One of the most exciting games from the last NFL season game in Week 18 was when the Las Vegas Raiders hosted the Los Angeles Chargers in a game that decided the playoff fate for both teams. The Raiders got off to a strong start, carrying a 29–14 lead with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Chargers came roaring back due to the efforts of quarterback Justin Herbert and forced overtime.
This is when things got dicey for Los Angeles. The Raiders were able to get a stop and then marched down the field. Had the game ended in a tie, both teams would’ve been sent to the playoffs. The Raiders would’ve likely taken a tie at the point just to ensure a playoff berth. However, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley called a timeout during the Raiders’ drive that gave them extra time to run another play that put them in easy field goal range for Daniel Carlson, who ended up hitting the game-winner.
Staley was crushed online for the decision to call the timeout. At the time, he explained that he called the timeout to try and help put his defense in the best position to stop running back Josh Jacobs. That clearly didn’t work and only helped give the Raiders extra time. Despite the pushback, Staley still doesn’t think he did anything wrong and doesn’t understand why it’s still a talking point.
“I’m not sure why that [got] magnified,” Staley said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Staley has been criticized for acting like he’s the smartest guy in the room. The fact that he still doesn’t see the issue with calling the timeout means that he hasn’t learned much from his rookie year as a head coach.
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Staley Not Over Raiders Loss
The Chargers had one of the best rosters in the NFL last season but were only able to muster nine wins. Had they got into the playoffs, it’s possible that they could’ve caught fire and gone on a run. All they had to do was at least tie with the Raiders – a team that was led by an interim head coach.
The Week 18 loss to Las Vegas still sticks with Staley right now.
“Even though I hate the way it ended, and it’s stayed with me ever since I started walking across the field after that kid made that kick, you can live with it because I know how our team competed, and I know where we’re headed,” Staley told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “I think walking across that field, that’s what I was thinking about—where I need to go with my game, where we need to go as a team. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about ever since.”
Have Chargers Surpassed Raiders?
There’s no denying that the Chargers roster is stacked. They might have the most talented roster in the NFL. However, Staley is still a big variable as head coach. He’s young and made a lot of mistakes last season. The Chargers are almost always talented but are often held back by poor coaching.
The Raiders have a new head coach in Josh McDaniels but he’s much more experienced than Staley and has been the head guy before. Many are ready to proclaim the Chargers as the better team than the Raiders but Staley is going to have to prove a lot before that can be considered true.