Chargers vs. Raiders score, takeaways: Justin Herbert, Los Angeles sink Las Vegas in Week 1 AFC West showdown
Herbert had himself a day in L.A.'s season opener
The Los Angeles Chargers are looking to pull off what the other L.A. team accomplished last season by winning the Super Bowl. Their 2022 campaign got off to a solid start as the Chargers defeated the rival Las Vegas Raiders, 24-19.
With the revamped AFC West, every divisional matchup matters -- even in Week 1. With an MVP candidate and a revamped defense for L.A., everyone had eyes on this matchup, and the Chargers certainly didn't disappoint. Justin Herbert completed 26 of 34 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. He not only managed the game, but picked and chose his shots, and found success doing so. Keenan Allen led the team with four catches for 66 yards, but exited early due to a hamstring injury. Free-agent addition DeAndre Carter impressed, catching three passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.
As for the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 22 of 37 passes for 295 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, while his new wideout Davante Adams caught 10 passes for 141 yards and one score. The Las Vegas offense scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to make things close, but turned the ball over on downs the next possession following the two-minute warning, which sealed the deal.
Here are some key takeaways from the AFC West showdown between the Chargers and Raiders:
Why the Chargers won
There's plenty of credit to go around when it comes to this Chargers win. It wouldn't be fair to pick one player, or position group or side of the ball for that matter as to offend the other. Herbert looked fantastic, completing 26 of 34 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. The ground game wasn't too effective, but it didn't have to be with how the defense played.
Carr was sacked five times for a loss of 29 yards and he threw three interceptions. Even when the Raiders scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to pull within five points and then forced a Chargers' three-and-out, the L.A. defense stood tall and forced the Raiders to turn the ball over on downs. Newcomer and former Raider Khalil Mack recorded three sacks to go along with six total tackles, and he was arguably the player of the game.
Why the Raiders lost
The Chargers did look like the better team on Sunday, but you have to credit the Raiders for outscoring their opponent 16-7 in the second half. To put it bluntly, Vegas lost the turnover battle 3-0, and the offensive line struggled against this tenacious Chargers pass rush. On the flip side, the Raiders didn't record a single sack!
The Raiders got behind the eight ball a bit in the first half, as the Chargers scored 14 unanswered in the second quarter. Down 17-3 at halftime, it felt like an uphill battle the entire way. Week 1 is Week 1, but moving forward, we should keep an eye on if Vegas can one, score points, and two, protect Carr.
This was the moment of all moments -- the play that ultimately determined the game. Fourth-and-8 with the game on the line, and Carr was sacked by Mack for the third time. You can't talk enough about how good Mack was on Sunday, and he's clearly a playmaker that will step up in big moments -- not only to sack the quarterback -- but also jar the ball loose.
Play of the game
Alright, so the Raiders didn't have their best performance in Week 1, but at the same time, this is the first game of the regular season. We didn't see all that this team is capable of. Adams is a huge addition for this squad given his rapport with Carr, and he certainly showed out in his first game as a Raider. The former Packer caught 10 passes for 141 yards -- which included this 41-yard thing of beauty.
Whether it's his release, his route running, his catching ability or what he does after the reception, this guy is just elite. Make sure you watch until the end of the clip.
The Raiders return to Vegas next week to host the Arizona Cardinals (0-1) on Sunday, Sept. 18, while the Chargers hit the road to take on the Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) on Thursday, Sept. 15.
Man, Carr hasn't looked comfortable all night. He has that internal clock -- as all good QBs do. Once it reaches its limit things go wrong.
Almost hard to believe we got to this point. Raiders now have 3:30 to win the game. Derek Carr and Co. have the ball down just 5 points. This is going to be fun. Get your friends to the TV.
Seven plays, 61 yards. Raiders back within five. I understand the decision to go for two there. Didn't work out.
Amazing TD catch by Davante Adams. Dude is a dog no matter the uniform.
Raiders lucked out on the interception spot, and the Chargers go three-and-out for the second straight drive. *eyes emoji*.
That didn't look like a good ball from Derek Carr. And in the fourth quarter, not exactly when you wanted to see that. Double coverage, safety help, Samuel Jr. gets the pick.