By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
Coming into Sunday’s game versus the New York Jets the Los Angeles Chargers were looking for only their third win of the season. Chargers QB Justin Herbert has been having a spectacular season, the team was only 3-16 (.158) in games decided by 8 or fewer points since 2019. Which is the most such losses in NFL during that time that span. An indicator of Herbert’s play thus far in the season is in the fact that in the Super Bowl era he has 1 or fewer wins and a 100+ passer rating in a single season, with a minimum of 8 starts.
Though the Chargers would be facing the winless Jets and their quarterback Joe Flacco, who had been 2-12 in his last 14 starts. The Chargers have plenty of room for improvement considering their 2-7 record this season and coming into this matchup their leaders found the perfect time to address these concerns. 8-year veteran wideout Keenan Allen was not hesitant to mention earlier this week, “we are doing a lot of good things…, but game-winning plays not just happening.”
Allen also discussed their close losses and injuries this season, “(Expletive) it’s been like this since I’ve been here, for the last 8 years. got to find a way to get out of this groove, I guess.” When asked about the coaches taking the heat for their recent losses, Keenan said, “I think it’s unfair. We the ones on the field, we the one not making plays!”
Allen also was asked if it was youth or being undisciplined on their special teams, he went on to say, “as for the bobbled snap, it happens. Jumping offsides on the field goal, that’s undisciplined; obviously, you want to make a play but you can’t give the offense back the ball. Then the personal foul, throwing punches, that’s undisciplined. “
When Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn was asked about his star players speaking up he responded by saying, “Noting wrong with that, I love peer to peer accountability! We need more guys making plays for sure. Both of those guys (Keenan Allen and Joey Bosa) they normally lead by example, I wouldn’t hurt my feeling if they spoke up a little bit more.”
During the mid-week press conference with the opposing coach, Jets Head Coach Adam Gase had this to say about Justin Herbert, “he’s Been very impressive. I think he’s done a good job of playing turnover-free football. He doesn’t play like a rookie. He plays like a guy who’s been in the league for a while. He does a good job of not allowing negative plays to happen, he does a good job of staying ahead of the sticks and he’s got some good receivers to work with.”
When Gase was asked about Kalen Ballage, he shared this with the media, “He’s done a good job with the opportunities he’s been given, especially the last two games. He’s a good player, a big strong kid that has the ability both in the run game and the passing game. He has the ability to hit the home run, I’ve seen him take one 75 in his rookie year.”
“It was good to finally get some explosive plays, I mean that’s really what we’ve lacking. That could make it scary for teams to play man coverage against us and loosen things up for the running game. Hopefully, we can build off that and get some chunk plays; shorten up some drives, instead of trying to 12 (or) 14 plays to score.”
As for this Sunday’s matchup, the game opened with the Jets blocking the Chargers’ initial punt of the game. This also led to the Jets taking an early lead in the game, though they missed their point after touchdown (PAT). As the Chargers are driving for the go-ahead score, Keenan Allen eluded one defender and was hit as he went to the ground by another defender, which cause him to fumble the ball on the one-yard line.
The Chargers defense forces a turnover of their own and scored on a 6-yard interception return by reserve cornerback Tevaughn Campbell, only the second for the Chargers all season. Chargers HC Anthony Lynn had this to say about that play, “That pick-six was huge. That’s what we needed from our defense. When we get our hands-on balls score or get the interception. This week we talked about, this week we saw it!” Coach Anthony Lynn added, “We did what we had to do the get the damn win!”
After taking a 24 -6 lead on the Jets, behind Campbell’s interception return and a 39-yard TD Mike Williams touchdown reception, a 2-yard TD reception from Hunter Henry, and a 44-yard field goal from Michael Badgley, the Chargers allowed the Jets to climb back in the game and make it interesting for their fans watching at home.
Jets QB Joe Flacco hit Brent Perriman on a 49-yard touchdown before Herbert hit Allen, on one of his 19 career-high 19 targets, for a 13-yard touchdown pass. Late in the third quarter, the Jets went on a 10-play drive that was capped off by a 1-yard Frank Gore touchdown run. After another Badgley FG, the Chargers took a 34-19 lead into the 4th quarter.
The Jets then scored the only touchdown of the 4th quarter, which narrowed the Charger lead to one score. The Jets were able to climb within six points by forcing the Chargers to kick their second field goal… though the game would end when the Chargers punted the ball with 1 second on the clock and stopped the Jets as the game clock expired.
Justin Herbert continues his outstanding play, after this afternoon game he becomes the first rookie in NFL history with 2+ pass TD in 7 consecutive games. Herbert also recorded 277 pass yards in the first half, which is the most by a rookie in a half since at least 1991. Additionally, Herbert sets a franchise rookie record of 5 games with 300+ pass yards this season and he also tied New York Yanks George Ratterman (9) for the 4th-fewest games to 20 career pass TD in NFL history. I asked Mike Williams and they responded by saying, “We went no-huddle (offense), so when you go no-huddle the quarterback has to communicate a lot more. Get the plays put to the receivers, tell the lineman they’re protection (assignments), and communicate with the running back. So I feel like when we go no-huddle, the quarterback got to be vocal to get everybody on the same page. To make sure everybody knows what we’re doing at the specific time.” When asked how familiar he is with what kind of season his quarterback is having Williams responded by saying, “I mean… you can tell he out there balling, but I didn’t know the exact number; that’s amazing!”
Keenan Allen set a franchise record with 16 receptions, on 19 targets, against the Jets on Sunday. His 605 career receptions eclipsed Marvin Harrison (591) for the 4th-most receptions by a player in their first 100 career games since the 1970 merger. When asked about his 2nd game with 19 targets this season Keenan responded by saying, “I think it allows you to get into a rhythm; get into your bag as we would say. You just feel more comfortable and comfortable every time and at that point it’s like, I don’t think they’re going to be able to stop me all day!” I also asked him how aware of the numbers his
quarterback Justin Herbert is putting up and said to us, “We know he’s balling! We just play football man and what happens, happens!”
I am thoroughly enjoying watching Justin come in a take this league by storm. Each week he is increasing his standard and doing so in the humblest of fashions. When asked about leading this team and accomplishing what he has this season, he often credits his teammates for his success. Post-game I asked him about him being vocal and his preparation for this matchup and he confidently responded by saying, “I think we did a great job this past week, like we do every week, of getting prepared watching film; having great weeks of practice and we went out there and executed. Mike, Keenan, and Hunt they made some big plays. The guys up front, they blocked their tails off and they gave us enough time to get the ball off, so good things will happen when we do that.”
Kindly share your thoughts on what you’ve seen from this Herbert led offense and how you see them finishing this season. I can be reached at @whatsgoodnsport on Twitter or you can forward any suggestions on what topics or angles you’d like to see things discussed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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