The LA Chargers shocked the football world on Sunday Night Football as the team defeated the Miami Dolphins in convincing fashion. What was not surprising for many was the play of Justin Herbert, who proved yet again that him and Tua Tagovailoa are not on the same level.
Herbert played one of his best games as a pro, completing 39 of 51 passes for 367 yards and one touchdown. He did not turn the ball over one time and made miraculous throw after miraculous throw with pressure often directly in his face.
Tua, meanwhile, completed just 10 of 28 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. If it was not for Michael Davis tripping against Tyreek Hill (and some garbage time yardage), Tua would have finished with fewer than 100 yards and no touchdowns. Regardless, it was more than clear who the superior quarterback was.
But despite Herbert's herculean performance, he still did not get much of a rub from the folks over at Pro Football Focus. Herbert was given just a 67.1 passing grade for his efforts while Tua was given a 45.0 passing grade. While Herbert received the better grade, the numbers given out do reek of anti-Herbert bias.
It is hard to justify Justin Herbert getting a mediocre grade in the Chargers' win.
PFF has a grading scale that goes from -2 to +2 and on every play they give each player a grade in 0.5 increments based on their performance. This kind of system opens itself up to subjectivity and that has to be the explanation for Herbert's grade as he was far better than a 67.1 in Week 14. Just for comparison's sake, Herbert was given the ninth-best grade of Week 14. You cannot tell me that eight quarterbacks had a better performance.
Here are some questionable players who received better passing grades than Justin Herbert in Week 14, with their basic stat lines:
- Davis Mills (86.1): 16-21, 175 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
- Jalen Hurts (75.0): 21-31, 218 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT
- Daniel Jones (73.2): 18-27, 170 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
- Joe Burrow (70.2): 18-33, 239 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Ryan Tannehill (69.0): 25-38, 254 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
I'm sorry, but did we all watch the same games? The icing on the cake is Davis Mills getting the third-highest grade of the entire week. Nobody can tell me that they watched both Davis Mills and Justin Herbert in Week 14 and decided that Mills was the better passer.
What is even crazier is how Tua was seemingly shielded from getting an even worse grade than he probably should have gotten. Did you know that Tua became the first quarterback all season to have a completion percentage under 40% with at least 20 passing attempts? His grade should have been in the 20s or 30s, but I digress.
It is quite incredible what Herbert was able to do in this game. According to PFF's very own statistics, Herbert was pressured the most of any quarterback in Week 14. He converted 17 first downs under pressure, which was one fewer than Trevor Lawrence, Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff, who all got trades above 85 in Week 14.
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Chargers fans don't need PFF grades to justify how great Justin Herbert is and the NFL world knows that he is an elite quarterback, especially after Sunday night's performance. But it still doesn't make any sense that Herbert has the 16th-highest passing grade this season while Tua is first despite having more big-time throws and fewer turnover-worthy plays.