Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell remained the team’s starter in Week 15 despite struggling for several weeks under center.

He played Thursday night in a game against the Los Angeles Chargers, throwing four TDs – doubling his season record in just one half.

The decision to start O’Connell was made 24 hours before the game, as Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce seemed to still be deciding late Wednesday.

“We’re still evaluating,” Pierce told reporters Wednesday. “If there’s a chance to get better, a chance to improve, a chance to put us in position to win, then we have to get all the factors that go into it. … We’re going to do whatever it takes to put ourselves in position to win. And after today, we’ll have a better answer this evening.”

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Pierce stood by O’Connell during the press conference, arguing that the young passer deserved another chance after “one bad game” (a 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15). But while O’Connell has certainly had better days than he did as the starter last weekend, he’s never been too effective. He has not led the team to a win since November 12 and has earned a 31.1 quarterback rating throughout seven appearances.

While replacing O’Connell felt intuitive, the Raiders also seem to have reasons to keep him on the field. Backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer have had their chances and proven similarly hapless, with Garoppolo proving especially disappointing given his three-year, $75 million contract with the team. The Raiders are also 5-8 and effectively eliminated from the playoffs, giving them little reason to look for immediate answers at the position. O’Connell is younger and stands to gain the most through experience.

Despite figuring as a potential contender for several seasons, the Raiders have consistently struggled and failed to capitalize on the star power they possess. Between Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams on offense and Maxx Crosby on defense, there are pieces in place for the team to make some noise in the AFC. Instead, the team performed so poorly this season that head coach Josh McDaniels was fired. Las Vegas’ culture has reportedly improved since, but winning has not yet followed.

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