By Tim Peterson
(Inglewood) – Assante Samuel Jr. intercepted a pass at the Chargers two-yard line with 2:33 left to lift LA to a 24-17 win over the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday before 70,240 fans at SoFi Stadium.
The Raiders took over at the Chargers 34-yard line with after the Chargers went for it on fourth and one from that spot. But Justin Herbert was stuffed on a quarterback sneak and the Raiders had a shot. Las Vegas then moved the ball down to the three-yard line before Samuel came up with the huge interception.
Herbert then hit Joshua Palmer for a 51-yard pass down to the Raider 42-yard line with 1:51 left and the Chargers were able to run out the clock.
While the Chargers offense did enough for the win, the defense came up big all day. Khalil Mack had six sacks on the day, a franchise record.
The Chargers got on the board first as they used a 51-yard run by Derius Davis to set up a 12-yard touchdown run by Justin Herbert on their first possession for a quick 7-0 lead. LA drove 86 yards on nine plays.
The Raiders went three and out on their first possession.
After the Chargers were forced to punt, the Raiders marched 64 yards on eight plays. Aidan O’Connell capped it with a one-yard run to tie it at 7 with 45 seconds left in the first quarter.
Cameron Dicker “The Kicker” booted a 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter to give the Chargers a 10-7 lead.
The Chargers recovered a fumble by O’Connell and were back in business again at the Las Vegas 36. The Raiders Jerry Tillery was then not only penalized but also ejected for a blatant late hit on Herbert out of bounds.
That set up a 7-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Keenan Allen for a 17-7 Chargers lead with 7:20 left in the second quarter.
O’Connell fumbled again on the Raiders next possession and the Chargers recovered to set up shop at the Las Vegas 35. They took advantage of the short field when six plays later Herbert leaped and extended the ball across the goal line from a yard out to for the score to make it 24-7 with 3:05 left.
The Chargers took the 17-point lead into the half.
Daniel Carlson kicked a 22-yard field goal for the Raiders with 4:51 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 24-10.
After forcing the Chargers to punt from their own endzone the Raiders put together a 12-play, 60 yard drive. Josh Jacobs capped it with a one-yard run to cut the LA lead to 24-17 with 3:59 left in the third quarter.
The score stayed that way until the fourth quarter when the Chargers went for it on their own 34 only to be stopped. But Samuel’s pick and Herbert’s pass finished off the Raiders.
It was the Chargers only interception of the day but it proved to be a game winner.
For the Chargers Herbert completed 13 of 24 for 167 yards and a touchdown with an interception to go along with his two rushing TDs. Joshua Kelley led the rushing attack with 65 yards on 17 carries.
The Raiders were without starting quarterback Jimmy Garropolo who is in concussion protocol, but O’Connell completed 24 of 39 for 238 yards without a touchdown. He also threw the crucial interception. Josh Jacobs caught 8 passes out of the backfield for 81 yards and ran for 58 yards and a score. Davante Adams had 8 receptions for 75 yards but the Chargers were able to keep him out of the endzone.
The Chargers improved to 2-2 with the victory while the Raiders fell to 1-3.