The LA Chargers have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations because they have one of the best quarterbacks in the entire sport. Justin Herbert has elevated the Bolts countless times and carried the team to wins that they otherwise didn't deserve.
Monday night was not one of those games. Herbert played his worst game of the season and could not lead the Chargers down the field for a game-winning drive. The Bolts fell to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-17.
NFL games are complex and there are various factors why one team succeed and one team failed. To solely pinpoint it on one person is silly. But at the end of the day, it is impossible to deny that the star quarterback shoulders most of the blame.
Justin Herbert's rare stinker is to blame for Chargers' loss to the Cowboys
First of all, it is worth mentioning that Herbert didn't necessarily have a great situation in this game. His offensive line broke down countless times and he was operated at an insane pressure rate that was similar to his rookie season. Dallas' elite pass rush showed up to play and made its mark on this game.
But that is not a blanket excuse for Herbert's play in this game. Yes, he had the deck stacked against him at times, but there were various moments throughout the game in which Herbert outright cost his team.
Herbert picked the worst possible time to have all of his overthrows in one game. Herbert missed several receivers in this game in uncharacteristic throws that were not even close. His reads were a bit slower than usual and there were times in which he would stare down his primary receiver and not move to other options.
Early in the game, Herbert underthrew Keenan Allen on a third-down out route when a wide-open Quentin Johnston was right in front of him on a drag route. On Herbert's fourth-quarter interception, Austin Ekeler was wide open as the outlet option but Herbert never looked his way.
Chargers fans constantly complain about how Herbert has to be perfect for the Chargers to win and he is granted no leeway because of how bad the defense plays. Nine times out of ten that is the case. This was the rare case where the defense (mostly) did its job and held the Cowboys to 20 points. Herbert could not hold onto his end of the bargain.
Instead of Herbert needing to be perfect in this game, the defense had to be perfect to make up for the offense's struggles. The defense obviously wasn't perfect and the outcome isn't surprising.