The Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers performed some of the surreal common season video games in NFL historical past on Sunday evening in Week 18. That may sound like hyperbole, however it actually isn’t if you happen to understood the stakes on either side going into the sport.
After the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens within the closing week of the season, each the Chargers and Raiders would have made the playoffs if their common season finale resulted in a tie. If there was a winner within the recreation, that workforce would make the playoffs, the loser would miss the playoffs, and the Steelers would additionally get in. Each NFL fan knew about this situation coming into the week, with many daydreaming a couple of recreation the place the Chargers and Raiders each took a knee on each play of the sport to make sure the tie and a mutual postseason berth.
The Jags did the inconceivable by beating the Colts for less than their third win of the 12 months. All of the Raiders and Chargers needed to do was kneel, however as an alternative they each went all out making an attempt to win. Regardless of that, the sport was nonetheless so near ending in a tie.
The Raiders led by 29-14 factors with simply over eight minutes left within the recreation. The dream of a tie appeared useless … till the Chargers shortly scored a landing and accomplished the two-point conversion to chop the deficit to seven. After a Raiders’ three-and-out on the subsequent possession, LA quarterback Justin Herbert led the Chargers on a dramatic game-tying drive by throwing a landing on the ultimate play of regulation.
The Raiders had the primary possession of OT and kicked a subject objective. The Chargers answered with a subject objective. It appeared the Raiders subsequent drive had stalled out on midfield when Las Vegas working again Josh Jacobs was tackled on the Chargers’ 39-yard line on a second down play. Time was working off the clock and the Raiders appeared set to take the tie and the playoff berth, till the Chargers referred to as a weird timeout.
Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth could not consider that Chargers head coach Brandon Staley referred to as a timeout with 38 seconds left. pic.twitter.com/1LyfA7yYXv
— Terrible Saying (@awfulannouncing) January 10, 2022
The Raiders ran the ball once more, the Jacobs busted off a 10-yard run that put his workforce in subject objective vary. Raiders kicker Daniel Carson then kicked the game-winning subject objective that pushed Las Vegas and Pittsburgh into the playoffs and the Chargers out.
Everybody was asking the identical query: why did the Chargers take a timeout when letting the clock expire would have put them within the playoffs?
THE CHARGERS TOOK THE TIMEOUT AND THAT BROKE THE TRUST BETWEEN THE TWO IT’S CLASSIC PRISONER’S DILEMMA
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) January 10, 2022
WHY DID THEY TAKE THE TIMEOUT MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING !?!?
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 10, 2022
I am dumbfounded. That Chargers timeout is likely one of the hilariously silly issues I’ve ever seen. They usually did not even get the cease!
— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) January 10, 2022
Chargers head coach Brandon Staley defined why he referred to as the timeout after the sport, saying he needed to get the proper run defensive personnel within the recreation. Sadly, that personnel couldn’t cease Jacobs.
Brandon Staley stated he referred to as the timeout with 38 seconds remaining to get the proper run D personnel grouping within the recreation. I requested if he was motivated in any respect by preserving time on the clock in case Raiders missed FG. He stated his motivation was merely to make FG so long as attainable.
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) January 10, 2022
After the sport, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr admitted his workforce was enjoying for the tie till the Chargers referred to as timeout. Nonetheless, Carr additionally stated the Raiders by no means needed the tie — they needed to win.
Watch the postgame interview right here:
Right here is Derek Carr’s full reply when requested if the Chargers late timeout modified the Raiders technique
“Yeah it positively did, clearly. However we knew it doesn’t matter what we didn’t need a tie. We needed to win the soccer recreation. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/u0kj8iEDzp
— Danny Heifetz (@Danny_Heifetz) January 10, 2022
Raiders coach Wealthy Bisaccia stated after the sport that his workforce did think about enjoying for the tie however hoped to get into subject objective vary with a run.
We had a dialog about it towards the tip there. We ran the ball early and so they didn’t name timeout. So we thought most likely they’re doing the identical factor. We thought we might have a run in there that might probably get us in subject objective place to win it. We have been going to try this, and that’s what we did.
In accordance with the lip studying consultants on the market, it appeared a Raiders participant informed a Chargers participant that Las Vegas was enjoying for the tie earlier than the timeout. This most likely can’t be trusted, however we’ll allow you to be the decide.
There are loads arguing that the Raiders weren’t going to take a knee. So sure: the Chargers nonetheless needed to cease Las Vegas on the bottom. Did the timeout actually value the Chargers? It stays up for debate.
Profitable the sport did pay dividends for the Raiders when it comes to their upcoming playoff matchup. With the win, the Raiders now play the Cincinnati Bengals within the postseason. If the sport resulted in a tie, the Raiders could be enjoying the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, who’ve performed in every of the final two Tremendous Bowls and gained one in every of them.
In the meantime, Herbert appeared to say “I’ve by no means needed a tie so dangerous.”
What a completely hilarious approach for the NFL’s common season to finish. Higher luck subsequent 12 months, Chargers.