Justin Herbert put on a courageous show in willing the Chargers in their wild comeback against the Raiders Sunday night.
His teammates and head coach let him down.
It was a gut-wrenching loss for a quarterback who deserved to win the game, but saw his team lose it (32-29) in the bedlam that was the Las Vegas Raiders stadium.
Season over. Playoff hopes dashed. A team with more deficiencies than anyone wants to admit.
It was vintage Herbert, throwing for (383Y-3TD) and taking a fierce pounding in the process.
It was a typical Chargers show. A pitiful display in the secondary. And an offense line that let their QB take a beating.
Breakdowns again on special teams, with a missed field goal and a fumbled punt.
And the boldness of a head coach, going for a 1st down on a 4th down at his own 19-yard line, that failed, giving the Raiders easy field position for a TD, that changed the game.
The Chargers ran an amazing 88-plays in the game. Herbert willed his team to 2-TD drives in the 4th quarter, to force it to overtime. And yet they lost.
Right tackle Storm Norton finished off a disastrous season allowing 2-sacks and 3-hits in the 4th quarter on his quarterback. Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby treated him like a rag doll.
Bad outings by others aided the Raiders.
Cornerback Michael Davis gave up a TD, 4-big completions and took 2-penalties.
Linebacker Kenneth Murray got beat in coverage 3-times and would have given up a 67Y-TD pass had Derek Carr not overthrown Zay Jones.
Dru Tranquill gave up 4-passes early and was pulled.
Even rookie tackle Rashawn Slater got dinged, a penalty, a sack and 2-pressures.
The Chargers had 16-plays of plus 10-yards and still lost. Herbert went (34-for-64) and it wasn’t enough.
Mike Williams had 9-catches for 119-yards and left it on the field in exhaustion. Keenan Allen was boxed out of the game. The rest of the receivers corp was plagued by drops that stymied drives.
There was no Joey Bosa sighting, just 1-pressure from him the whole night.
It was a standout night for Uchenna Nwosu, most of it by halftime, but credit him with a sack, two tackles for loss, a sack, a pressure and a QB hit. He faded in the second half.
Lead veteran corner Chris Harris got zinged, a penalty, 2-big catches, and a TD pass allowed.
You come away feeling empty about the season, that was up and was down.
For all the accomplishments in a (5200-yard) offensive season from Herbert, the team isn’t in the playoffs.
For all the flash-dash they exhibited, you come away feeling this is like the Dan Fouts era, have to score lots because the defense gives up lots.
The (4-1) exciting start is a wasted memory, because the team went (5-7) after that, including losing four games to team with substandard talent, the Sunday night game included.
The Chargers had the better team. The Raiders had the tougher team. In a tradition Al Davis loyalists will always quote, ‘just win baby’, and the Raiders surely did. As I wrote on Friday, QB-Derek Carr played with great grit. That defensive front caused things to happen. And kicker Daniel Carlson could make a difference, and he did with 5-field goals and is now 40-for-43 on the year.
For the Chargers, it just seems the postseason failures will never end. From the Fouts era, to Marty Ball, to now Staley-and his season of shortcomings, this makes you ache..
Herbert a hero. The rest of the team lost this one.