As it turns out, a lightning delay before the Raiders’ Monday night game against the Chargers was indeed a bad omen for Las Vegas.
After sitting in the locker room longer than anticipated, coach Jon Gruden’s offense was a no-show in the first half, earning just one first down, and the Raiders fell behind 21-0 by halftime at SoFi Stadium. A third-quarter comeback made the game interesting, but Las Vegas came up short on a few big plays in crunch time and lost its first game of the season, 28-14.
Some Raiders performed better than others, however. Here are this week’s winners and losers after the Chargers pulled even with the Raiders at 3-1 in the AFC West.
In the first half, there wasn’t much to cheer about for any of the Raiders’ playmakers. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow had to make his impact felt on special teams, at least initially.
With the Raiders down 7-0 in the first quarter, the Raiders defense forced a punt. The Chargers opted for a fake, but Renfrow was ready to stop the effort dead in its tracks.
— Madden NFL 22 (@EAMaddenNFL) October 5, 2021
That’s impressive stuff from the Raiders’ slot receiver. Plus, Renfrow caught quarterback Derek Carr’s first touchdown of the day. Renfrow ran his patented custom “flat-china” route, adding to its growing legend before a national audience. Despite the Raiders’ loss, Renfrow is more of a household name than ever.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) October 5, 2021
The Raiders’ prolific pass rush took a while to make an impact in the game, but as the night wore on, Chargers QB Justin Herbert felt the heat. Defensive tackle Darius Philon turned up the temperature first, with a first-quarter sack that set up Renfrow’s big hit on special teams.
Philon ended up with two sacks on the evening, earning his second QB take-down in crunch time. He also had two quarterback hits, adding to a total of seven for the Raiders defense. All in all, It was an impressive showing for the first-year Raiders lineman, and Philon probably didn’t mind that his big day came against his former team.
Cornerback Amik Robertson was pressed into duty after multiple Raiders cornerbacks were ruled out due to injury. The Chargers didn’t challenge him much, but Robertson didn’t get embarrassed on the evening against Los Angeles’ potent WR group.
What’s more, he looked as comfortable as one could expect from a second-year pro who lacks quality experience. Robertson had seven tackles, including six solo stops after cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette went down. Nickel corner Nate Hobbs was also evaluated for a concussion, and CB Casey Hayward Jr. missed time on the field, too.