CARSON, Calif. -- To quote Lloyd Christmas (three days before Christmas), "So you're telling me there's a chance?"
The Oakland Raiders entered Sunday needing 10 things to happen in these last two weeks of the season to, gulp, qualify for the playoffs. Four of those things went their way before their game at the Los Angeles Chargers entered the second quarter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns all lost, and the Indianapolis Colts won. A Raiders' win against the Chargers would officially keep Oakland alive heading into the final week of the season, despite so many scheduling issues, so much roster shuffling and a four-game losing streak.
Done deal, as Oakland beat the Chargers 24-17 in front of a massively pro-Raiders crowd at ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park.
A few more things need to happen next week, of course, and it obviously includes the Raiders, who ended a four-game losing streak to improve to 7-8, winning at Denver, as well as a Steelers loss to Baltimore, a Titans loss to the Texans and a Colts win against the Jaguars.
Describe the game in two words: Still alive. As unlikely as it seems, and as outlandish as it sounds, the Raiders remain alive for the sixth and final spot in the AFC playoffs.
Buy a breakout performance: DeAndré Washington more than acquitted himself well in starting for injured rookie running back Josh Jacobs. Washington sealed the game with a tough 13-yard run on third-and-10 on the final play. Washington rushed for 85 yards on a career-high 23 carries, including a 5-yard TD run. The Raiders will need more of that next week in Denver should Jacobs' injured right shoulder again keep him out.
QB breakdown: Derek Carr took off for the right pylon late in the second quarter from 3 yards out and you could hear the collective voice of Raider Nation scream, "Don't dive!" or "Two hands!" Indeed, Carr lost a fumble through the end zone at Green Bay this year and against Dallas two years ago. Carr kept the ball tucked and won the race to the pylon for the go-ahead TD just before halftime. Carr, working behind a makeshift offensive line, operated as well as could be expected, despite being sacked three times in the first half. He passed for 291 yards in completing 26 of 30 attempts with a TD.
Pivotal play: Let's go with the thing that got the offense rolling in the first half. Taking a simple slant pass from the left slot, rookie Hunter Renfrow bounced off Desmond King II and was gone, 56 yards to the house. It was Renfrow's first catch in his first game back since he suffered a broken rib at the New York Jets on Nov. 24. It came with 10:57 to play in the first quarter, setting a certain tone for him. Renfrow, a fifth-round draft pick, finished with a career-high seven catches for a career-best 107 yards. As noted by ESPN Stats & Information research, it was Renfrow’s first career 100-yard receiving game in 65 games between his time in Clemson and Oakland.