Despite setting NFL records in his first two seasons and having to overcome immense hurdles this season, Justin Herbert suddenly became the most disrespected quarterback in the league. It became a popular opinion leading into Week 14 that the LA Chargers' signal-caller was overrated. Some called him a social media quarterback.
On the contrary, fellow 2020 draft classmate Tua Tagovailoa was enjoying a great season with the Miami Dolphins while having one of the best offensive lines and cast of weapons in the league. Tua was playing well, there is no doubt about it, but the sudden "Tua is better than Herbert" takes were a bit much.
If Sunday Night Football proved anything it was that Herbert and Tua are simply on different levels. Despite being underdogs at home and being picked against by just about every NFL pundit, Justin Herbert led the Chargers to a massive 23-17 win over Tua and the Dolphins.
Justin Herbert outclassed Tua Tagovailoa in the Chargers' win.
This wasn't just a huge win for the Chargers, it was a statement win for Justin Herbert. Herbert put together one of the best games of his professional career thus far while his quarterback peer could not say the same.
Herbert completed 39 of 51 passes for 367 yards and one touchdown. He did not turn the ball over once. It was more than just the stats as well, as Herbert dealt with constant pressure and had to make big throw after big throw with pressure in his face.
And that is what he did. Whether it be the absolute dart to Keenan Allen on third down in the team's final drive, or the bomb over the top to Mike Williams, Herbert was slinging on primetime.
Tagovailoa did not enjoy the same success. Tua completed 10 of 28 passes for 145 yards and one touchdown. Those stats are pretty generous as well. Garbage time yardage padded Tagovailoa's yardage total and if Michael Davis doesn't trip in the third quarter, Tua would not have had his only passing touchdown.
Making Tua's performance even worse is the fact that the Dolphins were coming up against an incredibly banged-up Chargers defense. On top of the other injuries suffered earlier in the season, the Bolts were also without Sebastian Joseph-Day, Bryce Callahan and Derwin James. LA ranked 30th in points allowed per game heading into this game.
The Chargers still have some work to do to get into the playoffs this season but it is impossible to overstate how big this win was for the team. Not only does it drastically increase the team's playoff chances, but it hopefully will end the absurd Justin Herbert vs. Tua Tagovailoa debate.