LAS VEGAS (AP) — It appeared solely becoming the Las Vegas Raiders wanted each second of an time beyond regulation recreation to earn their first playoff berth since 2016, a microcosm of their curler coaster season.
And as they’ve carried out 5 different instances this season, the Raiders gained on the ultimate play of the sport.
Daniel Carlson’s 47-yard area aim as time expired in time beyond regulation lifted Las Vegas previous the Los Angeles Chargers 35-32 on Sunday night time and into the postseason.
And within the course of, eradicated its AFC West rivals, whereas serving to Pittsburgh advance.
“We’ve had ups and downs all season however we’ve guys who love soccer,” Raiders defensive finish Maxx Crosby mentioned. “Now we have dudes with coronary heart.”
After which some.
Las Vegas survived Los Angeles’ late-game comeback constructed on a collection of fourth-down conversions to power time beyond regulation. The Chargers tied it with a 12-yard TD cross from Justin Herbert to Mike Williams as time expired in regulation.
Every workforce made time beyond regulation area objectives earlier than Carlson’s game-winner. Carlson, 3 times the AFC particular groups participant of the week this season, kicked 5 area objectives within the recreation.
The Raiders gained a fourth straight recreation and accomplished an unbelievable late-season run after dropping 5 of their earlier six.
“We simply discovered a strategy to have an opportunity to win on the finish,” Raiders interim coach Wealthy Bisaccia mentioned. “We’ve been on this scenario earlier than … simply can’t say sufficient about how this workforce prepares and going into the sport and enjoying like that. They imagine in one another once they go on the market. They don’t blink.”
Derek Carr accomplished 20 of 36 cross makes an attempt for 186 yards, together with two touchdowns. Hunter Renfrow hauled in two landing passes, whereas a visibly injured Josh Jacobs ran for a career-high 132 yards on 26 carries, together with one rating.
“You are feeling it while you breathe, I get winded and I really feel it,” Jacobs mentioned about enjoying with a rib harm. “It was simply considered one of them (video games) I used to be continually speaking to myself every play, getting helped up off the bottom. I used to be speaking to myself, like ‘it’s this a lot time on the clock, that is what we want.’ I’d have felt like I let my workforce down if I went on the market and let the ache get to me and gave up.”
The Raiders, who had arguably extra offseason and in-season distractions than any workforce, overcame a number of adversities and return to the playoffs for under the second time since dropping to Tampa Bay within the 2003 Tremendous Bowl.
“I don’t suppose any workforce has been by way of what we’ve been by way of in 10 years, not to mention one yr,” Carr mentioned. “There’s a lot emotion — choose a narrative. There’s a lot emotion with every thing we’ve carried out.
“It’s in all probability the good accomplishment I feel I’ve ever had in my life football-wise.”
Had the groups tied, the Steelers would have been eradicated. As an alternative, Las Vegas goes to Cincinnati on Saturday to open the wild-card spherical, and Pittsburgh will play at Kansas Metropolis on Sunday night time.
Trailing by 15 within the fourth quarter, the Chargers scored two late touchdowns, with a 19-play, 83-yard drive capped by Herbert’s strike to Williams. Dustin Hopkins’ further level despatched the sport into the additional interval. Los Angeles transformed on three fourth-down performs within the prolonged drive.
Herbert, who was underneath duress a lot of the night time, accomplished 34 of his 64 makes an attempt for 383 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
“I’m dissatisfied as a result of I really feel like we’re the most effective groups within the NFL,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley mentioned. “I really feel like this workforce’s ok to not solely be within the event, however to win it.”
Carr’s tally gave him 4,804 yards this season, greater than every other Raider in franchise historical past. Wealthy Gannon threw for 4,689 yards in 2002. Carr has thrown for greater than 4,000 yards in 4 of his eight seasons with the Raiders.
Heading into the sport, the Chargers had pressured 10 turnovers of their earlier six video games. The Raiders, in the meantime, had dedicated 12 turnovers during the last 4 video games. However Las Vegas’ protection turned in a single interception — by former Charger Casey Hayward Jr. — and one fumble restoration, whereas its offense dedicated none.