The Las Vegas Raiders’ playoff hopes have dwindled to the ground with a bad loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The game’s final score ended 30-27, and the Raiders now need a miracle to make the playoffs.
The offense held its own even when Derek Carr went down early in the first quarter. They switched to the running attack with backup Marcus Mariota racking over 173 yards rushing and 6 yards per play overall. They were able to move the ball at will at times through the ground and get huge plays downfield because of it. However, they kept faltering when it mattered in the red zone with turnovers and settling for field goals. The Raiders left opportunities on the field for sure.
The defense had its usual performance we have seen every week since the beginning of the season. They gave up 6.5 yards per play and allowed Justin Herbert to throw for 314 yards and two touchdowns with both of his receivers injured. While they were able to stop the run, the passing offense didn’t come to play this game. The huge play late to seal the game was a backbreaker to the Raiders’ season.
Who were the Winners and Losers from Week 15? Let us check it out.
Winner: QB Marcus Mariota
Mariota is the highest-paid back up in the league, and many were talking about how bad that contract was early in the season. Last night he proved to fans that he was worth every penny with a great performance coming off the bench when Carr went down.
The former number two pick was 17 for 28, threw 228 yards, with a touchdown. He also moved the ball with his legs rushing for 88 yards and rushing for another touchdown. He was able to make throws off the script and help convert third down at a high rate. He did throw a bad interception late in the game when the Raiders were about to go up and another errant throw in overtime.
With Carr likely out for the rest of the season, this will be good for Mariota to prove he is still a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL. As someone who came into the league with a ton of hype, he now has the chance to redeem himself and get an opportunity to start in the future.
Winner: TE Darren Waller
Darren Waller has been on the winners list more than any other player this season, and it is well deserved. He put together another stellar performance adding to his resume as one of the elite tight ends in the NFL.
He finished the game with 9 receptions for 150 yards on 12 targets and a touchdown. Mariota was able to lean on him all game in tough spots, and Waller made sideline catches in the scramble drill. If Mariota has to start the next two games, he will lean on Waller to help this team win.
Waller, at this point, is underpaid. The Raiders paying him at this salary is a steal because he has certainly proved that last season was not a fluke. He is on pace for a back-to-back 1,000-yard season and is a piece for the Raiders team for the near future.