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Raiders slip by Chargers, advance to playoffs

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Raiders slip by Chargers, advance to playoffs
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr completed 20 of 36 passes for 186 yards and two scores in a win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in Paradise, Nev. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Daniel Carlson connected for a 47-yard field goal as time expired to lead the Las Vegas Raiders to a win over the Los Angeles Chargers, helping the franchise clinch a playoff spot for just the second time since 2002.

Carlson made 5 of 5 field goal attempts in the 35-32 overtime victory Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nev. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs ran for 132 yards and a score on 26 carries.

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Quarterback Derek Carr completed 20 of 36 passes for 186 yards and two scores. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert completed 34 of 64 attempts for 383 yards, three scores and one interception.

The Raiders advanced to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The Chargers, who would have advanced with a win or a tie, were eliminated from playoff contention.

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"I just have this weird feeling in my heart that the job's not done," Carr told reporters. "Like my favorite player Kobe Bryant said: 'Job's not done.'

"I didn't set out to just make the playoffs. That was one of [our goals], but there's more after that too."

The game featured 776 total yards and 51 first downs. Chargers running back Austin Ekeler totaled 99 yards from scrimmage and two scores in the loss.

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"We had to have this game and we just couldn't quite finish it out," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. "This team laid it on the line. This was a great example of how we've played all season. ... I hate it for this team that we are not in the tournament because I feel like we're good enough."

Carlson made a 24-yard kick on the Raiders first drive of the night. Carr threw a 12-yard touchdown toss to Hunter Renfrow about seven minutes later for a 10-0 Raiders lead. The Chargers answered with touchdowns on each of their next two drives.

Ekeler cut the Raiders lead to 10-7 with a 14-yard run 2:18 into the second quarter. Herbert threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Ekeler less than two minutes before halftime.

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Jacobs answered with a 1-yard run on the next drive to give the Raiders a 17-14 lead at halftime.

Chargers kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 51-yard field goal to start the second half. Carlson made a 31-yard attempt midway through the third quarter to push the Raiders lead to six points. Carr then connected with Renfrow for a 2-yard score and the Raiders took a 26-14 lead 46 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Raiders cornerback Casey Hayward intercepted Herbert on the next Chargers drive. Carlson turned the turnover into points with a 52-yard field goal about five minutes later.

Herbert then rallied the Chargers and forced overtime with touchdowns passes on his final two drives of regulation. He threw a 23-yard toss to Joshua Palmer for the first score with 4:28 remaining. He followed that score with a two-point conversion pass to Ekeler, cutting the deficit to seven points.

The Chargers put together a 19-play, 83-yard drive on the final possession of regulation. They converted three times on fourth down as part of that drive. Herbert threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams as time expired and Hopkins made the extra point to force overtime.

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Carlson made a 40-yard field goal on the Raiders first drive of overtime, but Hopkins answered with a 41-yard kick on the next possession.

The Raiders marched past the 50-yard line again on their next drive. They appeared satisfied with running the clock out, taking a tie and sending both teams to the playoffs, before Chargers coach Brandon Staley called a timeout. Jacobs ran for 10 yards on the next play to get the ball to the Chargers 29-yard line.

Carlson then kicked the ball just inside the right goal post to send the Raiders to the playoffs.

"It didn't go our way and that's the unfortunate part," Herbert said. "I'm really proud of the way that everyone has battled this year and we never gave up.

"It's an honor to be a part of this team and to be a part of that locker room because everyone cares a lot and they left everything out there on the field."

The Raiders (10-7) face the Bengals (10-7) at 4:30 p.m. EST Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Chargers finished the season with a 9-8 record.

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