Herbert Fully Loaded
Little is left to smile about after losing four games in five weeks to start the season.
But one rookie is giving the Los Angeles Chargers a reason not to frown.
In a 30-27 overtime loss to New Orleans on Monday, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was brilliant under center, and in Herbert's first four starts, he has provided a spark to the Bolts' offense.
He was officially named the starter on Thursday, after the team doctor accidentally punctured previous starter Tyrod Taylor's lung before the Week 2 kickoff.
The Chargers lead the league with the most one-score defeats this season (four), and the last two of those losses came at the hands of two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks – Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
However, Herbert matched the veterans play-for-play, and he slang the rock for 264 yards and four passing touchdowns on Monday against the Saints.
Herbert finished the night with a 122.7 passer rating and no interceptions, marking his first game without a pick.
And according to FOX Sports analyst Brandon Marshall, Herbert is the future of the Chargers franchise and possibly, the league.
"When you look at this kid, the upside is tremendous."
Herbert came out hot, leading the Chargers to an early 20-3 advantage, including a beautiful touchdown pass to wide receiver Keenan Allen in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, Allen left the game shortly after that highlight-worthy grab with a back injury and was out for the remainder of the evening, leaving Herbert without his top weapon.
Still, Herbert remained unfazed. He followed up with two touchdown passes to receiver Mike Williams and one TD pass to tight end Hunter Henry.
Williams was on limited minutes due to a hamstring injury, and so far, injuries have been the story for the Bolts this season.
Running back Austin Ekeler is on injured reserve, and two of the club' s starting offensive lineman are also sidelined.
In addition, starting safety Derwin James is out for the season, and cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Chris Harris Jr. are battling injury as well.
Starting defensive end Melvin Ingram is also out for the season, and his backup Uchenna Nwosu was sidelined with an injury mid-game on Monday.
Still, despite injuries, LA has remained competitive in recent weeks, mainly because of Herbert, who has starred, but has been unable to push the Chargers over the hump.
Monday's loss was similar to the Chargers' 38-31 loss to the Buccaneers the week before. In both games, the club built a 17-point lead early, and watched it crumble right before halftime.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Chargers are 3-13 in one-score games.
But according to Colin Cowherd, Herbert could be the solution to LA's crunch-time woes if the franchise can successfully build around their young star QB.
"This kid has led Mahomes, he's led Brees, and he's led Brady in the fourth quarter. And they [the Chargers] can't make a kick, or go they go conservative with playcalling. This kid is a rockstar."
So far this season, Herbert has recorded 1,195 yards passing yards, nine passing touchdowns and one rushing score.
And not only are fans and pundits high on Herbert's future with the Chargers – so is he.
Los Angeles heads into a bye week before hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 7.
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