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10 Insights: Primetime Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler Approaching 20 TDs and More


Below are 10 quick-hitting insights ahead of the Chargers' Week 18 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders:

1) Justin Herbert (4,631) and the Raiders' Derek Carr (4,318) enter Week 18 with the third- and fourth-most passing yards in the NFL, separated by just 13 yards. Herbert set the Chargers' single-season passing touchdowns record last Sunday against the Broncos with 35. He's tied with Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes for the third-most in the NFL entering the final week of the regular season. 

2) Herbert can set the franchise's single-season completions record (438) with 29 against the Raiders. A 300-yard performance on Sunday night would give Herbert nine this season, another team record. 

3) In five career primetime contests, Herbert is 119-of-183 for 1,418 yards, 16 total touchdowns and two interceptions with a passer rating of 109.5. The Chargers are 3-2 in those games.

4) Los Angeles' first-ever game in Las Vegas last season resulted in a 30-27 overtime win in Week 15. Herbert threw for 314 yards and a pair of touchdowns before his one-yard, game-winning score in OT.

5) Two more scrimmage touchdowns on Sunday night would give running back Austin Ekeler 20 on the season. He'd join Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson as the only two players in franchise history to reach that number. 

6) Ekeler could also become just the fourth player in the last five seasons with 20-plus touchdowns, per NFL Media Research (the Rams' Todd Gurley, 2018; New Orleans' Alvin Kamara, 2020; and Indianapolis' Jonathan Taylor, 2021).

7) Wide receiver Keenan Allen needs five catches Sunday to break his own franchise single-season record for receptions (currently 104). Allen is also eight catches away from passing Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson's 731 (ninth in league history), per NFL Media Research.

8) Sunday night will be the second primetime game between these two teams. After jumping out to a 21-0 lead in Week 4 on "Monday Night Football," safety Derwin James Jr.'s fourth-quarter interception sealed a 28-14 Chargers victory. Ekeler rushed for a career-high 117 yards and scored two touchdowns. 

9) There have been six "win or go home" games on the final week of the regular season since "Sunday Night Football" began in 2006, per NFL Media Research. The Chargers played in the first: a 52-21 win over the Broncos to capture the AFC West in 2008.

10) Week 18 is the closest thing to a playoff game for the Chargers and Raiders. They've met just once in the postseason: a 34-27 Raiders win in the AFC Championship on Jan. 11, 1981.

*Stats and information courtesy of Pro Football Reference and Chargers Communications unless otherwise noted.

Check out the best photos from the Chargers Thursday practice at Hoag Performance Center.

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