Chargers’ Justin Herbert got a passing grade in the first 3 seasons

INGLEWOOD, California — Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert pretended to throw a hand, rolled to his right, stabilized his feet, then glided through the night air to send a pass.

Herbert’s 55-yard laser landed in the outstretched arms of wide receiver Mike Williams and clapped across SoFi Stadium.

The pass came in the third quarter and was part of a six-game drive that resulted in a field goal that boosted the Bolts to a 23-17 win over the Miami Dolphins and kept hopes alive for Los Angeles’ first playoff berth in four seasons. .

But for Herbert, deep completion meant more than just another important game, as he beat former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for the most passing yards in a quarterback’s first three NFL seasons.

“I have great respect for Andrew Luck,” said Herbert. “For him as a football player, as a person, as a teammate – I think it’s great to be in the same conversation with him.”

Herbert collected 13,056 passing yards at 44 starts. Luck had 12,957 passing yards in his first three seasons, followed by Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who had 12,287 in his first three seasons.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen caught 240 passes for 2,530 yards in nearly three seasons with Herbert.

“It’s just getting better, it’s just getting started,” Allen said. “He’s about to blow up this league.”

Against the Dolphins, Herbert completed 39 of 51 passes for 367 yards and scored a touchdown as the Bolts advanced 7-6.

When asked about his passing-heavy game plan, Herbert said, “As a quarterback, I’d love to selfishly throw the ball.” “I wish we could just put everything aside. I think that’s the kind of game plan we went with. We knew it was going to be that kind of game.”

It was Herbert’s 21st career game with over 300 passing yards, two more than any other player in his first three seasons – again ahead of Luck.

“He played with great energy tonight that really impressed his teammates in a positive way,” said manager Brandon Staley. “He played a lot of winning games, he made really good decisions throughout the game.”

Sunday night was when Herbert had both Allen and wide receiver Mike Williams for the entire game for the first time this season. Going into Sunday, Allen and Williams had only played 5.7 percent of the Bolts’ 811 snaps together due to injuries.

Williams has returned from a high ankle sprain that has limited himself to just six snaps since Week 7. He caught six 116-yard passes, including a 10-yard touchdown that Herbert threw behind the end zone, which required 6 feet. -4 Williams will bounce to catch up before he can get both toes down, even though his momentum carries him behind the end zone.

“I knew Mike could go upstairs and get him,” Herbert said. “He’s done an incredible job getting his feet on the edge.”

“I felt pretty good, I just wanted to be available the whole game,” Williams said. “I felt comfortable. It got a little tight in the end but I was still able to play and move.”

Allen caught 12 passes for 92 yards and marked his 10th career game with at least 12 receptions—the highest point in NFL history.

Herbert has completed passes to nine different players for the fourth time this season.

“The offense we love to play is where people touch the ball,” Staley said. “I thought we played football well enough. Like I said, Justin was great at making decisions tonight.”

Defensively, despite playing unsafe, Derwin James Jr., defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day and cornerback Bryce Callahan capped Bolts quarterback Tua Tagavailoa for 145 passing yards and one goal as the third-year quarterback completed only 10 of 28 tries. His completion rate is 36 percent, the lowest level of his career.

“The game plan was simple,” said Korner Michael Davis. “We were playing fast and loose.”

With the victory, the Chargers’ chances of winning a playoff berth increased from 60 percent to 79 percent, according to ESPN analytics. The Bolts are currently 7th seeded in the AFC, tied 7-6 with the New York Jets – but have a better conference record.

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