Chargers to face Raiders after beating Cardinals
December 1, 2022
The Los Angeles Chargers in 2022 are a work-in-progress. Each week has brought a different challenge, due to the personnel available and the challenge each opponent brings. This past weekend, the Chargers were able to overcome a fourth quarter deficit and defeat the Arizona Cardinals on the road, 25-24. The win improved the Chargers record to 6-5.
With 1:48 left in the game and the Chargers trailing 24-17, the Chargers had the ball at the Cardinal 38-yard line. A 20-yard punt return from DeAndre Carter and a five-yard running out of bounds penalty on the kicking team gave the Chargers great field position. Seven plays later, the Chargers scored on a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Herbert to running back Austin Ekeler to close the gap to one point at 24-23, with just 15 seconds left in the game.
The Chargers could have kicked the extra point, which would have taken the game into overtime. They decided to go for two and win-or-lose on the two-point conversion from the two-yard line. Herbert connected with tight end Gerald Everett for the conversion in the end zone and the Chargers had a 25-24 lead with 15 seconds remaining. Two plays later the game ended on a Charger defensive interception.
Charger head coach Brandon Staley explained the basis for his decision to go for the two-point conversion. "We came here to win," Staley said. "We're just living week to week." That is the Charger season in a nutshell. Just finding a way to win and survive in the playoff chase. The multitude of injuries have forced the Chargers to do whatever it takes to win from week-to-week.
Herbert seems to finally have recovered from his rib cartilage injury and is looking like himself again. In the win over the Cardinals, Herbert completed 35 of 47 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the Chargers in rushing yardage with 38 yards on four carries. At his press conference on Monday, Staley talked about Herbert and the adjustments the team have had to make this season.
"It's a combination of factors," Staley said. "It's a combination of how defenses are playing us. It's a combination of the transition within our offense, from a personnel standpoint, and trying to play to the strengths of our team that is out there in a given week, which you guys have heard me comment on extensively throughout the season. What we're having to do is find a way that fits that group week to week."
Staley also talked about the lack of explosive plays this season in the Charger offense. "We're certainly better when we get them, but you can get them in a variety of ways that don't exclusively come from just throwing the ball deep down the field," Staley said. "I thought that, yesterday, Justin [Herbert] was outstanding in the game. I thought that he was accurate. I thought that he made a lot of winning plays that quarterbacks have to make."
The loss dropped the Cardinals to 4-7 for the season. The Chargers are 4-2 on the road this season and 2-3 at home. They will get another shot at winning on the road this week against their long time rivals, the Raiders. The Raiders have a record of 4-7 this season but have won two in a row, both of which were on the road. At other times this season, the Raiders have not been able to hold onto big leads. They have lost three games this season that they led by 17 points.
The Raiders beat the Seahawks this past week, rushing for 283 yards. The Chargers run defense has struggled and is last in average rushing yardage per carry allowed at 5.4 yards. The Raiders will almost certainly attack the Chargers run defense. The game is scheduled for Sunday, December 4th at Allegiant Stadium. The game will start at 1:25 pm and will be televised on CBS. It will be a challenging matchup for a Charger team looking to stay in the playoff hunt in the AFC.