Against most odds, except from the team itself that said it never stopped believing, the Los Angeles Chargers launched a late-game comeback bid that came up just short Sunday night against the Las Vegas Raiders.
A tie would've put both teams in the playoffs after the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 26-11 earlier Sunday. Instead, Daniel Carlson's 47-yard field goal as time expired in overtime lifted the Raiders past the Chargers 35-32 and into the postseason while eliminating their AFC West rivals from playoff contention.
The Chargers missed the postseason for the seventh time in eight seasons.
"I had never been rooting for a tie more in my life," Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert said. "That's the unfortunate part of being so close.''
The second-year quarterback and last season's offensive rookie of the year threw a season-high 64 times, finishing with 383 yards and three touchdowns.
Things had looked dim for a Chargers team trailing 29-14 with 8:23 remaining. But Herbert responded with two fourth-quarter drives that gave the Chargers renewed life.
He capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Josh Palmer on fourth-and-21, cutting their deficit to 29-22. On the ensuing drive after the Raiders went three plays and out, Herbert drove the Chargers down the field with three fourth-down conversions (one via penalty) and found Mike Williams for the game-tying 11-yard score as time expired.
The Chargers had the ball once in overtime, a drive that resulted in a tying 41-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins. Williams nearly had the winning touchdown off a double deflection in the right corner.
The chances for that heightened with the Raiders facing a third-and-4 situation from the Los Angeles 39-yard line with 38 seconds remaining.
In a move that was confusing to many watching, the Chargers called timeout for, what coach Brandon Staley said, was to get the right personnel on the field to prepare for the run.
"We needed to get in the right grouping, we felt like they were going to run the ball, so we wanted to get our best 11 personnel run defense in," he said. "Make that substitution so that we could get a play where we would deepen the field goal."
Instead, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who rushed for a season-high 132 yards and a touchdown, sprinted 10 yards on the next play, setting up Carlson's winning 47-yard field goal as time expired.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.