LA Chargers: Justin Herbert needs a bounce-back game in Week 14
By Jason Reed
The one thing still worth watching on the LA Chargers is quarterback Justin Herbert.
The LA Chargers season has been done for quite some time now but it was officially deemed over after a blowout in Week 13 that mathematically eliminated the team from playoff contention. With the Chargers getting absolutely embarrassed by the New England Patriots in a 45-0 routing, I don’t blame any fan for checking out for the rest of the season.
Those that are still sticking around to watch the last three Charger football games of the year and likely sticking around for Justin Herbert, the rookie quarterback who has given the team historical numbers and is still being held back by his own coaching staff.
Herbert has been phenomenal this season and as long as he finishes the season he is the runaway favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, while he has been great overall, the last quarter of the season has not been stellar for the young star quarterback.
Herbert was fantastic against the New York Jets, who have the worst passing defense in the entire NFL. However, he was not great in the other three games. This is not to say anything is wrong with Herbert and we should be worried, but it should be recognized that he has taken a small step back.
The Miami Dolphins put up an excellent gameplan and dared the LA Chargers to run, and of course, Anthony Lynn obliged. Herbert was really a non-factor in this game, completing 20 of 32 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception.
Those numbers are kind of inflated as well. Herbert had 58 passing yards and a touchdown on the team’s last drive of the game while they were down two possessions.
The last two weeks, against Buffalo and New England, have not been great either. Herbert did throw for over 300 yards in Buffalo but was gifted a hail mary on the team’s last drive that elevated him to 316 passing yards.
If that hail mary would have fallen incomplete then Herbert would have finished with 261 yards on 30-52 passing. Not a terrible game by any means, and he was getting pressured out of the wazoo, but still not the game he was putting together earlier in the season.
The same can be said last week against New England. Bill Belichick does what he always does and game planned perfectly against Justin Herbert and the Chargers, and of course, the Chargers could not respond.
Herbert had pressure in his face all game and had the worst game of his career thus far. He completed just 49% of his passes (26-53) for 209 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Again, it was not all his fault, but he did not necessarily do anything to elevate his play, either.
All this to say that Justin Herbert needs a big game against Atlanta this week. Luckily, the Atlanta Falcons pass defense is one of the worst in the league and prior to last week, Herbert had thrown for over 300 yards in every other game at SoFi Stadium. This has all the makings of being a massive bounce-back game and is one that Hebert desperately needs.
It is not ideal for this trend to continue and Herbert to have a rough second half of the season after such a stellar beginning. While no Charger fan will doubt his abilities because we have seen it with our own two eyes, a poor finish to the season will cool the brakes on the Herbert hype and is not the greatest sign.
Again, I will always have faith in Herbert, but I still want to see him finish the second half on a high note.
It starts against Atlanta.