Justin Herbert Played Fine In Pain, Yet The Jaguars Still Humiliated The Chargers. Not Great!

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It was what Los Angeles Chargers fans have become to expect.

A young quarterback with great hair (I’m jealous of the hair) throwing lasers all over the field playing fast and leading his team to a convincing win.

Except it wasn’t Chargers third-year star quarterback Justin Herbert doing the job Sunday it was Jacksonville Jaguars second-year man Trevor Lawrence who engineered the best win in his short NFL career Sunday with a 38-10 win at SoFi Stadium.

It was the most points scored by the Jags since the regular season finale in 2019. It was also the Jags’ first road win since 2019 when they beat the Oakland Raiders…yes, the Oakland Raiders.

That was the last NFL game in Oakland. Gardner Minshew was the Jags quarterback then, and Jon Gruden was the Raiders coach. Minshew and his mustache are now a backup in Philadelphia. Gruden is disgraced. Oakland is now Las Vegas.

The silver lining Sunday? The Chiefs lost, so the Chargers are only a game back in the AFC West. Los Angeles gets the winless Texans next Sunday on the road.

But there’s not much good to come out of Sunday for the Chargers. The Jaguars – yes, the Jaguars, who have won four games in the last two years – dominated.

Herbert Played… But Does That Make It Worse?

The big storyline of the week was the status of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and whether he would play after suffering fractured rib cartilage in the Chargers’ loss to the Chiefs.

There was even social media chatter before the game that SoFi Stadium had the announcement ready that Chase Daniel was going to be the starter in pre-game.

But no, it was Herbert wearing some extra protection for those ribs. His first three snaps were out of the shotgun and I wondered right away – oh, they’re protecting him. But no. He looked…fine?

I mean, I counted two throws that were kind of short-armed into the turf that I figured, maybe was because of the injury, but Herbert also unleashed an off-balance 55-yard missile to Jalen Guyton in the third quarter that was insane. He finished with 297 yards. He took some hits, but never got up slow or anything. Herbert was not the Chargers problem Sunday.

Should He Have Still Played When It Was 38-10?

That was a lot of the conversation after the game. The Jaguars (man, I still can’t believe it) locked this one up midway through the fourth quarter. The Chargers weren’t coming back, but still Herbert came out for the final drive and engineered a good one, but why did the Chargers brain trust want to expose Herbert to any additional hits if he was already dinged up?

Herbert refused to answer the question after the game whether he’d taken a painkilling shot (which means he probably did). Chargers coach Brandon Staley just basically said, Herbert is our quarterback, so he was going to play quarterback.

My belief is two-fold, one, I am convinced the Chargers are lying about the injury report. I think it’s an ‘and’ situation. Yes, Herbert has fractured rib cartilage AND something else they aren’t disclosing that’s more serious (my guess is he has cracked ribs too). That’s the word salad game that NFL teams play.

But I’m not really going to blame the Chargers here for playing Herbert at the end. I know it was 28 points, but the NFL is a crazy league…Chargers touchdown, then onside kick? I know it’s farfetched, but teams believe they can win. What good would it have done to put Chase Daniel in there anyway? Herbert hadn’t shown any bad signs, so why remove him?

It’s The Injuries Though

While Herbert stayed upright the whole game and finished it, the rest of the news was bad for the Chargers on the injury front, like, real bad. The Chargers were already without wide receiver Keenan Allen and center Corey Linsley Sunday.

Joey Bosa came out with a groin injury he had in the first half. That’s not good for a player who is quick and muscled, let’s just say.

Linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. came out after slipping on the SoFi Stadium turf in the third quarter. I didn’t like the way that one looked.

Guyton was holding his left knee late in the game after getting tangled up near the goal line with a Jaguars defensive back.

The worst injury though was to tackle Rashawn Slater early in the second half. Slater was engaged with Jaguars defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris and had his left arm out when Robertson-Harris tried a swim/chop move to disengage. It wasn’t intentional, but it was almost like if he wanted to break Slater’s arm, that’s what you would do. Slater came off the field holding his arm gently.

The biggest thing for the Chargers today will be finding out the status of all these injuries.

Did You Notice?

The play of the game was the fourth-and-one 50-yard touchdown run by James Robinson to make it 23-10. Derwin James, Bryce Callahan and Drue Tranquill all took a step inside as Robinson went to the left. Jags guard Brandon Scherff kicked out Asante Samuel Jr. and Evan Engram walled off two Chargers allowing Robinson to run free. Horrible defense by the Chargers on the play.

When Slater came out, Storm Norton entered the game at left tackle and was called for two penalties on the same drive.

Another way the NFL tilts the game toward the passing game is how they don’t call pick plays by offenses. Yes, they call them ‘rub routes’ and basically allow wide receivers one yard past the line of scrimmage to set picks on defensive backs. The Jaguars did it all game long, especially on the two-point play in the third quarter where Christian Kirk didn’t run a pattern. He just took one step forward to get in the way of Chargers defensive back Nasir Adderley. It was blatant. It wasn’t called.

Charger fans were right to boo the missed face mask penalty on the Jaguars on the second play of the second half.

Chargers kicker Dustin Hopkins still makes me nervous, even his 25-yard field goal didn’t make it by much, all of his kicks hook.

The Chargers only had 26 yards rushing. Woof. That’s the fewest since they ran for 26 (coincidentally) against the Ravens last year. Before that, you have to go back to 2019 when LA ran for 19 yards against the Raiders in Week 15.

Who played well for the Chargers? Derwin James is the best safety in the NFL. Sebastian Joseph-Day finally made some plays and DeAndre Carter has really turned into a playmaker.

Speaking of Carter, was it just me, or did it look like he caught that ball on the last play in the end zone? I thought he had control with both feet down and then stepped out. Oh well. Wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

Who else saw the Chargers fan sitting at field level flipping off Robinson when he carried the ball out of bounds in the third quarter? He was quick with those two middle fingers. CBS had to cut the replay short as to not show it again.