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Jalen Guyton’s contributions were ‘the bomb’ in Chargers’ win over Raiders

Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton is tackled by Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Keisean Nixon.
Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton is tackled by Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Keisean Nixon after making an overtime catch in the Chargers’ 30-27 win Thursday.
(David Becker / Associated Press)

Jalen Guyton wanted his news conference to start earlier.

In overtime Thursday night against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Chargers receiver connected with quarterback Justin Herbert for a 53-yard bomb, setting his team up at the two-yard line.

Four plays later, the Chargers scored to beat their AFC West rivals 30-27 in walk-off fashion. But if Herbert had tossed his pass a little farther, Guyton would have reached the end zone untouched.

“I blacked out,” Guyton said, recalling the play. “All I’m thinking now is I should have scored. We should be on the plane by now. We should have been doing this interview hours ago.”

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The Chargers boarded their plane with their second-consecutive victory because of Guyton, even if he didn’t score. He and receiver Tyron Johnson, who caught his third touchdown pass of the season, posted 152 of Herbert’s 314 yards passing. With star receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams limited because of hamstring and back injuries, respectively, the young pass-catching duo helped carry the Chargers against a struggling Raiders defense.

Justin Herbert punched in the game-winning touchdown to lead the Chargers over the Las Vegas Raiders 30-27 in overtime for their first division win since 2018.

Guyton tied a career high with four catches, and his 91 receiving yards are the most in his two-year career. Johnson’s touchdown marked his second in as many games, and the former practice-squad player finished with 61 yards receiving on three catches.

Rookie K.J. Hill contributed, too, catching all three of his targets for 39 yards. With the experienced core mostly banged up, coach Anthony Lynn said he was pleased with how the young receivers performed.

“A lot of the veteran players we had on a pitch count,” Lynn said. “The second [string] guys stepped up and did a good job.”

Guyton’s clutch reception came as the Chargers trailed the Raiders 27-24 with a little more than three minutes remaining in overtime. Herbert stood in the pocket and delivered the ball against a blitz. Guyton stutter-stepped midway through his route on an inside release and created separation against cornerback Keisean Nixon.

Guyton slowed in order to make the catch, a pass Herbert said he wished had been thrown more in front. Still, the ball traveled nearly 60 yards, according to Next Gen Stats, and Herbert threw while taking a hit.

Johnson had scored just before halftime, breaking a 10-10 tie. The 2019 undrafted free agent from Oklahoma State ran a post-corner route against zone coverage, finding open space between a cornerback and safety for a 26-yard catch in the front of the end zone.

Chargers wide receiver Tyron Johnson, left, celebrates with Jalen Guyton after scoring a first-half touchdown.
Chargers wide receiver Tyron Johnson, left, celebrates with Jalen Guyton after scoring a first-half touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday.
(David Becker / Associated Press)

Both Guyton and Johnson have run the 40-yard dash in about 4.3 seconds and are among the fastest players on the Chargers. At the beginning of the season, coaches mainly utilized that speed for deep threats.

Recently, the duo has begun producing on underneath routes, too. Johnson saw a career-high seven targets Sunday in a win against the Atlanta Falcons, catching six for 55 yards and a 12-yard touchdown. Guyton said they’re seeing opportunities to show their versatility.

“A lot of people have a lot to say about what we do,” said Guyton, who has three touchdowns this season. “Basically, we’re just doing our job for the team — finding our role and doing it. I’ll go deep every play, I’m more than happy to. But at the same time, there’s a whole laundry list of skills that we all bring to the field.”

Justin Herbert’s performance in the Chargers’ overtime victory over the Raiders confirmed he is their franchise quarterback, their identity, their future, writes Helene Elliott.

Johnson said he isn’t surprised by their recent success. In training camp, he and Guyton caught passes from Herbert during second-team drills. There, the group developed a rapport that is now showing because Herbert became the starter and the receivers earned more playing time.

“Every throw that he made that ensured the coaches that he should be in the game, it was to me or [Guyton] or [Hill] — it was to the twos,” Johnson said. “We already had chemistry with him when we were on the sidelines.”

Herbert agreed.

“We got a lot of work together — whether it was after practice, before practice — we spent so much time together,” he said. “I feel so comfortable with those guys going out there.”

A look at the Chargers’ 30-27 overtime win over the Las Vegas Raiders by the numbers.


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