Justin Herbert recorded his first-career win with the LA Chargers in Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The LA Chargers are finally back in the win column. After four brutal losses that seemingly got more and more disappointing by the week, Justin Herbert was able to put together a masterful performance and lead the Chargers to a 39-29 victory.
The 2020 LA Chargers have been the Justin Herbert show. While there are a lot of other narratives on this team, the season has been dominated by the sudden arrival of Herbert, who, if the team was playing better, would be in the MVP running.
I’m not kidding. He has been that good. He is putting up Patrick Mahomes-level numbers for the Chargers. Granted, it is only five weeks, but you can usually tell pretty quickly if a quarterback has “it”. Herbert appears to.
Herbert has been the only thing keeping the Chargers afloat in the NFL power rankings and now we get to see the impact that a win has in our Bolts’ consensus power ranking. Let’s see what the pundits have to say.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: 17th (+1)
“The Chargers jumped out to an early lead, then fell behind in the third quarter before the Herbert-led attack exploded for 20 points in the final 5:34 of the period. The defense put the clamps on Gardner Minshew after that, and Herbert finally had his first career win. Beat the Broncos in Denver this week, and people are going to start seeing the Chargers as a playoff contender. I’m already there.”
I like that the Chargers are getting legitimate love as a potential playoff contender this season. Certain things would have to go in the team’s favor and they cannot afford to drop any more disappointing games but they absolutely have the talent to make the playoffs with Herbert under center.
Just think about it: if Michael Badgley makes that kick the team is 3-3, if Joshua Kelley doesn’t fumble then the team is 4-2, if Austin Ekeler catches that lateral then the team is 5-1. The narrative would be completely different with only minor changes to what really happened.
Bleacher Report staff: 19th (+3)
“Herbert torched the Jacksonville Jaguars for 347 yards and three scores, and as Doug Farrar wrote for Touchdown Wire, Herbert is off to a historic start to his professional career.
“Per NFL Research, Herbert became the only player since at least 1970 with more than 1,500 passing yards and a passer rating of over 100 over his first five career games,” Farrar said.”
That is right, Justin Herbert is literally setting records for the Bolts. Yes, he has good weapons but he is also playing behind a terrible offensive line and has been delivering in the face of pressure every single week.
This kid is legit.
ESPN staff: 20th (+1)
“Melvin Ingram is back from IR and is the leader of the group. In his absence, the D gave up 17-point leads to Tampa Bay and New Orleans and lost both games. The defense also was in danger Sunday versus the Jaguars, losing a 16-point lead at one point.”
The focus of ESPN’s power ranking was naming one player/area that had to step up on each team and they knocked it out of the park with the Chargers. While we all expected a stellar defense this season, the Chargers’ defense has been far from that.
There are several reasons why. First is the fact that the likes of Nasir Adderley, Rayshawn Jenkins, Casey Hayward and Desmond King are all underperforming. Injuries don’t help much either and not having Derwin James, Drue Tranquill and Chris Harris has been huge.
Just imagine if the Chargers had the defense that we all expected heading into this season.
Randy Gurzi, NFL Spin Zone: 22nd (+3)
“Los Angeles is now 2-4 and while it’s not realistic for them to make a big run this season, they have shown a lot to be encouraged by. And Herbert, most importantly, is proving that he is the face of their franchise.”
I have to disagree here with my FanSided colleague. Of course, I am always rooting for the best-case scenario as the site expert of a Chargers site (and as a Chargers fan) but the Chargers have the tools to make a run, it is just a matter of not shooting themselves in the foot, which can be a legitimate challenge.
The Chargers have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league. They have two games against the Denver Broncos, the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
That is six games against teams that will likely be in single-digits in the 2020 NFL draft. Of course, they have to win, but they should be the favorites in all of those games and as long as they don’t shoot themselves in the foot, those six games can take them to eight wins alone.
LA Chargers consensus power ranking: 19.5
The Bolts are below 20 in the consensus power rankings and some see the vision that we see in the team potentially making a playoff run while others are still lagging a bit behind.
Week 8’s showdown against the Broncos is huge. The Bolts have to prove that they won’t shoot themselves in the foot in these winnable games and a big win could mean big things for their status in the NFL power rankings.
Right now, if you are going to pick any sleeper playoff team, the Chargers are probably a good one.