Chargers secure signature win, previewing wild AFC West battles to follow
The lightning crackled, thunder rumbled, and a light rain fell over Inglewood. The kickoff of Monday night’s AFC West showdown between the Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders was postponed 35 minutes, as SoFi Stadium is still considered an open-air venue even if it’s exposed only on the sides.
Once the game started, a true whether delay.
No one knew whether the Raiders would show up.
More evidence that this is going to be a wild, back-and-forth tussle within the division.
Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler and defense bring thunder in Chargers’ win over Raiders
Their once 21-point lead slipping away, the Chargers needed a stop Monday night.
Reserve defensive lineman Christian Covington delivered.
Justin Herbert finished 25 for 38 for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Austin Ekeler rushed 15 times for a career-high 117 yards and a score and also had a touchdown catch. Jared Cook had six receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
The Chargers won by opening a 21-0 halftime lead behind a dominating defense that permitted only one first down through the first two quarters. Joey Bosa, Jerry Tillery and Kyler Fackrell also had sacks.
Chargers hold off Raiders second-half surge to pull off 28-14 win
A big sack, a key fourth-down conversion and a time-killing touchdown drive in the fourth quarter allowed the Chargers to hold off the Las Vegas Raiders for a 28-14 victory at SoFi Stadium on Monday night.
The Chargers jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half on three touchdown passes by Justin Herbert before the Derek Carr and the Raiders responded with two quick touchdowns in the third quarter.
Christian Covington’s key sack on Carr on third down early in the third quarter pushed the Raiders into shaky field-goal range, and Daniel Carlson proved that by missing a 52-yard field-goal attempt.
On the ensuing possession, Herbert connected on a 13-yard pass to Jared Cook on fourth down and two to extend a drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown run by Austin Ekeler. An interception by Derwin James minutes later sealed the victory for the Chargers.
Herbert completed 25 of 38 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Ekeler rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He also caught three passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jared Cook make six receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Carr completed 21 of 34 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns for the Raiders (3-1).
The Chargers (3-1) will host the Cleveland Browns (3-1) on Sunday.
Derwin James intercepts Derek Carr late in the fourth quarter
A huge interception by Chargers safety Derwin James off Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has the Chargers three minutes away from securing their third win of the season.
On second-and-nine, Carr tried to get off a pass to Darren Waller as James read the play and undercut to get inside the Raiders tight end for the textbook pick.
What started as a promising second half for Las Vegas has deteriorated into a dismal fourth quarter for the NFL’s top offense.
Austin Ekeler scores his second TD to give Chargers 28-14 lead
Chargers 28, Raiders 14 — 5:20 fourth quarter
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler capped off a long, clock-draining drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to extend the lead for Los Angeles and lower the decibel level at SoFi Stadium.
The Chargers desperately needed a touchdown to help break the Raiders’ momentum. After a huge sack by Christian Covington on the Raiders’ last possession led to the a missed 52-yard field-goal attempt by Las Vegas, Justin Herbert took over and promptly went to work.
Herbert put together a methodical drive, converting on fourth-and-2 on a 13-yard pass to Jared Cook along the way to set up Ekeler’s defender-bouncing scamper into the end zone.
Daniel Carlson misses 52-yard field-goal attempt for Raiders
Chargers 21, Raiders 14 — 9:24 fourth quarter
The Chargers finally caught a break when Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson missed a 52-yard field-goal attempt with 10:38 left in the fourth quarter. Carlson had made 29 consecutive field-goal attempts before missing against the Chargers.
A huge sack by Chargers defensive lineman Christian Covington slammed the brakes on what looked like another Raiders scoring drive. Las Vegas receiver Henry Ruggs III opened the Raiders’ first possession of the fourth quarter in spectacular fashion, out-sprinting Chargers safety Derwin James on a towering 51-yard reception. However, the Chargers were finally able to slow down Derek Carr and the Las Vegas offense.
Where’s the defense? Raiders strike again with another TD
Chargers 21, Raiders 14 — 1:44 third quarter
Raiders tight end Darren Waller might a leaping touchdown catch over Chargers safety Nasir Adderley to cap off another hot-knife-through-butter drive for Las Vegas. A costly pass interference penalty by Asante Samuel Jr. for 45 yards sped up the Raiders’ scoring drive.
The three-yard TD pass from Derek Carr on third down came at the end of a six-play, 81-yard drive against an increasingly stunned Chargers defense. After holding the Raiders to just one first down in the first half, the Chargers have allowed nine first downs to Las Vegas in the second half.
The slightly subdued SoFi Stadium crowd in the first half has come alive in the second half. How will the Chargers respond?
Raiders wake up on offense, open second half with quick TD
Chargers 21, Raiders 7 — 9:01 third quarter
Raiders fans at SoFi Stadium finally have something to cheer about.
Derek Carr connected on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow to put Las Vegas onto the infinity scoreboard at SoFi.
The touchdown ended an 11-play, 78-yard drive that was reminiscent to what the Raiders produced as the NFL’s top offense through the first three weeks of the season. Whatever Jon Gruden said to his team at halftime seems to be working.
Defensively, the Raiders will try to stop Justin Herbert without cornerbacks Damon Arnette (groin) and Trayvon Mullen (foot), who’ve been ruled out for the remainder of the game.
Chargers extend lead on perfect touchdown by Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler
Chargers 21, Raiders 0 — Halftime
The duo of Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler is probably going to haunt Jon Gruden’s nightmares if the Chargers continue to steamroll the Raiders.
Ekeler made an amazing over-the-shoulder catch while streaking to the end zone to help give the Chargers a three-touchdown lead with 29 seconds left before halftime. Herbert’s 14-yard pass was a thing of a beauty, a perfectly placed lob that was right where it needed to be for Ekeler to make a play.
Herbert has completed 20 of 25 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns. Ekeler has 59 yards on eight carries and three catches for 28 yards.
The Chargers also have dominated on defense, holding the Raiders to 51 total yards and one first down. Derek Carr has completed seven of 13 passes for 52 yards.
Justin Herbert and Chargers extend lead in the second quarter
Chargers 14, Raiders 0 — 4:16 second quarter
The Chargers offense bolted itself awake late in the second quarter.
Justin Herbert lobbed a 10-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Jared Cook in the end zone to help extend the Chargers’ lead. The touchdown capped a six-play, 80-yard drive that broke a streak of four consecutive scoreless possessions for the Chargers.
The touchdown was set up by Chargers tight end Stephen Anderson catching a 34-yard pass after he shot out of the backfield uncovered.
Meanwhile, things aren’t getting better for the Raiders. They went three-and-out on the ensuing possession after the touchdown. Las Vegas has just 49 yards of total offense compared to the Chargers’ 190.
Chargers keeping Derek Carr and the Raiders offense in check
Chargers 7, Raiders 0 — 7:51 second quarter
Derek Carr and the Raiders are getting nowhere against the Chargers defense.
The Chargers’ effective pass rush and stifling pass protection has held the Raiders to just one first down and five floundering drives. Carr has been held to 52 yards on seven of 12 passing. Penalties also aren’t helping the Raiders.
Of course, Justin Herbert and the Chargers have also struggled to piece anything significant together on offense since melting through the Raiders’ defense on the game’s first possession.
Hunter Renfrow stymies Chargers fake punt with big hit
The Chargers’ attempt for some early-game chicanery went nowhere thanks to a bone-crushing hit by Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
On fourth down, Chargers punter Ty Long tried to complete a short pass to Tevaughn Campbell on a fake punt before the cornerback was hit hard by Renfrow about a yard short of a first down.
Renfro picked up the fake almost instantly and gave a lesson on how to hit in the open field — not bad for a wide receiver.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Chargers have continued to shut down Derek Carr and the Las Vegas offense — the Raiders have one first down on their first three possessions.
End of first quarter: Chargers 7, Raiders 0
Raiders go three-and-out on first two possessions
An incomplete pass by Derek Carr on third-and-seven stalled the Raiders at their own 33 on their first possession of the game.
The Chargers started their second possession at their own 24, but also went nowhere after Justin Herbert’s first two incomplete passes of the game.
Joey Bosa then brought a quick end to Las Vegas’ second possession when he sacked Carr and knocked the ball out of his hands on third down. The Raiders barely managed to recover to bring on fourth down and another punt.
Chargers take early lead on Justin Herbert’s TD dart to Donald Parham
Chargers 7, Raiders 0 — 8:01st quarter
Justin Herbert orchestrated the Chargers’ first drive of the game to near perfection, capping it off with a four-yard dart to Donald Parham for a touchdown.
The 12-play, 75-yard drive was spurred by a 22-yard reception by Jared Cook and an 18-yard run by Austin Ekeler. The running back, however, slowly walked off the field and went almost straight to the trainer’s table.
Herbert connected on all six of his passes for 49 yards. Ekeler has 25 yards on two carries.
How will the Raiders respond in front of a very pro-Raiders crowd at SoFi Stadium?
Raiders fans out in force tonight at SoFi Stadium
The Raiders are used to being the home team wherever they play the Chargers, and SoFi Stadium is no exception.
Raiders players were met with loud cheers when they ran out onto the field before the start of Monday’s game while the Chargers were greeted with boos when they ran onto the field.
TV cameras captured Raiders coach Jon Gruden throwing up his fist and encouraging Raiders fans as his players warmed up on the field.
The start of the game has been delayed because of lightning in the area around SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. It is scheduled to start at 5:50 p.m.
Thunderstorms delay start of Raiders vs. Chargers at SoFi Stadium
The start of the Chargers-Las Vegas Raiders game is being delayed because of weather around SoFi Stadium.
Thunder and lightning has been reported in the area. Kickoff was pushed back to 5:50 p.m. PDT — the game was originally set to start at 5:15 p.m.
The Raiders had come out of the locker room for the opening kickoff but quickly retreated. The Chargers have remained in their locker room.
No word yet on when the game might begin. SoFi Stadium has a roof, but the sides of the stadium are open and somewhat exposed to the elements.
Inactives for Monday’s game between Raiders and Chargers
Here are the inactives for tonight’s AFC West showdown between the Las Vegas Raiders and Chargers at SoFi Stadium:
Chargers look to keep run game going at home against unbeaten Raiders
The Chargers rushed for only 77 yards Sunday in hot and hostile Kansas City, where a crowd of 72,980 was dominated by red.
But 39 of those yards came in the decisive fourth quarter, during which the Chargers overcame a field-goal deficit by scoring twice in the final three minutes for a 30-24 victory.
Coach Brandon Staley said Thursday that his offense “got into a rhythm” on the ground in the fourth quarter and noted the significance of that development.
“We’re trending positive in that direction,” he explained. “And you need to because, when you go on the road in a place that’s loud, running the football helps you.”
Chargers looking into defensive mirror as Raiders come to town
This is a defense that features Denzel Perryman making tackles in the middle, Casey Hayward shadowing receivers on the outside and Darius Philon plugging the line of scrimmage.
It could be the 2018 Chargers or the opponent the Chargers face Monday night.
The Las Vegas Raiders will arrive at SoFi Stadium with very few secrets and a lot of familiar names, including defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
“This defense has been around the NFL for a while,” Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said. “I’ve always thought that Gus was — I don’t know if he was the founder or the godfather of this defense, but I’ve always felt like he’s one of the best at coaching it.”
Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders: NFL betting picks, odds and analysis
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5, 51.5)
If you like smash-mouth football and defense, Monday Night Football is probably not for you this week. The Chargers host the Raiders in a battle of two of the pass-happiest teams in the NFL. With good reason. Derek Carr and the Raiders have thrown for nearly 380 yards per game and Justin Herbert and the Chargers are above three bills per contest as well.
The Chargers have thrown on 65.2% of their offensive plays and the Raiders have thrown on 64% of theirs. These are not teams throwing because they trail all the time, like the Jaguars, Jets or Falcons. These are teams throwing a lot because they play to the strengths of their offenses.
Chargers vs. Raiders matchups: Derek Carr poses challenges for L.A. defense
When Chargers have the ball: After sputtering in the red zone for two games, the Chargers scored touchdowns on four of five trips inside the 20-yard line against Kansas City in Week 3. They beat the Chiefs in the final minute, when Justin Herbert hit Mike Williams for a four-yard score, Herbert’s fourth touchdown pass of the game. Against Las Vegas, the Chargers will see a familiar scheme, their former defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley, now holding the same position on Jon Gruden’s staff. “They’ve really tried to give that team some ammunition to play with,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “They’re doing a really good job of coaching on the defensive side of things, changing the culture on that defense.” Statistically, Las Vegas mostly has been a middle-of-pack defense to date. But Bradley’s familiarity with the Chargers’ personnel could prove advantageous. Then again, the Chargers know what Bradley’s trying to do too, so ... The Chargers remain the most-penalized team — in terms of yardage — in the NFL, and the majority of those issues have come on offense. They’ve lost three touchdowns to penalties, including two for illegal shifts. Staley talked repeatedly in advance of this game about the need to eliminate such unforced errors. Doing so against the 3-0 Raiders might be a must.
Chargers place Kenneth Murray Jr. and Justin Jones on injured reserve
The Chargers placed linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. and defensive tackle Justin Jones on injured reserve Monday.
Murray is dealing with an ankle injury and Jones with a calf problem. Murray has to miss at least three games. Jones will miss his third game Monday night when the Chargers play Las Vegas at SoFi Stadium. He’ll now have to sit out at least two more after Monday.
Drue Tranquill is expected to replace Murray in the starting lineup against the Raiders.
The Chargers signed defensive lineman Forrest Merrill to the active roster and activated defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko off the practice squad.