Las Vegas Raiders defense likely ends team’s playoff run
By Brad Weiss
The Las Vegas Raiders lost their starting quarterback early on, but it was the defense that once again faltered in a horrible home loss.
The Las Vegas Raiders paid Marcus Mariota a ton of money heading into the 2020 season, really turning a lot of heads with his 2yr/$17 million deal. After being inactive for most of the season, Mariota was activated a few weeks back but had not sniffed the field during the Raiders’ recent struggles.
When Derek Carr pulled up lame early in the first half, it was time for the former Heisman Trophy winner to earn his paycheck, and he did so in a big way. Making plays with both his arm and his legs, the former No. 2 overall pick engineered big drive after big drive, putting the team on his back throughout.
It wasn’t pretty, as, after multiple miracle plays, Mariota had his first big mistake late in the fourth quarter. After a missed field goal gave the Raiders the ball back, Mariota underthrew Zay Jones, and it fell into the arms of Chris Harris Jr.
The interception put the Chargers in plus territory, but as has been the way for the Bolts all season long, they found a way to make it interesting. Michael Badgley missed his second field goal in a minute and a half, as a sack of Justin Herbert forced the try into a 51-yarder. The Raiders and Chargers would go into overtime tied at 24, with Las Vegas winning the toss.
In overtime, Mariota continued his miraculous game, once again making plays with his arm and his feet, but the drive ended with a field goal. Once Herbert got the ball back, he picked on the Raiders depleted secondary, getting a fourth pass interference call on Trayvon Mullen, and then burning Keisean Nixon deep down within the five.
A few plays later, Los Angeles scored, likely ending the Raiders’ chances of making the playoffs in 2020.