Derek Carr threw a pair of touchdown passes to Hunter Renfrow and Daniel Carlson kicked the last of his five field goals as time expired in overtime as the Las Vegas Raiders clinched the final spot in the NFL playoff field by holding on for a 35-32 victory Sunday night over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers.
Carr went 20-of-36 passing for 186 yards as Las Vegas (10-7) won its last four games to earn a trip to Cincinnati for a wild-card round game Saturday.
Adding to the drama was that a tie game would have put both teams in the playoffs. Instead, the Raiders' victory eliminated the Chargers and allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to make the playoff field.
Carlson kicked a 40-yard field goal on the first possession of OT to give the Raiders a 32-29 lead, with the Chargers tying the game 32-all on a 41-yard kick from Dustin Hopkins with 4:30 remaining in the extra period. Carlson won it on a 47-yarder on the final play of OT as the Raiders advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert completed 34 of 64 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Austin Ekeler had a rushing and receiving TD for the Chargers (9-8), while Mike Williams had nine catches for 119 yards.
The Raiders appeared to be in control when they took a 29-14 lead with 8:29 remaining after a 52-yard field goal by Carlson, which followed a 2-yard TD catch from Renfrow in the opening minute of the final quarter.
But the Chargers forced overtime after a 23-yard TD catch from Joshua Palmer on fourth down with 4:28 remaining, plus a 2-point conversion, and a TD catch from Mike Williams on the final play of regulation to cap a 19-play, 83-yard drive.
The Raiders burst out to a 10-0 lead less than 12 minutes into the game on a Carlson field goal and a 12-yard touchdown reception by Renfrow.
The Chargers' answer came in the form of two second-quarter TDs from Ekeler, the first on a 14-yard run and the second on a 14-yard reception from Herbert to take a 14-10 lead 1:52 before halftime.
The Raiders got a Josh Jacobs 1-yard TD run with 37 seconds remaining before the break to take a 17-14 advantage.
--Field Level Media