Justin Herbert Grade: A
Justin Herbert may have played the best quarter and change that any NFL quarterback has played all year in the first and early second. He had 172 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and only three incompletions. It was the best start to a game offensively for the Chargers in nearly a decade.
The run was capped off by an absolute seed downfield, as Herbert rolled to his right planted and uncorked it across the side of the field to Jaylen Guyton in the left corner of the end zone for six. A play call only very few can confidently run with the arm strength necessary, Los Angeles is absolutely one.
He then threw in some extra credit, showing he is a complete football player rolling out and catching the two point conversion on a double reverse. Between that and a big hit after throwing a late first-half interception, it was a complete day for Herbie. By the way, Joe Lombardi slander will be quieter this week.
Herbert's A grade isnt because much of the same took place from there in terms of offensive production. From the second quarter on the Bengals defense, particularly their coverage, was outstanding despite cornerback Chidobe Awuzie going down. Couple that adversity for Herbert with his lead back, Austin Ekeler, coughing up two critical fumbles, he weathered the storm and avoided the costly mistake that kept the aforementioned Chargering avalanche from spilling over. And then led the drive that would eventually put it away. Herbert was especially precise and excellent in or around the red area today.
Cincinnati is a model of inconsistency, like many young developing teams tend to be. But, in a huge playoff ramification game, for Herbert to complete 74% of his passes and threw for over 300 yards versus a strong pass rush, and quietly improving pass defense, there is no way Herbert didn't ace this test in a tricky spot out east in the early window.