The LA Chargers desperately needed a win in Week 3 to avoid falling to 0-3 on the season. The difference between 1-2 and 0-3 is just one game but it really could make the difference between making the playoffs and not having a chance.
Justin Herbert knew the importance of the game and turned in a masterclass for the Bolts. Herbert had one of the best games of his entire career as he was calculated and essentially produced the entire Chargers offense with no real rushing attack to speak of.
There is no denying that Herbert had one of the best games in all of Week 3. Yet somehow, the folks over at Pro Football Focus still didn't think Herbert's game was all that impressive. PFF gave Herbert a 72.6 passing grade, giving him the 12th-highest passing grade among his quarterback peers in Week 3. There is absolutely no chance that there were 11 quarterbacks who had a better game than Justin Herbert.
PFF continues to snub Justin Herbert despite a great game for the Chargers
Just so we are clear, we are not exaggerating how good Herbert was on Sunday. He completed 40 of 47 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns. He set the NFL record for the highest completion percentage with at least 40 attempts in a game and also became the second quarterback in NFL history to finish a game with 400 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a completion percentage of 85% or higher in a single game.
Herbert did things in that game that quarterbacks simply have not done before yet PFF handed out 11 passing grades that were better than Herbert. Here are some of the most outrageous examples of the QBs who ranked ahead of the Chargers' signal-caller:
- Joe Burrow, 74.2 grade (51.3 % completion, 259 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT)
- Jared Goff, 75.4 grade (66.7% completion, 243 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)
- Josh Allen, 76.5 grade (62.5% completion, 218 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)
We could have named pretty much every quarterback who wasn't on the Dolphins in Week 3 as someone who should not have been ahead of Herbert but these three were the most egregious examples.
There were several prominent PFF analysts who were completely out on Herbert when he came into the league in the 2020 NFL Draft. It appears that the analysts at PFF are still wrong about Herbert's game as there is no way he was the 12th-best quarterback in Week 3.
PFF's own website has this to say about the grading process (which is done by unnamed analysts and their eyeball test):
"Unlike traditional data, PFF measures “performance relative to expectation” instead of just traits or measurable factors. The system looks at every play, creating a large sample size that eliminates bias and identiﬁes undervalued players while avoiding player hype. The grading process evaluates players objectively, regardless of perceived ability."
Eliminated bias and identifies undervalued players while avoiding player hype? So is Herbert getting this low of a grade because PFF thinks he is too hyped? There just is not any world in which a quarterback completes 85% of his passes, throws for over 400 yards and doesn't turn the ball over a single time and is still considered slightly above average by the outlet's grading system.
Heck, Justin Fields got a passing grade of 71! His passing grade was only 1.6 lower than Herbert's. Fields completed 50% of his passes for 100 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Somehow, someway, that is in the same ballpark as Justin Herbert's 400-yard game.
At the end of the day, this is a good reminder to take PFF grades with a grain of salt. The outlet does tremendous work with the statistics it provides but the grades never quite make sense.