A pair of Las Vegas Raider newcomers shined brightest as the team extended its season-long win streak to three games.
The team-effort resulted in a 27-20 win over the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Dec. 4 from Allegiant Stadium. The win avenges a Week 1 loss to the Chargers from SoFi Stadium.
“I thought we went in there and made some plays when we needed to,” head coach Josh McDaniels said. “I thought defensively, we did a good job in the red zone – keeping them off the board in the red zone.”
Las Vegas is now 5-7 on the year amidst the three-game win streak and currently still sit in third place of the AFC West. The win does bring the team within a game of second place, presently held by Los Angeles.
The Raiders will return to SoFi Stadium Thursday, Dec. 8 but this time for a date with the defending champion, Los Angeles Rams. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:20 p.m.
“You do at least one of these [Thursday] games a year,” McDaniels said. “It is what it is. We knew this was on the schedule, it’s not a surprise. The coaches did a great job of working ahead Friday, Saturday and probably a little bit this morning [...] The great thing about a Thursday game is both teams are in the same boat. We’re going to cram and they’re going to cram.
A game-defining flea-flicker went from quarterback Derek Carr to running back Josh Jacobs back to Carr resulting in a 45-yard touchdown pass to receiver Davante Adams to put Las Vegas up 24-13 in the third quarter.
“I think we’re winning, if I’m being honest,” Carr said. “[Adams is] well over 1,000 yards, he’s well over 10 touchdowns – everyone said none of those things would happen and we still have a lot of football left. But when you’re winning, everything feels better if I’m honest.”
That marked the second touchdown of the quarter for Adams who surpassed 1,000 yards for the season for the third straight season and fourth overall. He reached the 1,000-yard plateau in the early part of the second quarter.
Adams is the first player in NFL history to secure the accomplishment in three consecutive seasons.
His first touchdown catch of the night went for 31 yards on the first play of the Raiders’ offensive drive. A drive that started from the opposing 31-yard line after a turnover.
Adams finished with 177 yards on eight catches with two touchdowns. In two games against the Chargers this season, he has accumulated 318 yards on 18 receptions to go along with three touchdowns.
The same drive where Adams eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, Jacobs capped it off with a 20-yard touchdown run right up the middle. This touchdown run eerily resembled his game-winning touchdown scamper in overtime against Seattle.
Jacobs picked up his sixth 100-yard game of the season and third straight, racking up 144 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown. In addition, he had just ran up the middle for 13 yards on the play prior to the flea-flicker that put the Raiders up two scores.
“It takes it to another level that’s for sure,” McDaniels said of the Adams/Jacobs tandem. “I think when you talk about those two guys, whenever you call something where they have a good chance of touching the football, you feel pretty good about it.”
Las Vegas is now the first NFL team to have a 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver in the same season.
Jacobs’ big night came after a shaky start to the game as he fumbled on his fifth touch of the game.
In fact, that was the first of two first quarter turnovers for Las Vegas. The other was a pick-six thrown by Carr.
“The character was on full display today,” he said. “We turned it over again, twice. Why? The reason doesn’t matter, it’s what we did. We just make it hard on ourselves. [But] seeing everybody bounce back and keep believing and keep playing, the defense was playing great for us. It was good seeing both sides of the ball helping each other.”
By the end of the night, Carr had thrown for 250 yards, going 16-for-30 in the process with two touchdowns and an interception.
“I think he works extremely hard,” McDaniels said. “[The Chargers] present a lot of issues relative to communication. Probably the thing I’m most proud of is we didn’t get sacked and we didn’t lose a yard in the running game.”
The storyline on defense was the breakout game for offseason acquisition Chandler Jones.
“I just know it was a relief for him,” Carr said. “But the way he’s been playing the run this year has been unbelievable. The way he’s set the edge – there’s a lot more than just a stat, a touchdown, a sack. He’s played really good football.”
Anywhere the Raiders needed Jones to be, he answered the call. Jones finished with six tackles (five solo), three sacks, two tackles for loss, one pass deflection and five quarterback hits.
Prior to this performance, Jones was limited to just seven combined tackles in the last three games.
“It’s unbelievable,” Carr said. “It makes playing quarterback so much easier when you go out there and you don’t have to force something because you know it’s going to be a shootout.”
Jones’ defensive presence helped juice the entire team as safety Duron Harmon forced a fumble on the first Chargers’ possession of the second half with the Raiders down, 13-10. That turnover set up Adams’ first touchdown of the day.
Defensive back Nate Hobbs recovered the fumble and was in coverage on the final play of Los Angeles’ final offensive possession of the night, falling short of the end zone. Hobbs was playing in his first game since Week 5 after being placed on IR with a broken left hand.
Hobbs led the team with eight tackles, all solo.
“It’s great to have Nate back,” McDaniels said. “Nate’s a unique guy, he brings a skillset that is super competitive, great toughness. I thought he did a great job matching some of their receivers in coverage.”