Las Vegas Raiders Make Playoffs With Wild OT Win

Raiders' QB Derek Carr in 2017.
Raiders' QB Derek Carr in 2017. Photo by Manny Flores/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

The 2021 NFL regular season officially wrapped up on Sunday with one of the most thrilling finishes in recent memory. This was primarily thanks to the Sunday Night Football game between Las Vegas Riders and Los Angeles Chargers that determined the last two playoff slots in AFC.

The Raiders and the Chargers both had chances to make the postseason if they played a tie. However, a win for one team would mean that the other team will stay home, and the Pittsburgh Steelers would get the last spot. The Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the day to improve to a 9-7-1 record.

Las Vegas, gunning for their first playoff appearance since 2016, were a much better team for the majority of the game and it seemed that they had the game locked up early in the fourth. They opened the period with a touchdown and a field goal to go up 29-14 while the Chargers looked helpless and unable to get their offense going.

However, just as the Steelers were preparing to celebrate, the Chargers found a way back into the game. Second-year quarterback Justin Herbert first led his team 75 yards down the field and threw a touchdown pass to wideout Joshua Palmer. He then found running back Austin Ekeler in the endzone to make a successful two-point conversion.

After the Chargers’ defense managed to get the ball back, Herbert once again embarked on a lengthy drive that was capped with a TD pass to Mike Williams as the clock was reaching zero.

The Raiders got the ball first in overtime and moved the ball well enough to set up a 40-yard field goal for Daniel Carlson that put them in the lead. The Chargers responded with a field goal of their own to get the score even again.

At this point, it seemed that the most improbable outcome will end up happening and that the two teams will play a tie, which will leave the Steelers out of the postseason. But the Raiders got the ball once again and were not in the charity mood. They advanced to the Chargers’ territory and gave their kicker a chance to win the whole thing from 46 yards as the time was expiring. Carlson came through to leave Chargers empty-handed and launch celebrations in Las Vegas and Pittsburgh.