Los Angeles Chargers: 5 Stars from crucial win over Raiders in Week 4

NFL 2022; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) runs the ball against Las Vegas Raiders safety Trevon Moehrig (25) during the first quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
NFL 2022; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) runs the ball against Las Vegas Raiders safety Trevon Moehrig (25) during the first quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Chargers took control of the AFC West with a Monday Night Football win over the Raiders.

If the regular season ended after just four weeks, the Los Angeles Chargers would be the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Of course, that’s not the way things work but, as they now head into Week 5, Brandon Staley’s club earning a victory over the previously undefeated Raiders has them at 3-1 and sitting atop the vaunted AFC West.

What the Chargers did on Monday Night Football was quite impressive. They made Derek Carr and one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL through the first three weeks look pedestrian for much of the game. And when LA had the ball, they made plays in every facet to continuously put pressure on their division rivals and take full control.

This is a huge win for Los Angeles and, though it was always a team effort, these five stars stood out as the biggest contributors to the win on Monday night.

Los Angeles Chargers stars from 28-14 Week 4 win against the Raiders

5. Austin Ekeler, RB

Fantasy managers, in particular, had been waiting for Austin Ekeler to have a big-time breakout game and he delivered in the big spot. In one of the most impactful rushing performances of his career, Ekeler dominated on the ground with 117 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He was elusive but also a rolling boulder that wouldn’t be stopped. For good measure, he also added 28 receiving yards and another touchdown.

If Ekeler is going to run like this, the Chargers might be next to impossible to stop when they have the rock.

4. Drue Tranquill and Kyzir White, LB

Prior to the game, it was announced that former first-round pick Kenneth Murray would be put on IR after getting injured in practice this weekend. That put the pressure on Tranquill and White to step up and replace arguably the best player at the position on the roster and they did just that.

While neither player totally lit up the box score as they notched nine combined tackles between the two of them, they were excellent in coverage and were sure in their gaps and making plays when presented. For a team that needed to shore up the middle against a Raiders offense that can be dangerous there, this duo stepped up.

3. Rashawn Slater, OT

There’s no mistaking the fact that the Chargers made the right call with their first-round pick. Rashawn Slater has been a revelation all season, looking far advanced beyond his years. But going up against Yannick Ngakoue for much of the night, the rookie out of Northwestern stepped up to a big test and aced it. He didn’t let his man get after Justin Herbert almost at all on the night and simply owned the edge. For a franchise that has endured its share of offensive line issues, they have a franchise left tackle now in place.

2. Joey Bosa, EDGE

Just on paper, Joey Bosa — one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers — going up against struggling rookie tackle Alex Leatherwood was a mismatch. However, what Bosa did to the first-round pick was borderline unfair as he consistently dominated off the edge and made life difficult for Derek Carr.

Bosa registered just one sack but also had a forced fumble and lived in the Raiders backfield. It’s no secret that the former top-five pick is one of the best edge rushers in the league but that doesn’t make any fan marvel any less whenever he’s blessed with an advantageous matchup that he can win routinely as he did on Monday night.

1. Justin Herbert, QB

Looking at the box score, this wasn’t Justin Herbert’s best game of his career. After all, he went just 25-of-38 while throwing for only 222 yards, though he did have three touchdowns and no turnovers. But if you watched him play, you saw a second-year player already look like one of the most poised and polished quarterbacks in the league.

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Outside of missing Mike Williams on what would’ve been an easy touchdown in the first half, Herbert made almost no mistakes. He was crisp to every level of the field and consistently made plays when faced with pressure and in clutch moments. As if there was any doubt, Herbert is the truth and this was just more evidence to put in the file to prove as much.