INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Just when you thought the Los Angeles Chargers had exhausted all the ways to lose a game, they came up with a new one in Sunday's 31-26 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium.
Down by five points with one last gasp and one second on the clock, tight end Donald Parham Jr. appeared to catch the ball in the end zone -- he was single covered by the Raiders' Isaiah Johnson on the right side of the field -- but then came the official ruling: He didn’t have control.
It was a stunning loss (haven’t they all been?), especially because rookie quarterback Justin Herbert had valiantly led his team from its own 25-yard line all the way to the 4, but couldn't get them in the end zone. The play before Parham's non-touchdown, Herbert threw a beautiful fade to Mike Williams in the corner of the end zone, which Williams caught but eventually had jarred away by Johnson.
Herbert had led the Chargers back from a 28-17 deficit (a change from the norm of the Chargers squandering double digits) to within two points at 28-26 after throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Nabers with 9:04 left. Herbert was shaken up on the play and the Chargers chose to have Tyrod Taylor, the QB who was injured by an errant pain-killing shot that collapsed his lung before the second game, come in for the score-tying 2-point conversion instead of taking a timeout and having Herbert return. Taylor came in and tried to run the ball in for the 2-point conversion, but was stopped short.
As were the Chargers. Again, as they've now lost six games by a combined 24 points.
The QB is OK: Herbert's injury, which came as he was hit as he threw the ball to Nabers, didn't appear to be serious, as he was back in the game on the Chargers' next series.
Banged-up Bulaga: Tackle Bryan Bulaga left the game with an injury to his back. He had just returned after aggressively rehabbing his back and said he had been feeling good. It’s a big loss to the Chargers' offensive line, which just can't get back to full strength.
Receiver production: Big-target Williams had five receptions for 81 yards, while Keenan Allen had nine for 103 and a 27-yard touchdown. But Williams couldn't come up with the touchdown on the second-to-last play and Allen wasn't targeted when the game was in the balance.