Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers offense have been slumping for almost a month and their collective struggles continued in the first half of Sunday's rivalry game against the Denver Broncos.
Herbert has maintained a high level of play despite a lack of points. While the QB should shoulder some of the blame or a struggling offense, Herbert has been besieged by a lowly running game, questionable play-calling, an inconsistency from both his offensive line and non-Keenan-Allen pass-catchers.
So far on Sunday, though, Herbert is wearing the villain hat. His first half struggles culminated in an interception that was tipped at the line of scrimmage and plucked out of the air by a Broncos defensive linemen.
It was an uncharacteristic careless pass from Herbert and what made it worse is that it came with the Bolts pinned deep in their own territory. The Broncos took over at the three-yard line (!) and scored on their first play to take a 7-0 lead.
You couldn't have scripted a worse start.
Chargers fans voice frustration with Justin Herbert during first half struggles vs Broncos
We're not sure what Herbert was looking at here. His pass was intended for Keenan Allen, who was blanketed by Pat Surtain. Had the ball made it beyond the line of scrimmage, it had a low chance of getting caught. Who knows? Surtain was so close to Allen that he could have jumped the route for a pick-six.
To rub salt in the wound, Herbert missed a WIDE OPEN Allen on second down before the turnover. For whatever reason, he targeted Alex Erickson on a throw that had no chance.
We're just as surprised as you.
In Herbert's defense, it's tough to carry an offense when your offensive line isn't doing its job. While the QB has to see the field better and make better decisions, he's been sacked three times already. The Chargers offensive line has been overwhelmed by the Broncos blitz so far.
At the end of the day, you can understand Chargers fans' frustrations. The offense didn't score a touchdown against the Patriots last week and was held to 10 points (by an admittedly stingy Ravens defense) the week prior.
Throw in today's goose egg and you're talking about 16 points scored in almost 10 quarters. Memories from Los Angeles' 38-point explosion against the Lions three weeks ago are fading fast, if not faded entirely.
Luckily, it appears as though Brandon Staley's defense came to play. Still plenty of time for Herbert and Co. to right the ship.