The Las Vegas Raiders suffered yet another crushing loss after falling short against the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime in Week 15.
Although the Raiders blew any chance they had at controlling their playoff destiny by losing three out of their last four, tight end Darren Waller continues to perform at an elite level.
Waller enjoyed another monster performance with nine catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. It seems it was one that almost did not happen.
Waller revealed that he dedicated the performance to former Baltimore Ravens teammate and friend Lorenzo Taliaferro, who passed away less than a day before kickoff, via Levi Edwards of the team’s official website:
“To be real, I didn’t even feel like playing tonight honestly,” Waller said. “I had no juice today. I thank God and the people that support me for speaking life into me today, and telling me to go out and play and represent him and to have him on my mind while I was playing.”
“I feel like him and his presence and what his time on the earth meant to me is what motivating me to play football with a sense of urgency.”
Waller’s comments are certainly understandable considering there are so many things that are bigger than football. Rather than opting to mourn on the sidelines, he was able to pay homage to his late friend with another impressive outing.
Waller’s presence helped serve as a stabilizing factor for quarterback Marcus Mariota after Derek Carr went down in the first quarter. His ability to produce regardless of who is under center is indicative of just how important he is to this offense.
The tight end is enjoying a productive year with 93 catches for 967 yards and eight touchdowns with two games still left in the season. His efforts have helped him become the second-leading vote-getter at tight end behind none other than the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.
While the Raiders are in the midst of another second-half collapse this season, Waller has managed to kick things up a notch despite the circumstances. He was already a matchup nightmare before, but the added sense of urgency has seemingly helped him kick things up a notch.