JR on playoff-less Chargers: 'They've got work to do in the offseason'

Justin Herbert
Photo credit Steve Marcus / Stringer / Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers' hopes of reaching the playoffs were dramatically dashed in primetime on Sunday night, as they lost an overtime thriller to the rival Las Vegas Raiders, 35-32, before a sold-out crowd at Allegiant Stadium. Although both teams could've clinched playoff berths with a tie, crunchtime drama wiped out the all-too-real possibility.

With 39 seconds left in the game, Chargers first-year coach Brandon Staley oddly called timeout, and at that time, it appeared as if the Raiders' offense was prepared to drain the clock and accept a 32-32 draw. But the stoppage prompted Las Vegas to push forward with a walk-off field goal attempt, and Daniel Carlson played the role of hero from 47 yards out as time expired.

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"Realistically, there really shouldn't be a reason why the Chargers aren't in the playoffs, outside of being inconsistent," JR said during the JR SportBrief show on Monday. "They have to upgrade their secondary. They've got work to do in the offseason. Staley, his first season, he did a good job. People are going to kill him all offseason for that timeout and what could've been.

"You know what, that timeout didn't ultimately decide the season. They had 17 games to play, 17 opportunities to go out and win. They went 9-8. Let's not pin it just on a timeout... The Chargers have some room to grow. Maybe we'll see them get into the playoffs... I feel bad for the Chargers. I would've loved to see Justin Herbert in the playoffs."

After the game, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr told NBC's sideline reporter Michele Tafoya that Staley's timeout "definitely" altered the team's approach. Head coach Rich Bisaccia later told reporters that their third-down conversion set them up in "advantageous field-goal position," and they were prepared to win the game. As for Staley, he stood by his questionable timeout, explaining that he didn't like the Chargers' personnel on 3rd-and-4 from the 39.

The high-stakes tension shrouded an impressive performance from Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. The second-year starter threw a season-high 64 times, finishing with 383 yards, three touchdowns, and one pick. Los Angeles trailed by 15 points midway through the fourth quarter, and it was Herbert who orchestrated a pair of clutch, season-saving drives to force a fifth period.

JR's complete thoughts on the Raiders-Chargers finish can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the JR SportBrief show on Twitter @JRSportBrief and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.