NFL Power Rankings: Justin Herbert keeps LA Chargers afloat

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

The LA Chargers stay afloat in the NFL power rankings because of Justin Herbert.

Every week, we look at NFL power rankings from several different NFL outlets to bring you a consensus ranking for the LA Chargers. The Chargers have now lost three games in a row.

The Bolts actually went up after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs simply because of how well the team played against the defending Super Bowl Champions. They did not even deep too far despite losing an ugly game to the Carolina Panthers, likely because that Chiefs performance was in the rear-view.

Now, the Chargers are coming off of a blown 24-7 lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but that is not really reflected in the poer rankings. Yet again, in a loss, the LA Chargers remained constant.

Why? Justin Herbert. Let’s break it down.

Dan Hanzus, 18th (+1)

“But it’s important to have a big-picture view when a rookie quarterback is playing, and from that standpoint, the Chargers should feel elated right now. Justin Herbert was excellent against a strong Bucs defense, leading the team on four touchdown drives and hitting on a pair of deep-ball strikes that showed off his big arm and pocket toughness. He’s a nimble player for his size, too, buying extra seconds to make a play. Yes, his fourth-quarter interception helped seal L.A.’s fate, and blowing 24-7 leads is never an easy pill to swallow for any team, but Herbert has been a revelation through three weeks.”

The Bolts actually went up in Hanzus’s power rankings because of the stellar play from Justin Herbert. It stings knowing the Chargers lost but Herbert proved in this game that he could sling it with the greatest quarterback to ever do it.

If Herbert would have just gotten a bit more second-half help from the defense, or if Joshua Kelley did not fumble, then he would have escaped with his first career-win over none other than Tom Brady.

Bleacher Report staff: 24th (-3)

“With the loss, the Chargers are 1-3. The playoffs are a pipe dream. Just posting a .500 record may well be a tall order. But the Bolts may have accomplished one very important goal in 2020.

It appears that the team has found its new franchise quarterback.”

The Chargers experienced their biggest drop on Bleacher Report’s power rankings, who overvalued them after the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Bleacher Report had the Bolts all the way up to 15th after that loss and have plummeted to 24th after.

However, just like they were the highest two weeks ago, they are now the lowest in this power ranking. Perhaps a bit of recency bias?

ESPN staff: 19th (no movement)

“This figure could be right, but as rookie quarterback Justin Herbert continues to impress and grow within the system, the Chargers very well could go on a late winning streak and squeak in. But having RB Austin Ekeler likely out with a hamstring/knee injury means that rookie Joshua Kelley needs to hang on to the ball after key fumbles in the past two games.”

Yet again we have another snippet about Justin Herbert, and rightfully so. If the LA Chargers are losing these games with Tyrod Taylor then it would feel a lot worse. However, they at least are getting really positive play out of Herbert.

I have said this before and I will say it again: you can tell when a quarterback is going to stink. Guys like Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones and Josh Rosen have that stink around them as soon as they start an NFL.

We often say to give them time and sometimes they pan out. Not always. However, when a rookie comes into the league and does what Herbert has been doing they typically turn into solid quarterbacks.

Randy Gurzi, NFL Spin Zone: 20th

“It’s easy to understand why the Los Angeles Chargers want to go back to Tyrod Taylor when he’s healthy, but it’s not as if they really can anymore. The reasoning is simple, they injured him when a team doctor punctured his lung. But with him out, Justin Herbert has proved to be light years ahead of him.”

Bingo. Justin Herbert is lightyears ahead of him. The LA Chargers are not even coming close in these games with Tyrod Taylor under center. There is no way that the Bolts score over 30 points with Tyrod under center as they did in Tampa Bay.

I understand wanting to give him his job back and they probably will for at least one game. However, it is clear that Herbert is indeed ready and there may be no point in letting him develop as he has already learned so much in three NFL games.

LA Chargers consensus power ranking: 20.25 (-1)

The LA Chargers only fell one total spot in the consensus power rankings this week and that was mostly because of the big drop from the Bleacher Report power rankings.

A win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 would be massive and would shoot the Bolts up the rankings and put them in a much-better position to win. A 2-3 record is massively better than a 1-4 record.

The Chargers then have their easiest stretch of the season in which they could fire off a few wins in a row. If the Chargers can move to 2-3 then they could absolutely turn it around to 5-3 record.

Next. 5 things to improve in Week 5

The team needs Justin Herbert to continue his level of play (and continue to get better) while also not shooting themselves in the foot so often.