Chargers lose heartbreaker to Raiders when last-second TD overturned – Press Enterprise
INGLEWOOD — Ironically, the Chargers improved their play when the Las Vegas Raiders took a double-digit lead in the third quarter Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
The Chargers didn’t have much success holding 10-point leads in the past month. Perhaps playing from behind was what they needed to restore order.
But the closer the Chargers got, the more they reverted to bad habits. A muffed punt from K.J. Hill stopped the Chargers’ momentum in the fourth quarter.
It was again up to rookie quarterback Justin Herbert to save the day. This time, he wasn’t on the sideline watching as the Chargers’ defense struggled to get a crunch-time stop like they did in Denver and New Orleans.
Herbert had one second left in regulation to steal the game. He threw it up to 6-foot-8 tight end Donald Parham Jr. in the end zone. The Chargers thought they had a comeback victory, but the officials determined Parham didn’t have possession. The Raiders celebrated a 31-26 victory, as the Chargers felt another stinging loss. They dropped to 2-6 on the season.
It doesn’t matter if they play from behind or ahead — halfway through the season — Anthony Lynn’s squad still hasn’t found a closer’s mentality or killer instinct.
Melvin Ingram stood in front of his defensive teammates as they sat on the bench after allowing the Raiders to gash them on the ground with a lengthy scoring drive in the second quarter.
Ingram, the Chargers’ most vocal captain, attempted to inspire his teammates while they caught their breath. The energetic pass rusher refused to take a seat and circled back to his teammates multiple times to shout words of encouragement.
Ingram’s passionate speech wasn’t enough of a push for Gus Bradley’s defense. The Chargers had more of the same from the previous four games. They allowed 28 points or more for the fifth consecutive game.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr only had 44 passing yards in the first half. He surpassed that on his second throw of the third quarter after connecting with wide receiver Nelson Agholor for a 45-yard touchdown. The Raiders retook the lead 21-17 with 13:18 left in the third quarter.
Carr had a 53-yard pass to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow on the following drive. The Raiders extended their lead 28-17 after Carr’s 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darren Waller with 7:49 in the third quarter. Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward was beat on the long passes to Agholor and Renfrow.
The Chargers received a spark from running back Kalen Ballage, who was promoted from the practice squad this week. Ballage was involved early because Justin Jackson sustained a right knee injury on the opening play.
Ballaga finished the Chargers’ first scoring drive with a 5-yard run on fourth-and-1 to tie the score 7-7 with 13:24 in the second quarter. Jackson returned to the game late in the second quarter. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga sustained a back injury on the Chargers’ first drive.
The Raiders had plenty of success on the ground versus the Chargers’ defense. The Raiders entered halftime with 97 rushing yards. Running backs Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker each had a rushing touchdown for the Raiders in the first half.
Herbert connected with Keenan Allen for a 21-yard touchdown to tie the score 14-14 with 19 seconds left in the first half. Two plays later, Chargers defensive tackle Jerry Tillery had a strip sack and recovered Carr’s fumble. The Chargers took advantage of the takeaway and received a 45-yard field goal from Michael Badgley to take a 17-14 halftime lead.
The Chargers were the first team to score 10 points in the final 20 seconds of the first half since 2008.
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