strength in a thrilling back-and-forth shootout. But, as the new Chargers fans in Eugene have learned, the Chargers rarely make it about their stud rookie quarterback.

There’s often a costly missed field goal try or two in a one-score game that takes center stage for Lynn’s team. Chargers kicker Michael Badgley missed field-goal attempts of 47 and 51 yards in the final four minutes of regulation to eventually send the game into overtime with the score tied, 24-24. The second miss came with 58 seconds left after Chris Harris Jr. intercepted a Mariota pass and returned it 52 yards down the sideline.

“I would love to know what’s going on in his head right now,” Lynn said of Badgley. “I know last week he kicked the game-winner. I thought he got his swag back. I thought he was over the hump and he didn’t kick well today. Just that simple. We’re in a dome and he didn’t kick well today.”

The Chargers’ defense saved the game after defensive end Isaac Rochell batted Mariota’s pass on third-and-5 from the Chargers’ 5-yard line in overtime. The Raiders settled for a field goal before Herbert’s heroics.

“Give us your three best plays here,” Harris said when asked what he told his teammates in the red zone during overtime.

The Chargers took their third lead of the game after Kalen Ballage’s 1-yard touchdown run made it  24-17 with 2:08 left in the third quarter. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs tied the score at 17-17 with a 1-yard rushing touchdown with 5:23 in the third quarter.

Herbert tied the rookie record for most passing touchdowns in a season when he connected with wide receiver Tyron Johnson for a 26-yard score, as the Chargers regained the lead 17-10 with 19 seconds left in the first half. It was Herbert’s 27th touchdown pass of the season, tying Baker Mayfield’s mark from 2018 with Cleveland.

Herbert finished the first half 16-of-20 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 140.4.

Mariota didn’t appear rusty on his first drive during the second quarter. He opened with a 22-yard completion to tight end Foster Moreau and then delivered a perfect 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darren Waller to give the Raiders their first lead at 10-7 with 9:19 left in the second quarter. Mariota was 3-of-3 for 70 yards on the scoring drive.

Mariota’s last start came in Week 6 of last season with the Tennessee Titans. He lost his starting job to Ryan Tannehill before signing a two-year, $17.6 million deal with the Raiders this past offseason.

The Chargers tied the score at 10-10 after Badgley’s 22-yard field goal with 1:52 left in the first half. The Chargers decided not to go for it on fourth-and-goal on the 4-yard line.

Herbert and the Chargers started the game fast with a 12-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. Herbert was 6-of-6 for 75 yards and capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry.

The Chargers seemed destined for an easy game against a short-handed Raiders’ defense, but it’s never easy for the Chargers. At least now they’re starting to win the close ones.

Justin Herbert! QB SNEAK FOR THE WIN. #BoltUp #LACvsLV pic.twitter.com/RSZK6J84ie

— NFL (@NFL) December 18, 2020

HE WAS IN!!! pic.twitter.com/Xl0m0PWuPM

— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) December 18, 2020

HERBERT GOES DEEP. #BoltUp

📺: #LACvsLV on NFLN/FOX/PRIME VIDEO
📱: https://t.co/W5bCPYgMfo pic.twitter.com/1WWvbE5d0O

— NFL (@NFL) December 18, 2020

Powered by WPeMatico

Alexander: Rams might get where they want to go with old-fashioned football

First of all, let’s stipulate. If Thursday night’s Rams-Patriots game was a rematch of Super Bowl LIII, as was advertised, it was in name only. Not even the laundry was the same, though the Rams’ new uniforms are looking better and better as the weeks go by.

It was not a night for revenge, or redemption, or much else having to do with that February 2019 night in Atlanta. Those scars, as Sean McVay said after Thursday night’s 24-3 Rams victory, aren’t going away.

“That’s always going to be a part of, you know, the coaching trajectory for me and a night that, you know, you got to be able to learn from,” he said. “But as far as how that affected our plans going into this game, it really didn’t at all.

“We’re a totally different team. I mean, you see, we’re doing a lot of different things.”

Totally different. And, potentially, quite a bit better.

For example: As colleague Kevin Modesti noted, when Cam Akers uncorked a 35-yard run off left tackle on the second offensive play Thursday night it equaled Todd Gurley’s rushing total in that Super Bowl. We know now that Gurley was physically compromised that night and for much of the back end of that season.

But there’s a message there, and McVay and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell seem to have deciphered it loud and clear. Who knows? Maybe they do read This Space.

Akers didn’t stop at 35. He didn’t stop until he got to 171 yards, on 29 carries, the best game by a Rams rookie running back since Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis pounded his way to 211 on 28 carries in New Orleans in December of 1993, when the Rams were based in Anaheim.

Akers was asked if he thought McVay got the message when he noted last Sunday in Arizona that the more touches he gets, the better his rhythm.

“I think he did,” the rookie said with a grin.

Glad to help, Cam.

These are different teams and a different time and the Super Bowl rematch angle was useful for Fox’s promotion of its Thursday night game but not worth much else. The Patriots might have won four of their previous five going into Thursday’s game, and they might have embarrassed the Chargers on Sunday, but they’re now 6-7 and 2½ games out of an AFC playoff spot with three games to play, and all of Bill Belichick’s coaching powers probably won’t get them into the tournament.

Meanwhile, it is fair to suggest that the Rams, who have won four of five themselves since the debacle at Miami on the first day of November, might be putting themselves in position to do something special. Remember what we said a few weeks ago about keeping up with their championship L.A. neighbors, the Lakers and Dodgers? It seems more feasible now than it did then.

Rediscovering the running game makes a difference. They had a 16-play, 90-yard third-quarter drive Thursday that chewed up 9:42, and 12 of those 16 plays were runs, nine by Akers. (Again, Coach McVay, you’re welcome.)

Jared Goff only threw for 137 yards, with two touchdowns (one rushing), one interception, one sack and a 74.9 rating, but it was almost immaterial.

“As a quarterback, you know, you may think that’s not fun,” Goff said. “(But) those are the best, when we’re just pounding it and able to make those plays.”

It’s old-time football, and it might be the best way for the Rams to operate: Force the opponent’s defense to respect the run and use their own defense to create havoc and impose their will. Somewhere, the late Chuck Knox is smiling.

There certainly was enough defensive havoc Thursday night. The Rams sacked Cam Newton four times and backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham twice, with Michael Brockers getting two and Aaron Donald credited with 1½.

“You know, it’s definitely a cliche statement: stop the run, earn the right to rush the passer,” Brockers said. “And I think that’s what we did.”

But there was more. Consecutive New England incursions into the red zone ended with (a) former UCLA Bruin Kenny Young’s first NFL pick-six, a 79-yard interception return on the first play of the second quarter, and (b) a goal-line stand after New England had a first-and-goal at the 6, with Newton trying to run it in from the 2 on fourth down and getting stuffed by linebacker Justin Hollins for a 2-yard loss.

The Rams came into the game with the league’s No. 2 overall defense behind New Orleans and No. 1 against the pass, giving up 291.3 yards per game overall and 198.3 through the air. On Thursday night, those numbers were 220 and 113. The Saints, who have allowed 288 yards per game, face the Eagles (29th in the league in offense) this week, so their number shouldn’t balloon, but that could be an interesting race.

And this is as good a time as any to launch Donald’s campaign for the league’s MVP award, Patrick Mahomes or no Patrick Mahomes, because the attention he gets from opponents creates so many openings for others. The last defensive player to win The Associated Press MVP award was Lawrence Taylor in 1986. I think it’s time.

But that’s a side issue. And if you really want to use this occasion to re-explore Super Bowl LIII, maybe the Patriots did the Rams a favor that night, painful as it was at the time.

“Being at that pinnacle, being at that Super Bowl and understanding what it takes to get back – all I’m trying to do is lead this team and give examples on what we have to do to keep finishing, keep pushing through,” Brockers said.

“Because there’s going to be another chapter.”

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

Read more about Alexander: Rams might get where they want to go with old-fashioned football This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Whicker: Goff’s bodyguards keep his jersey clean enough to beat Bucs

The Rams are 7-3 this morning because they had the better quarterback on a field that also included Tom Brady.

The main reason Jared Goff was the better quarterback on Monday night is the capable friends he brought, even with a close one left behind.

The Rams won, 27-24, when Jordan Fuller intercepted Brady at the end, on a night when Goff threw 51 times at Raymond James Stadium. Without injured left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who was carted away from last week’s victory over Seattle, they could have been putting Goff in the same danger zone that engulfed him in Miami.

Instead, Goff never was sacked and probably has had 18-hole rounds that were more painful. The Bucs’ defense only hit him three times. The cushion he was provided, to find Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and the rest of the crew, was why the Rams put up just enough points to win.

Joe Noteboom got the call to replace Whitworth. To his right, in order, were Austin Corbett, Austin Blythe, David Edwards and Rob Havenstein. Of that group, only Havenstein was manning the same position he played in the Rams’ Super Bowl loss to Brady and New England. Havenstein also committed the only penalty of the game for the offensive line (holding) and nobody on the unit false-started against a Tampa Bay rush unit that averages 3.2 sacks, fourth in the league.

“Joe Noteboom had a great game at left tackle,” Woods said. “You gotta think about whose position he’s filling. He had Shaq Barrett and JPP (Jean-Pierre Paul) to deal with.”

Since the Rams put their running game on hold, Goff concentrated on rhythmic short passes against a dynamic young Tampa Bay secondary. His two touchdown passes went to rookies Cam Akers and Van Jefferson, but Kupp and Woods were able to run profusely whenever they caught the ball short, and that doesn’t happen without drone-type accuracy from the quarterback. Those two combined for 23 catches for 275 yards.

“I really loved what Cooper and Robert did,” McVay said. “They really created a lot of stuff on their own.”

If the Rams can lean on that big-boy foundation and keep improving their efficiency, they have much to anticipate.

Their defense was special again Monday night, even though they rarely got to Brady. They stuffed Ronald Jones for 24 yards in 10 carries, with Micah Kiser perhaps foretelling the future when, on Tampa Bay’s first play, he hit fifth gear almost immediately and stuffed Jones at the line of scrimmage. Except for Mike Evans’ touchdown when Jalen Ramsey wasn’t guarding him, the Rams generally stopped the Buccaneers’ receivers in their tracks.

Evans’ 18-yard play was the longest for Tampa Bay all night, and the numbers would have looked much better if not for three pass interference penalties.

In the past two weeks, the Rams have dealt QB ratings of 57 and 62.5 to Russell Wilson and Brady.

After the Rams took a 17-14 halftime lead, they put Brady in neutral for the entire third quarter, giving Tampa Bay only 8 yards. But they allowed this to stay a seven-point game for a little too long, and when Jordan Whitehead closed strongly and intercepted Goff’s throw down the middle, it came time for Brady to call back the years.

He hustled the Bucs to the tying touchdown, finding Chris Godwin for the final 13 yards as Darious Williams couldn’t get to him fast enough. That put the onus on Goff and the Rams to see if their quick-pitch offense could work when it mattered most, with 3:53 remaining.

The Rams ran only five times in the first half, and Goff piled up the stats with short shots to Kupp and the rest.

Here, Goff used play-action and fired 25 yards to Woods on first down, the 11th ball Woods had caught. Then Goff rolled out and found Kupp for 18 yards, which was Kupp’s 11th reception as well. It was also Goff’s 50th attempt and his 39th completion.

Then the Rams picked a surprising time to revert to the running game, and wound up with a fourth-and-8 situation. Matt Gay, who was 1-for-2 beforehand, converted a 40-yard field-goal attempt for a 27-24 lead with 2:36 remaining, and with Brady holding one time out.

History indicates that Brady is somewhat lethal when given those options. But maybe current events are catching up with Brady. He tried to get a chunk of yardage with a down-the-middle throw to Cameron Brate, but it floated.

Fuller, who had already intercepted Brady once, stood there and watched the ball come to him. For the Rams, it was like a pillow mint that enabled a peaceful flight, and night.

Read more about Whicker: Goff’s bodyguards keep his jersey clean enough to beat Bucs This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Rams player tests positive for coronavirus, team enters intensive protocol

The Rams will hold their team meetings from home Wednesday after an unidentified player tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday night.

“This evening, we learned a Rams player tested positive for COVID-19,” the team said in a statement. “The player immediately entered self-quarantine and out of an abundance of caution, we are entering intensive protocol.”

The Rams (6-3) were scheduled only for a light walk-through practice Wednesday with an extra-long week of preparation for their game at Tampa Bay (7-3) on Monday night. Rams players and coaches will hold their normal schedule of meetings from home on Wednesday. They haven’t determined their schedule for the rest of the week.

The Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 23-16, on Sunday in Inglewood, and Coach Sean McVay gave the players Monday off following the win. Tuesday is a regularly scheduled day off.

The Rams had not had a positive for COVID-19 since rookie outside linebacker Terrell Lewis at the beginning of training camp. Center Brian Allen was the first NFL player to confirm he had tested positive for coronavirus back in April. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth also recovered from the infection earlier this year.

The NFL instituted guidelines for the intensive protocol last month as a response to an outbreak with the Tennessee Titans. It calls for rapid point of care tests in addition to the daily PCR testing, virtual meetings, the use of masks by everyone on the practice field at all times, the use of gloves by all players on the practice field, and a ban on player gatherings away from the facility.

Statement from the Los Angeles Rams: pic.twitter.com/lcxklfWNzo

— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) November 18, 2020

Read more about Rams player tests positive for coronavirus, team enters intensive protocol This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Kirk Cousins, surging Vikings beat slumping Bears

  • Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson navigates his way through traffic as he runs with the ball during the first half of Monday’s game against the Vikings in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) celebrates with teammates after recovering a fumbled punt return by Chicago Bears’ Dwayne Harris during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II, front, has a pass broken up by Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II (12) catches a pass as Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Jones (26) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass as Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith (58) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings’ K.J. Osbornn (17) attempts to return a punt as Chicago Bears’ Deon Bush (26) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) laterals to running back Artavis Pierce (46) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Players get set on the line of scrimmage during the first half of an NFL football game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa, left, celebrates after sacking Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles, right, during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II (12) catches a pass ahead of Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson (50) and cornerback Kris Boyd (29) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson catches a pass as Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson (39) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs with the ball before being pushed out of bounds by Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy is seen on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs with the ball as Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson (33) and linebacker Roquan Smith (58) defend during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is tackled by a host of Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, left, slips past Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, right, during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs with the ball as Minnesota Vikings linebacker Troy Dye defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is congratulated by teammate Dakota Dozier (78) after catching a touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins reacts in front of teammate running back Dalvin Cook, left, after throwing an incomplete pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson runs up field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs past teammate Chad Beebe (12) as Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine, front right, defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears place kicker Cairo Santos kicks a 23-yard field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs with the ball as Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine (24) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson runs with the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs past teammate Chad Beebe (12) as Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine (24) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) catches a touchdown pass as Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine (24) and safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. (38) defend during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) falls in the end zone after catching a touchdown pass as Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine (24) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) runs from Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson, right, during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, right, intercepts a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, left, slips past Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith (58) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs with the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs with the ball as Minnesota Vikings linebacker Troy Dye defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) catches a pass as Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine (24) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Dan Chisena (85) catches a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs with the ball as Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine (24) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs with the ball as Minnesota Vikings linebacker Troy Dye defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) intercepts a pass as teammates cornerback Jeff Gladney (20) and safety Anthony Harris (41) watch along with Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller (17) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) intercepts a pass as teammates cornerback Jeff Gladney (20) and safety Anthony Harris (41) watch along with Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller (17) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith, right, intercepts a pass as teammate safety Anthony Harris (41) watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs past teammate Chad Beebe (12) as Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine, front right, defends during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Tyler Bray (8) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles is hit by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (95) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. Foles was injured on the play and left the game on a cart. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles tries to throw under pressure from Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (95) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. Foles was injured on the play and left the game. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles is tackled by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (95) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. Foles was injured on the play and left the game. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles is checked on after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. Foles left the game on a cart. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles is taken off on a cart after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles is taken off on a cart after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

of

Expand

CHICAGO — Kirk Cousins will take a victory any day of the week. That he finally got one on a Monday night didn’t seem to matter.

Cousins threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns, and the Minnesota Vikings overcame a 104-yard kickoff return by Chicago’s Cordarrelle Patterson to beat the Bears, 19-13.

Cousins won for the first time in 10 career Monday night starts. He hit Adam Thielen with a 6-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put Minnesota ahead by the final margin, and the Vikings (4-5) held on for their third straight win. They also snapped a four-game losing streak against Chicago (5-5).

“Great to get a win,” Cousins said. “We’ll try to keep building on it now, and it’ll be so important to keep stringing these together if we can. That’s really what the rest of the season will be all about.”

Bears quarterback Nick Foles got taken from the field on a cart in the game’s final minute. Coach Matt Nagy said Foles’ leg and hip were being evaluated after he got slammed on his right side by Minnesota’s Ifeadi Odenigbo as he threw the ball away.

Patterson joined Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington as the only players with eight kick returns for touchdowns when he ran back the opening kickoff of the second half to give Chicago a 13-7 lead. It was the longest kickoff return in franchise history, surpassing Gale Sayers’ 103-yarder against Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, 1967.

Patterson had all the room he needed as he sprinted up the sideline and raised two fingers as he closed in on the end zone.

“I don’t know what I did, man. I was blacked out at the time,” Patterson said.

The record return was the lone bright spot for the Bears as they lost their fourth in a row and matched their longest skid since Nagy was hired in 2018.

Cousins completed 25 of 36 passes with two touchdowns to Thielen, who has nine on the season. His one-handed TD grab in the first quarter was particularly impressive.

Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook ran for 96 yards on 30 attempts. Justin Jefferson caught eight passes for 135 yards and tied Randy Moss’ club rookie record with his fourth 100-yard receiving game.

The defense did not allow an offensive touchdown for the first time in 20 games, including the playoffs, and the Vikings won for just the fourth time in 18 games at Soldier Field since it reopened in 2003 following renovations.

“It’s a goofy year for everybody,” said Harrison Smith, who had an interception. “We’re starting to have a little bit of a feeling of how to make our own energy and our own confidence. I think we’re starting to figure it out a little bit.”

STRUGGLING OFFENSE

With offensive coordinator Bill Lazor calling the plays after Nagy handed off those duties in an effort to lift a unit that ranks near the bottom of the NFL, the Bears managed 149 yards. It was their lowest total since they had 147 against San Francisco on Dec. 3, 2017.

“We need to make sure that we’re really honestly going back now and saying OK, what’s going on, where are we at now that we have some time to really see,” Nagy said.

Foles, 31, finished 15-of-26 for 106 yards and an interception. It was a far cry from his previous start against the Vikings, when he led Philadelphia past them in the NFC championship game on the way to a Super Bowl title in 2018.

Veteran Tyler Bray entered the game for Chicago’s final drive. Former second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky, who lost the starting job to Foles in Week 3, was inactive because of a shoulder injury.

Khalil Mack had his first interception since 2018. But the fading Bears came out flat again on a Monday night; they were dominated by the Rams in L.A. last month. And to left tackle Charles Leno Jr., that makes it even worse.

“Disappointment,” he said. “A lot of emotions, negative emotions right now. We’ve got to process. We know it’s two Monday nights we didn’t perform well. It’s just frustrating.”

RETURN, REGROUP

The Bears led 13-7 when Chicago’s Dwayne Harris muffed a punt. The Vikings’ Josh Metellus recovered at the 20, leading to Dan Bailey’s 37-yard field goal. Bailey added a tying 43-yarder with just under two minutes left in the third.

QUOTABLE

“Yes.” — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on whether the struggling special teams are aging him.

INJURIES

The Vikings were without TE Irv Smith Jr. (groin) and CB Cameron Dantzler (concussion). … Besides Foles, Bears DT Akiem Hicks (hamstring) and Harris (triceps) were injured.

UP NEXT

The Vikings host Dallas on Sunday.

The Bears have a bye, then visit Green Bay on Nov. 29.

Read more about Kirk Cousins, surging Vikings beat slumping Bears This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Chargers extend streak of allowing 29 points or more vs. Raiders

  • Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams, below, stays down on the field after an injury and an incomplete pass in the end zone during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, left, celebrates with teammates cornerback Isaiah Johnson, center, and strong safety Johnathan Abram (24) after the Raiders defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • The Raiders Isaiah Johnson #31 signals no touchdown to the referee after the Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 after catching what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders Isaiah Johnson #31 defends as the Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 catches what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 after catching what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr #4 during their NFL game against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Gabe Nabers #40 celebrates scoring a touchdown with Dan Feeney #66 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders’ Amik Robertson #21 celebrates their victory during their NFL game against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 after catching what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders Isaiah Johnson #31 signals no touchdown to the referee after the Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 after catching what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Mike Williams #81 hauls in a pass as the Raiders Johnathan Abram #24 defends during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers’ Nasir Adderley #24 and Kyzir White #44 brick up a pass intended for the Raiders Darren Waller #83 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders’ Nelson Agholor #15 hauls in a pass as the Chargers’ Michael Davis #43 defends during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Raiders’ Josh Jacobs #28 looks for some running room during their NFL game against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 scrambles during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Keenan Allen #13 looks for some running too, as the Raiders’ Erik Harris #25 moves in for the tackle during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Joe Reed #12 heads up field during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 can’t escape the grasp of the Raiders’ Clelin Ferrell #96 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Mike Williams #81 spins away from Raiders’ Erik Harris #25 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Kalen Ballage #31 escapes the tackle of the Raiders Cory Littleton #42 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The Raiders beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 passes the ball during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 congratulates Kalen Ballage #31 Ballage scored a touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. #89 celebrates what would have been the game winning touchdown as time expired during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The touchdown call on the field was reversed by review because Parham dropped the ball, the Raiders went on to beat the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Dan Feeney #66 spikes the ball after Kalen Ballage #31 scored a first half rushing touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Keenan Allen #13 is hugged by quarterback Justin Herbert #10 after Allen scored a touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Jalen Guyton #15 goes up for a pass as the Raiders’ Isaiah Johnson #31 defends during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. The pass was nullified and brought back due to an offensive pass interference call. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ K.J. Hill #84 catches a punt and is tackled by the Raiders Keisean Nixon #22 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Kalen Ballage #31 scores a touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 scrambles away from the Raiders’ Clelin Ferrell #96 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr #4 is dragged down by Chargers defenders during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Chargers’ Keenan Allen #13 crosses the goal line for a touchdown during their NFL game against the Raiders at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert #10 can’t escape the grasp of the Raiders’ Clelin Ferrell #96 during their NFL game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca., Sunday, November 8, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert throws a pass under pressure during the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Chargers running back Kalen Ballage is hauled down during the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • The Los Angeles Chargers take the field before an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers battles for yards after a first half catch against Nevin Lawson #26 of the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

of

Expand

INGLEWOOD — It wasn’t that long ago that the Chargers were viewed as one of the best defenses in the NFL because Derwin James, Drue Tranquill, Chris Harris Jr. and Joey Bosa are on the roster.

But none of them were on the field Sunday during the Chargers’ 31-26 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium. James, Tranquill and Harris haven’t played since Week 3, and Bosa was inactive because he’s in the concussion protocol.

Injuries certainly played a part in why the Chargers have been one of the worst defenses in the NFL in the past month, but James and Tranquill are likely not coming back this season. They’ll need to turn it around regardless of who’s on the field for the final eight games of the season.

The Chargers (2-6) allowed 29 points or more for the fifth consecutive game. The Raiders ran for 160 rushing yards and quarterback Derek Carr had multiple passes of 45 yards or more against the Chargers’ secondary.

“We gotta eliminate the explosive (plays),” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “The ball went over our heads too many times today.”

Lynn had short responses Sunday when asked about the defensive struggles. Last week, Lynn said he had no intentions of making coaching staff changes.

Lynn has displayed support for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, but many fans on social media aren’t pleased with the two coaches and Sunday’s performance didn’t help their causes.

The Chargers’ defense, however, did have one positive note when they kept the Raiders out of the end zone after rookie wide receiver K.J. Hill muffed a punt on his own 31-yard line in the fourth quarter.

But not much has gone right for Bradley’s defense this season. The Chargers have allowed 30 points or more in back-to-back games for the second time this season. They never did that once during Bradley’s first three seasons as play caller.

SURPRISE SPARK

The Chargers received a spark from running back Kalen Ballage, who was promoted from the practice squad this week. Ballage was involved early because Justin Jackson sustained a right knee injury on the opening play.

Ballage finished the Chargers’ first scoring drive with a 5-yard run on fourth-and-1 to tie the score 7-7 with 13:24 in the second quarter. Jackson returned to the game late in the second quarter.

Ballage finished with a team-high 69 rushing yards on 15 attempts. The Chargers rushed for a combined 128 yards.

“I don’t look at myself as a practice squad player,” Ballage said. “The ball just hasn’t rolled my way … but I prepare myself like I’m the No. 1 back on every team I get on and like I’m the No. 1 back in the league. … I’m just going to continue working and help this team win.”

Ballage joined the Chargers’ practice squad last month. The Arizona State product was a fourth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins. He was with the New York Jets to start the season.

INJURIES

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga sustained a back injury on the Chargers’ first drive and didn’t return to the game. Bulaga missed three games this season because of a back injury.

Wide receiver Mike Williams received medical attendance after falling hard on his failed reception in the end zone with six seconds left in regulation.

Lynn didn’t provide updates on Bulaga and Williams after the game.

Read more about Chargers extend streak of allowing 29 points or more vs. Raiders This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico