The long-awaited Week 1 showdown of AFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers & the Las Vegas Raiders finally arrived. One team showed up to Sofi Stadium a bit more prepared than the other.
The hotly discussed rematch between the Chargers and Raiders ended Sunday afternoon in a 24-19 victory for the Chargers. The Raiders famously knocked the Chargers out of playoff contention in Week 18 of 2021 and it was clear that Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was anxious to get another shot at the Silver and Black.
"“I know personally, I’ve been thinking about this one for the past six or seven months, however long it’s been. I know that everyone else has as well.”"
Derek Carr outshined by Justin Herbert in early AFC West duel
Herbert finished the afternoon completing 26 passes out of 34 attempts for 279 passing yards throwing three touchdowns. Herbert also did not fumble the ball or throw any interceptions. Herbert spread the ball around the field nicely, not having any primary target but allotted between 2-4 targets for 9 different receivers.
The stat line for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was not so impressive. Carr completed 22 receptions on 37 attempts, threw for 295 yards, and finished with two touchdowns. Carr, unfortunately, fumbled the ball twice and threw three interceptions. Carr was also sacked five times with nine QB hits while Herbert finished the game untouched with 0 sacks and 3 QB hits. Carr is no stranger to interceptions but throwing that many so early in the season is new.
Carr spread the ball around but as predicted he favored his newest weapon, Davante Adams. Adams led the team with 17 targets, and 10 receptions for 141 yards with one touchdown. The next closest receiver was tight end Darren Waller with 4 receptions on 6 targets for 79 yards.
Carr spoke to the media after the game and had this to say:
"“I was way too aggressive. I came in with a very aggressive mindset, especially with all the weapons we have. That’s on me. That’s decisions and being too aggressive in certain moments.”"
The fear coming into the 2022 season was that the Raiders could take in all the media attention and hype and let it take over their mental state of mind. While that may not be the case the other fear was that Carr may try to force the ball on his former college teammate, Davante Adams. That was the case with one interception that was an intended deep pass to Adams who was in double coverage and it was picked off by Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.
The poor offensive line play was definitely a factor in Derek Carr’s poor performance. The line allowed an immense amount of pressure where Carr was effectively hit 14 times, five of which were sacks that resulted in two fumbles. Despite Carr not having enough time to throw the ball or let plays develop he still had some off-target throws and threw the ball when the defense showed coverages he should have recognized himself.
The reality of the situation is that the Chargers were better on the field in almost every facet of the game. Their roster is superior in most if not all positions and the Raiders are not as evenly fortified. The team is only 0-1 but in the AFC West, especially every single game matters.
Derek Carr and the Raiders have a chance to right the ship next Sunday (4:25 ET) at home in Las Vegas against the Arizona Cardinals.