The Las Vegas Raiders managed to punch their ticket to the Wild Card round after beating the Los Angeles Chargers in what should be considered the game of the year for the 2021 season.
A tie between the Raiders and the Chargers would have resulted in both teams making the NFL playoffs, but the former made sure to outright win and keep a rival out of the postseason. Despite Justin Herbert’s heroics to force overtime, Las Vegas ultimately did enough to pull out the victory and now find themselves in a position to possibly make a Super Bowl run.
One reason why the Raiders were able to win was because they saw the return of Darren Waller, who had missed time due to back and knee injuries. Although he only contributed two receptions for 22 yards, having Waller back on the field helped open up the rest of the offense.
Waller is expected to play in the Wild Card against the Cincinnati Bengals, and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said he has looked better in practice this week compared to last week.
“Well, I think he’s had a better week than he had previously, and today we gave him a couple of more reps in each of the red zone periods and a couple more reps in each of the field periods today,” Bisaccia said. “And so again, we’ll see what his soreness level is tomorrow. But he looked better this week than he did a week ago, so hopefully it’ll show up in the game.”
A healthier Waller would be a massive boost for the Silver and Black when they take on a Bengals team that blew them out 32-13 back in Week 11. Although Las Vegas was thoroughly outplayed, Waller carved Cincinnati up for seven receptions and 116 yards. Hopefully, the star tight end can replicate that performance and lead the Raiders to a victory.