Herbert, Chargers choose up the place final season ended, at Raiders

For somebody paid effectively to harass them, Joey Bosa lately discovered himself disarmed by a quarterback.

The second got here throughout Chargers coaching camp, proper after Justin Herbert scrambled out of the pocket and sprinted down the sideline for a protracted achieve, delighting the followers in attendance.

In fact, his teammates on protection weren’t permitted to deal with, hit or get significantly near Herbert. So …

“I talked some crap to him,” Bosa recalled. “Then I instantly felt terrible because he’s like, ‘What, Joey, come on. I love you.’ That’s Justin, such a great guy, exactly the type of person you want at that position.”

Coming into his third season, Herbert is coming off the primary of what may very well be many Professional Bowl choices, already an NFL record-setter and undeniably established as this staff’s subsequent franchise quarterback.

He’ll make his thirty third profession begin when the Chargers face Las Vegas at 1:25 p.m. Sunday at SoFi Stadium, providing nonetheless extra prospects — concerning his future in addition to the staff’s.

“In truth, whoever was in there, we’d have confidence,” working again Austin Ekeler mentioned. “That’s the nature of football and that position. But with Justin, it does give you a little more feeling of, ‘OK, we really have a chance here.’”

Herbert proved simply that in absurd vogue in his most up-to-date recreation, additionally towards the Raiders, in Week 18 of final season. Trailing by 15 factors, the Chargers scored twice within the ultimate 5 minutes to power extra time.

Herbert handed to Joshua Palmer for the primary rating, changing on fourth and 21 with a 23-yard completion. He then related with Mike Williams for a 12-yard landing, one which got here as time expired.

“I’ve talked about it with other guys at the Pro Bowl,” extensive receiver Keenan Allen mentioned. “In the fourth quarter, that quarterback can either win the game or he can’t. If he can’t, good luck. We got a guy who can win the game.”

Whereas true — Herbert directed 5 successful drives within the fourth quarter final season — the Chargers didn’t beat Las Vegas in that Week 18 showdown. The Raiders prevailed on a subject objective on the ultimate play of extra time.

The defeat knocked the Chargers from playoff rivalry on a day once they would have superior with nothing worse than a tie. In a recreation the Chargers led for just one minute 15 seconds of the second quarter, this one felt like a triumph misplaced.

So, they trudged off the sphere at Allegiant Stadium and into an offseason that arrived like a slap to the face.

“We fought to the end,” Williams mentioned when requested what he remembered most about that evening. “And we lost. I was upset, hurt, down. I felt like we had a team that, if we had made the playoffs, we had a chance to make noise.”

The sport was a traditional and underscored Herbert’s sweeping impression. Simply take into account:

— The Chargers compelled extra time regardless of speeding for under seven yards within the third and fourth quarters mixed.

— Herbert nonetheless produced the game-tying landing on the finish of regulation although he started the drive by throwing incompletions on eight of 9 makes an attempt. A fourth-down penalty on the Raiders stored the possession alive.

— The Chargers transformed solely 4 third downs for the sport however six fourth downs, every one approaching a Herbert completion.

“Having a guy that can control the game, a guy that in the fourth quarter can dominate the game, that means so much to an organization,” Allen mentioned. “I never take that for granted.”

When the Chargers drafted Herbert sixth total in 2020, Bosa acknowledged that he had “no knowledge of him at all.” Herbert made his debut in Week 2, filling in when Tyrod Taylor was unable to begin towards Kansas Metropolis.

His first profession move was incomplete. Then Herbert related with working again Joshua Kelley for a 35-yard achieve. 4 performs later, Herbert scrambled for a four-yard landing and, quickly sufficient, even Bosa would know loads about him.

“He’s such a great teammate, so humble and team-first,” Bosa mentioned. “He’ll apologize after throwing for 400 yards because he just didn’t do enough to win. That’s him.”

When talking to the media, Herbert routinely deflects credit score to his offensive linemen and his receivers. Right here’s the factor: Williams mentioned he does the identical in staff conferences.

Herbert doesn’t discuss soccer as a job however as a ardour, explaining that he will get bored within the offseason when practices cease. Throughout his media session Friday to debate this recreation, Herbert used the phrase “great” eight occasions.

“The energy around this guy is amazing,” Williams mentioned. “Everybody can feel the high hopes and the potential. He brings up everyone’s spirits.”

Herbert will attempt to raise the Chargers once more Sunday, this time towards an opponent that eight months in the past left them about as little as they may go.