As I’m writing this, the Raiders just kicked a game-winning field goal as overtime expired to advance to the playoffs and knock the Chargers out. I, as a Charger fan, am obviously upset. The team made an insane 14-point comeback in the 4th, tied the game at the end of regulation with 0:00 on the clock, and then matched the Raiders once in OT with a field goal before ultimately losing.
Brandon Staley’s time-out with 30 seconds left when it looked like the Raiders were going to settle for a tie that would’ve sent both teams to the playoffs will be talked about until next season, or maybe even beyond that. But, to help cope with the sadness I feel right now as a Chargers fan, I just want to discuss the crazy plays and moments in this game that remind me why sports are one of the best things on Earth.
Let’s just start with the crazy game-tying drive at the end of regulation by the Chargers. It was the ultimate 2-minute drill because they used every last second. To start off, 3 incomplete passes. 4th & 10. Game on the line. Justin Herbert throws a dart. Game keeps going. Fast forward, another 4th down. The Chargers are on OAK’s side of the field. Herbert throws an absolute laser right to Mike Williams in the middle of the field. The Chargers stay alive again. Now, a couple plays later. 2 seconds left. Down 7. In the red zone. One play to decide whether the season ends or goes on into OT. You couldn’t write a better script for this.
Herbert finds Mike Williams yet again (who was basically double covered by the way) in the end zone. Caught. Touchdown. Hopkins PAT good. Tie Game. Overtime. At this moment I went crazy. They had done it. They came back, there would be overtime. There was life. I jumped up and down multiple times, and of course had to go trash talk my friends who had said the game was over after the Chargers went down 14.
Overtime was just as entertaining. The field goal by the Raiders, the Chargers 4th down conversion to stay alive and to later get their own FG. All leading to the aforementioned infamous timeout by Chargers coach Brandon Staley that flipped the switch for the Raiders, and got them to commit to convert on a 3rd & 8 and win the game on a field goal. Just an absolute rollercoaster of emotions for both teams’ fans and Steelers fans (the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs if the game ended in a tie, for those who didn’t know).
But all this is why sports, and high stakes games specifically, are simply the best. You trash talk with your friends, you get your family who doesn’t even watch football that much engaged with you. It’s just a great distraction from the crazy world we live in and is a great thing for people to dive into and commit to.
And, oh yea, don’t forget, we still have the entire NFL playoffs to look forward to. Including the Raiders who everyone just saw going to Cincinnati to face the Bengals, and the Steelers going to Kansas City to face the monster that is the Chiefs. It was painful to see my team lose but, you can’t be too mad at all the drama that unfolded. Bolt nation will be back next year, better than ever. But, we will have to see what craziness unfolds in the final month of this season first.