The Chargers are now 6-6 after a tough 27-20 road loss to the Raiders.
Here are five takeaways from Week 13 in Las Vegas:
1. Bolts doomed by 3rd-quarter woes
The Chargers started hot — and thrived late — in Week 13, but the overall effort wasn't enough to come away with a win.
But if you're searching for a reason the Chargers are now 6-6, look no further than the third quarter.
"The third quarter was where the game was decided today," said Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley.
Derwin James, Jr. added: "Third quarter, we didn't execute on both sides of the ball … it was a changing point in the game."
Leading 13-10 at the break, the Chargers had a chance to add to their lead coming out of the half.
But their opening drive of the season half lasted just two plays before Austin Ekeler fumbled on a screen pass.
The Raiders needed just one play to score on a 31-yard touchdown pass and take a lead they wouldn't give up.
"I'm thinking about the way I played, that's what I can control. I need to do my job and make more plays for this team," Ekeler said. "I've grown into that role and I need to make sure I'm fulfilling my role. I'm disappointed in myself and need to play better."
The Bolts put together a lengthy drive on their next possession but came away empty-handed when Cameron Dicker pushed a 52-yard field goal wide. It was the first miss of his career.
The Raiders pounced on the miss, needing just two plays to score this time and stretch their lead to 24-13. Davante Adams scored both touchdowns, the second coming on a flea flicker.
Looking for a rebound, the Bolts managed just a four-play drive before punting. And although the Raiders didn't score before the end of the third quarter, their series ended in a field goal and took nearly nine minutes off the clock.
"Two big passes and give credit to them," Staley said of the third quarter when the Bolts were outscored 14-0.
2. Callahan, defense start hot
The Bolts defense came to play to open the game as they shut down the Raiders on their first four possessions of the game.
"We were just coming out attacking," said cornerback Bryce Callahan. "We had a mindset that we were going to be aggressive and go this way with this team. That's kind of what we did in the beginning."
After forcing a three-and-out to open the game, the Bolts then forced their first turnover of the contest. Kenneth Murray, Jr., ripped the ball away from Josh Jacobs before it was recovered by Kyle Van Noy.
Another turnover followed, and this one led to points as Callahan picked off Derek Carr on a deflected pass and raced 26 yards for a touchdown.
Callahan credited Asante Samuel, Jr., for breaking up the pass that landed right in his hands.
"Oh yeah, that was all Zont, No. 26," Callahan said. "I want to thank him for that because it was my first one of my career. Wouldn't have got it without him. I'm giving all credit to him. I just had an easy little [score]."
The Bolts would force a punt on the Raiders fourth possession, as Las Vegas gained just 47 yards on their first 13 offensive plays.
The missed chances allowed the Raiders to hang in the game and get running back Josh Jacobs going. He finished with 144 rushing yards and a score.
"I thought we played well early but missed some tackles in the second half," Staley said. "What he does is force people to miss."
3. Herbert under pressure
The Bolts rolled out their sixth starting offensive line combination in Week 13.
Will Clapp started at center for Corey Linsley, who was out with a concussion, while Foster Sarell was in place of Trey Pipkins III because of a knee injury. To make matters worse, rookie right guard Zion Johnson dealt with a shoulder issue in the first half and had to be spelled by Brenden Jaimes at times.
All of this against a fierce pass rush featuring Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones.
The end result?
Herbert was sacked five times and was hit 14 times, according to game stats.
"Yeah, they were getting after us today," Ekeler said. "We were trying to adjust, change some things up. We were able to give ourselves a chance at the end. But we knew it was going to be a battle and it was."
Staley added: "There were just a lot of different personnel groupings in there, a lot of people in there. I thought we were good at times and there were times we were a little bit leaky. We didn't run the ball well enough."
Herbert said: "I thought they did a great job of battling. It's never easy going up against a front seven like that. I think they're very talented, very well coached on that side of the ball. It was a tough day for us, but those guys stepped up, battled and I really respect that from them."
Staley praised a young offensive line for their compete level in a tough environment.
"Guys competed like they always do," Staley said. "They played tough and we were trying to make some adjustments throughout the game.
"That group always plays tough for us," Staley added. "Those guys, the more they see, the better off they're going to play."
Browse through the top pregame photos of the Bolts prepping for their Week 13 game against the Raiders in Vegas
4. Missed chances early
The Bolts led 10-0 early, but there was a sense the cushion would have been wider.
After forcing an opening-drive punt, the Chargers got aggressive when Joshua Kelley executed a fake punt on fourth-and-3 that gained five yards.
But that drive stalled and soon ended in a punt.
Later, the Bolts forced a fumble on the Raiders second possession but didn't get points out of it, falling short on fourth-and-2 from the Raiders 17-yard line.
"We liked the down and distance, we liked the matchup," Staley said. "They just made the play and we didn't."
The Bolts started hot this time around, bucking a recent trend where they had fallen behind by double digits in the opening stanza.
But on a day when the third quarter went south, Staley felt a better opening 15 minutes could have helped the Chargers in the long run.
"That was big … we didn't capitalize in our opportunities in the first half," Staley said. "That was the story of the first half, we weren't able to capitalize.
"We had some opportunities to have a bigger lead than we had," Staley added. "That was another big part of the game."
5. Looking ahead at 6-6
The Chargers have five games left, and currently sit in the No. 9 spot in the AFC.
And on a day when the Jets lost to fall to 7-5 (and with the Patriots losing on Thursday night), the Chargers couldn't take advantage with a win of their own.
The three Wild Card spots in the AFC currently belong to Cincinnati (8-4), Miami (8-4) and New York Jets (7-5).
And things don't get any easier with the Dolphins coming to town for Sunday Night Football in Week 14.
"We're 6-6 and we didn't capitalize on enough opportunities, but we had plenty of them," Staley said.
He later added: "We've got five games left and the AFC is very tight. We have to put this one behind us and get ready for Miami."
"There's urgency all season because we understand what's at stake," Ekeler said. "We have to win games. Where we're at in the season, games become more and more important."
James added: "The opponent don't have a face. We have to win them."
Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Week 13 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders
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