Raiders discussed playing for tie before last-second victory
A tie would have sent the Raiders and Chargers into the postseason. The Raiders’ win instead eliminated the Chargers and allowed the Steelers to sneak into the playoffs.
Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia said he discussed the possibility of playing for a tie as the clock wound down in overtime Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
He never had to make that decision.
Josh Jacobs picked up 10 yards on a third-and-4 play from the Chargers’ 39-yard line with 38 seconds remaining, and Daniel Carlson made a 47-yard field goal as time expired to give the Raiders a 35-32 win and set up an AFC Wild Card game Saturday at Cincinnati.
A tie would have sent the Raiders and Chargers into the postseason. The Raiders’ victory instead eliminated the Chargers and allowed the Steelers to sneak into the playoffs.
Bisaccia said conversations were ongoing about letting the clock run out before Jacobs’ run.
“We were talking about it,” he said. “We ran the ball there, and they didn’t call a timeout. So I think they were thinking the same thing. Then we had the big run, and when we got the big run, it got us in, we thought, advantageous field-goal position. We were willing to take the field goal to try and win it.”
Asked specifically if he would have punted had Jacobs been stopped short on the third-down play, Bisaccia played it coy.
“I don’t know,” he said. “That didn’t happen.”
Once the attempt was less than 50 yards, the risk became worth it to send out Carlson. And the most accurate kicker in franchise history made the kick to ignite a celebration.
It was the third walk-off kick he has made in a season-ending four-game winning streak and his fifth of the season.
Sunday also was the second time this season that Carlson made two field goals in overtime.
The game-winner came at the end of a drive the Raiders didn’t necessarily need.
After a wild fourth quarter to force overtime, Carlson barely sneaked a kick inside the upright to give the Raiders a 32-29 lead.
The Chargers answered with a field-goal drive to tie the game with 4:35 left and both teams fully aware they would make the playoffs should the game end deadlocked.
While social media was rampant with speculation the teams could play it safe and run out the clock, the Raiders opened the ensuing drive with a laser from Derek Carr to Bryan Edwards on the left sideline for 17 yards
Jacobs powered through the line for 7 yards to get the ball just short of midfield before Jalen Richard was tackled for a 5-yard loss on the next play to set up a third-and-8.
Again, the Raiders faced a situation in which they could run the ball and punt to pin the Chargers deep and set up a likely tie.
Instead, Carr found Zay Jones for a first down at the Chargers’ 44-yard line at the two-minute warning.
Jacobs was taken down in the backfield for a loss of 1, and as the clock ticked down, it started to look as if the stalemate was more and more possible.
That’s about the time Bisaccia and his staff were considering playing for just that, particularly when the Chargers decided against calling timeout.
Jacobs picked up 7 yards on the next play and put the Raiders on the outside edge of field-goal range with a decision to make on third down.
This time, the Chargers did call timeout, and the Raiders made a conservative call to hand the ball to Jacobs.
His 10-yard burst put the Raiders well within Carlson’s range.
Nobody on the Raiders’ sideline had any doubt from there.
“We paid him a lot for a reason,” defensive end Maxx Crosby said. “He’s a sniper out there.”
The Raiders would have played at Kansas City had the game ended in a tie.
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