Undefeated Raiders pose unique challenge for Bolts

ALL THE LOVE- Chargers head coach Brandon Staley embraces quarterback Justin Herbert after the big victory over Kansas City. Now the Raiders Nation invade SoFi Stadium for a Monday Night prime time encounter against the Bolts. (Chargers Photo)

Fresh off the most impressive victory during the Justin Herbert era, the Chargers return home to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood seeking their first home win against undefeated West Division rival Las Vegas Raiders on ESPN Monday Night Football.

In achieving their best offensive output during the season, the Chargers led by quarterback Herbert toppled the Super Bowl candidate Chiefs 30-24 in one of the most difficult environments to win, on the road at Arrowhead Stadium.

Head coach Brandon Staley reaped praise on his franchise signal call during an appearance on the Colin Cowherd show.

“The number one storyline is that I really trust Justin Herbert. I felt like our matchups were good outside. I wanted Justin to be the decider in the game that’s what was really important to me. I feel like what you can’t do against [the Chiefs] is be a field goal operation…I felt like Justin having the ball in his hands would give us the best chance to win the game, not just compete in the game…I still felt like at 4th-and-9, in my mind we were still going. I felt like Justin operated exactly how I knew he would and I felt like he was the best player on the field.”

Herbert, who has thrown for 956 yards and 6 touchdowns, will have to be even better against the Raiders who are 3-0 on the season and lead the West with Denver (3-0). The Chargers are 2-1 and 1-0 in the division.

The Raiders are led by the top quarterback in the NFL in Derek Carr who has passed for 1,203 yards and 6 touchdowns against just two INTs.

These Jon Gruden Raiders are assembled like your Al Davis Raiders, speed on the outside to stretch the field and power on the inside with a gifted tight end.

Staley pointed out the unique skill set of players the Raiders unleash such as Carr, who is an understated thrower with a rapid release, pinpoint accuracy and the gentle drop touch downfield.

The Bolts will have to contend with receiver Henry Ruggs III and the freakish tight end Darren Waller who has caught 20 passes for 224 yards with an average of 11.2 per catch. Gruden hails him as the best player he’s ever coached.

Offensive penalties have nearly cost the Chargers two games. Dallas beat them at home because of illegal procedure and the Chiefs could have done the same, but failed to cash in.

Running back Austin Ekeler has been steady, 166 yards and a touchdown, but it has been the startling play of receiver Mike Williams that has won the free agent to be rave reviews.

Williams is among the top 6 receivers in the NFL with 295 yards in receptions and 4 touchdowns with an average of 13.4 yards per catch.

Money Mike will need to keep rolling if the Bolts are to survive Raiders Nation and the team that walked away from the same stadium deal, they accepted.


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