LAS VEGAS (AP) — Four days was all the Las Vegas Raiders had to recover from their worst performance of the season.
They made the most of their time.
The Raiders turned in their best performance of the season Thursday night, responding to Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Minnesota by scoring 42 points by halftime, not letting the Los Angeles Chargers cross midfield until the third quarter and rolling to a record-setting 63-21 victory.
“We were kicking (butt),” said Raiders cornerback Jack Jones, who returned an interception for a touchdown.
The Raiders set a franchise scoring record, topping the team’s 59-14 victory at Denver on Oct. 24, 2010. It was the most points allowed by the Chargers, who gave up 57 to the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 1, 2000.
“We knew at halftime what the record was,” Las Vegas interim coach Antonio Pierce said. “We want to be aggressive regardless of what the score was. If we had 21 or 10, we were going to be aggressive. That was our mindset.”
The Raiders led 42-0 at halftime, just three points shy of the NFL record for halftime that was set in 2009 when New England led Tennessee 45-0. The 42-point margin has been matched two other times — by Green Bay over Chicago in 2014 and the Packers over Tampa Bay in 1983. Las Vegas also broke its previous record for a half, which was 38 against the Broncos in that 2010 game.
The halftime deficit was the biggest in Chargers history. They trailed the Patriots 31-0 in 1997.
“We got our (butts) kicked,” Los Angeles running back Austin Ekeler said. “That’s all I got for you.”
It was a stunning turnaround for the Raiders (6-8), who gave up only a field goal Sunday against Minnesota but still lost, amassing 202 yards. Las Vegas had 283 yards by halftime against the Chargers (5-9). The Raiders led 63-7 before two late touchdowns for LA.
“It shows the resilience we have as a group,” said Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, who caught eight passes for 101 yards and a TD, his first 100-yard game since Week 3 against Pittsburgh. “You can easily let something like that get in your head and throw off the rest of the season. To bounce back in just a short amount of time in front of you, that’s the type of response we’re going to need.”
Aidan O’Connell threw all four of his touchdown passes in the first half, and he finished with 248 yards passing.
Las Vegas’ defense scored second-half touchdowns on a fumble recovery and interception, the first time the Raiders scored two defensive TDs since 2006 against the Steelers.
Los Angeles quarterback Easton Stick, making his first start in place of the injured Justin Herbert, completed 23 of 32 passes for 257 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception.
The heat figures to be turned up on Chargers coach Brandon Staley after his team got blown out by a team that was on a three-game losing streak. Los Angeles has lost five of six games.
The Chargers were sloppy, turning the ball over three times in the first half. Each led to a Raiders touchdown.
“We just didn’t have a good game tonight,” Staley said. “We didn’t have it from the beginning to the end. It’s just one of those games where nothing went right for us. We got a good group of guys, but it was just one of those games where all three phases, the worst thing happened to us tonight. It’s a reflection of all of us.”
Las Vegas was comfortable enough to run three successive gadget plays at one point in the second quarter. Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers completed a pass to Adams, receiver Tre Tucker was given the ball on a running play and then Brandon Bolden scored on a 26-yard run out of the wildcat formation. It was his first touchdown since late in the 2021 season.
To open the second half, Meyers hooked up with Adams again, this time on a 3-yard touchdown pass for a 49-0 lead.
Maybe Myers is going after O’Connell’s job?
“Hey, he better be on it because I’m coming,” Meyers said, jokingly.
Los Angeles finally broke through on its next possession when Stick found Joshua Palmer for a 79-yard touchdown. That was the first time the Chargers made it past the 50.
Chargers: WR Keenan Allen (heel) did not play. LB Kenneth Murray Jr. (shoulder) went out in the second quarter, but returned. CB Essang Bassey left with a concussion and C/G Will Clapp with a knee injury.
Raiders: RB Josh Jacobs (quadriceps), LT Kolton Miller (shoulder) and C Andre James (ankle) did not play. LB Divine Deablo suffered an ankle injury.
Chargers: Host Buffalo on Dec. 23.
Raiders: At AFC West rival Kansas City on Christmas Day.
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