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Darren Waller dedicates 150-yard performance to former teammate Lorenzo Taliaferro

Darren Waller put up a monster performance in the Las Vegas Raiders' 30-27 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

The tight end dominated every defender sent his way, gobbling up nine of 12 targets for 150 yards and a TD.

From the outside, Waller was his usual brilliant self. On the inside, the matchup nightmare was hurting.

Waller had found out his friend and former Baltimore Ravens teammate Lorenzo Taliaferro, 28, died Wednesday night, less than 24 hours before kickoff.

"To be real, I didn't even feel like playing tonight honestly," Waller said, via the team's official website. "I had no juice today. I thank God and the people that support me for speaking life into me today, and telling me to go out and play and represent him and to have him on my mind while I was playing.

"I feel like him and his presence and what his time on the earth meant to me is what's motivating me to play football with a sense of urgency."

Waller broke into the NFL in 2015 and spent two seasons as Taliaferro's teammate in Baltimore. The time with the Ravens was a struggle for Waller, who dealt with addiction issues he famously overcame before joining the Raiders in 2018.

After his second-quarter touchdown catch, Waller gestured the numbers 3 and 4, in honor of Taliaferro's No. 34.

Since his time with Baltimore, Waller has become one of the best tight ends in the NFL. A speedy playmaker who can dust CBs, box out safeties and punish linebackers is a rare combination.

Thursday marked Waller's second game of 150-plus receiving yards in the last three weeks. Only three other TEs in the Super Bowl era have had two such games in an entire season: HOF Shannon Sharpe, HOF Kellen Winslow, and fellow Raider Todd Christensen, per NFL Research.

Waller was a huge reason for Marcus Mariota's impressive performance in relief of an injured Derek Carr. You wouldn't have known watching that he was playing with a heavy heart.

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