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Chargers Have Sights Set on Raiders in Week 13

WIR- Week 13

The Chargers pulled out a fourth-quarter comeback win in Arizona.

The win moved the Bolts to 6-5 and kept them from dropping below .500, but also allowed the Chargers to stay with the pack in the AFC playoff race.

Here's a breakdown of news from the Chargers 13th week of the season:

Monday: Victory Monday

Wins come in all forms in the NFL.

For the Chargers on Sunday, their win came on a last minute two-point conversion.

It was a total team effort for the Bolts, as their play in the clutch on defense late in the game set it up for the offense.

"That is exciting for me because you want to play your best in the clutch," Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said about the defense during his media availability on Monday. "All of those possessions at the end, in the fourth quarter, were all must-have possessions. The thing about it is there were three-and-outs, too, so we were able to get the momentum back. We were able to get the field position back.

"I think you see how impactful three-and-outs are. The more three-and-outs that you can generate for your offense, the better," Staley added.

And, late in the game, the offense produced.

Wide receiver DeAndre Carter led the Chargers in receiving yards and jumpstarted the final drive with a punt return that set the offense up in Arizona territory.

Carter has been a huge piece for the offense in light of the injuries, and Sunday was another example of what he's brought to the team this season in both offense and special teams.

"He's been an invaluable player for us," Staley said about Carter. "Just a true example of a professional. He's an example of who we want to try to build this football team with because he does so many things for us. He plays a lot of different positions.

"As you mentioned, he is our returner in both phases," Staley added. "He has just made a lot of winning plays for us the entire season and he has been there for us in the clutch. He has earned the trust of Justin [Herbert] and our offensive coaches in every way."

The win moved continued the Bolts success on the road, as they are now 4-2 in away games.

And a good part of that is due to the outpour of support that has followed them.

On Sunday in Arizona, Chargers fans showed up — and it didn't go unnoticed.

"It was significant," Staley said. "I am not blown away anymore by it because I think, you guys that were in Atlanta three weeks ago, when we went to Atlanta, there was a huge contingent. I know that when we took the lead, there was just that chant that came out at the Atlanta game. I think what is awesome about our brand and our fanbase is that you know that it is growing because it is going everywhere."

"It means a lot and I think that our fans are seeing how we play, hopefully, and falling in love with all of our players," Staley later added. "There are a lot of great players to root for. Hopefully, they know how much we appreciate them."

In terms of the injury fall out from Sunday, the Bolts left Arizona with a couple of players banged up.

"Corey Linsley is in the concussion protocol," Staley said. "Trey Pipkins [III] had a reaggravation of his MCL injury, and he is going to be day-to-day. A lot of bumps and bruises, otherwise."

Tuesday: Chargers flexed again

For the third time in a span of five weeks, the Chargers will be on primetime.

The NFL announced that the Bolts Week 14 matchup against the Dolphins at SoFi Stadium would be played on Sunday Night Football.

This ties the most Sunday night games for the Chargers in a season (three) and are currently slated to appear in a franchise-record seven primetime games.

The Week 14 game against the Dolphins just got bigger, as there will be playoff implications for both teams. The Dolphins currently lead the AFC East but are in a tight race with Buffalo that will continue as the season progresses.

As for the Chargers, their win on Sunday kept them on pace in the playoff race. While they did not gain ground with the victory, a loss would've put their playoff hopes in serious doubt.

To read Chargers Senior Writer Eric Smith's full AFC playoff picture breakdown, click here.

Wednesday: Stepping up in absences

Make that three Chargers Special Teams Players of the Week.

The NFL named punter JK Scott as the AFC Special Teams Player of the week for his performance in Week 12.

Scott led all AFC players in Week 12 with four punts inside the 20, including his final punt that set the Cardinals up inside their own 10-yard line eventually giving the Chargers offense great field position to put together the final drive. Scott was crucial in the field position battle that helped the Bolts pull out the victory in Arizona.

"It was awesome, man," Scott said about winning the weekly award on Wednesday. "Just a great honor."

The Chargers took the practice field on Wednesday in preparation for their second meeting with the Raiders — and they might enter this one a little banged up.

With wide receiver Mike Williams (ankle) status still "day to day," according to Staley, Linsley (concussion), Pipkins (knee), safety Derwin James, Jr. (hip) and cornerback Bryce Callahan (groin) all did not practice on Wednesday. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack also did not practice, but it was not injury related (rest).

With Pipkins "day to day", Staley talked about whether he would see the practice field this week.

"We're shooting for it, but we're going to be careful with it," Staley said. "He's been a pure example of toughness for us. We just want to make sure that we get that thing a lot of rest.

"It's that point of the year where you're going to try and do that anyway. Have to try and get that thing back," Staley continued.

And if Linsley cannot go on Sunday either, that will mean that backup center Will Clapp will slide back in at center. Clapp has made two starts this year and appeared in a total of four games.

"Exemplary from a backup center," Staley said about Clapp's play so far. "That's why we went and got him. The familiarity with [Offensive Coordinator] Joe [Lombardi] and [Offensive Line Coach] Brendan [Nugent] was really significant."

"He's come in and played quality football for us and given us an opportunity to win a bunch of games," Staley later added. "We're glad that we have him. One of those underrated offseason signings for our football team."

On the flip side, the defensive line has had a couple of weeks to work with their new look group. After suffering three major injuries along the defensive line in recent weeks, more and more consistent playing time will go a long way.

"I love the guys that we're coaching," Staley said. "I think the guys that we've joined up with — Tyeler Davison, we've had Joe [Gaziano] and Breiden [Fehoko] before, but I think that those guys have fit right in. I thought, last week, all three of them played well for us in that game.

"They're the right type of guys that you want when all of this type of stuff happens," Staley added. "You have to have players that you can count on, that you can depend on. All three of those guys that really fit in well to our football team. I like coaching them, for sure."

Chargers Senior Writer Eric Smith released his weekly mailbag on Wednesday, where he answered questions about the Chargers being flexed to primetime again, slow starts and much more.

Thursday: James wins AFC Player of the Month; Raiders week

The awards keep rolling in for the Chargers this week.

The NFL named James as the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November — a career first for him. James' dominant November saw him record 37 tackles, two sacks, an interception and a pair of forced fumbles. He's the only defender in the league to have a sack, a pick and a forced fumble in November.

James is coming off one of his best games of the season against the Cardinals, and he credits winning the award and his elite-level play this year to his maturity as both a player, and a person.

"I feel like I'm older, more mature," James said on Thursday. "I'm not just running around, trying to find stuff. I know where the equipment is, I know everybody in the building.

"I know all the players. It's like, I'm older now, so I feel more [comfortable]," James added.

James was back out on the practice field in full on Thursday after missing Wednesday's session.

James and the rest of the defense have a big test ahead of them this Sunday, as the division rival Raiders come into the matchup on a two-game win streak and the NFL rushing leader in Josh Jacobs.

"We have to be consistent and make sure that we make him try to trickle them down and not give up the home-run hitters," Chargers Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill said about Jacobs. "With our defense, being poised, not being shaken.

"They may hit a run here or there, but we have to make sure that we stay behind our scheme and make sure that we're sticking with our plan," Hill added.

Still, Hill knows that they will not be able to lock in just on Jacobs, as the Raiders also have one of the best wide receivers in the league.

"We have to make sure that, at the same time, we're still taking care of Davante [Adams] — knowing where he is at, knowing his different locations — and making sure that we have an eye on him at all times," Hill said. "They do a good job of complementing both the run and the pass, and we just have to make sure that we're on top of both."

For the Chargers offense, the return of their own No. 1 receiver has changed the landscape of their offense. From the field to the locker room, his presence has been big.

"It's been huge," Chargers Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi said on Thursday. "Obviously, he is one of the premier receivers in the league, so having him on the field is big. I think the first week back, he was back, but you weren't exactly sure how healthy he was, and you felt a little better last week.

"I think we're confident that he is full-go now," Lombardi said. "Having the player is a big deal, and just having the personality and the confidence in the huddle — the veteran presence — it's big on a lot of levels."

Callahan (groin) and Mack (NIR- Rest) returned to practice in full on Thursday. Safety Nasir Adderley (thumb) was limited again while Williams (ankle), Linsley (concussion) and Pipkins (knee) were the only members of the team to not practice.

Members of the Raiders also talked about the Chargers ahead of their Week 13 divisional matchup. Check out what Las Vegas said about the Bolts.

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

Friday: Moving pieces on the offensive line

The Bolts took the practice field for their final practice before they travel to Las Vegas on Saturday — and there were a few notable absences.

Williams, Linsley and Pipkins all did not practice again on Friday, and were officially declared "OUT" for Sunday's division matchup.

"[Williams] is progressing," Staley said. "He's doing better each day. Can't make it to this game, I still consider him day-to-day. [He's] working hard and I like where he's at."

In place of Linsley, Clapp will make his third start of the season on Sunday, while Foster Sarell will make his second start of the season in place of Pipkins.

With Linsley and Pipkins out, this will be the sixth different starting offensive line combo that the Chargers will roll out. It will be a matchup to watch in Las Vegas, as Herbert has been sacked nine times in the last two games.

But Herbert thinks that while the sack numbers have been high the last couple of weeks, the offensive line has continued to give him time and it will ultimately come down to execution.

"I think the offensive line has done a great job of protecting me all the time and giving me enough time to get the ball out," Herbert said on Friday. "[Offensive line] coach [Brendan] Nugent and coach Lombardi have done a great job at getting the protection plan together.

"Sometimes that happens, so we have to keep executing and got to get back to the line of scrimmage and get the ball away," Herbert added.

Two more Chargers, Fehoko and linebacker Drue Tranquill were added to the injury report on Friday. But according to Staley, he expects both to be available against the Raiders. Adderley was also listed as questionable for Sunday's contest with a thumb injury, will play per Staley.

Prior to Friday's practice, Smith talked with Levi Edwards, who covers the Raiders for the team site, to preview Sunday's matchup.

Also on Friday, Smith released his Final Thoughts ahead of the game against the Raiders in Las Vegas.

Check out the best photos of the Chargers Friday practice at Hoag Performance Center

Videos of the Week

All In: Episode 7 | On the Edge

The seventh episode of 'All In' titled 'On the Edge' follows Chargers outside linebacker Khalil Mack's journey during a season where he fights to prove the doubters wrong.

Truth or Dab | Keenan Allen and Mike Williams

In the second Chargers edition of the Hot Ones special, Truth or Dab, watch as host Sean Evans asks the Chargers wide receivers questions and gives them two choices: tell the truth, or suffer the wrath of the Last Dab.

Mic'd Up | Chris Rumph II

Chargers outside linebacker Chris Rumph II was mic'd up during the Week 12 win vs the Arizona Cardinals.

Playmakers | Know Your Opponent with Rachel Gossen

The Las Vegas Raiders digital managing editor joins Hayley Elwood on the latest edition of Playmakers podcast to discuss how the Raiders are different compared to Week 1, the impact of RB Josh Jacobs and more.

Chargers Weekly | 60-Minute Raider Week Fan Q&A

Matt "Money" Smith and Chris Hayre recap the Chargers Week 12 win over the Arizona Cardinals and they answer fan questions ahead of the Week 13 clash versus the rival Raiders.

Questions from a Popeyes Box | DeAndre Carter

Chargers wide receiver DeAndre Carter answers questions from a Popeyes box including the favorite thing he's bought this year and what other position in football he'd want to play.

Tweets of the Week

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