LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Now 8-5 on the season, the Chargers will continue to fight for a playoff spot after their 37-21 drubbing of the New York Giants (4-9). Hometown fans at SoFi Stadium on Sunday were treated to the fourth-largest offensive output from the Chargers this season.
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Justin Herbert showed flashes of the greatness Bolts fans have grown accustomed to over the last two seasons, putting up a 275 yard passing performance, with three touchdowns to boot. It was the first game since November 7 that Herbert hadn’t thrown an interception.
Herbert now has 30 passing touchdowns on the season and is nearing the 4,000 passing yard milestone, with 3,822 through 13 games.
He became just the fourth rookie in NFL history to eclipse the 4,000 yard mark in 2020, and should he do it again this season he would be just the second quarterback to start his career with back-to-back 4,000 yard seasons and the first to do it with at least 30 passing touchdowns in each of those campaigns. The other is current New Orleans Saints player Jameis Winston, when he began his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015.
The Chargers started off their high-scoring affair four minutes into the contest, when running back Austin Ekeler bullied his way into the end zone on a 1-yard rush, his ninth rushing touchdown this season and 16th overall.
Without usual starting quarterback Daniel Jones (neck injury) once again, the Giants relied on backup Mike Glennon to shoulder the load. He led the New York offensive on a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, ending with a 3-yard floater over the head of Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray, and into the hands of Giants’ fullback Elijhaa Penny.
From there, it was all Chargers – often.
They would punt the ball just twice until the fourth quarter, when starters were removed from the game, scoring 27 straight points.
The Chargers would cap off their second-straight nine-play, 60-yard drive with a 12-yard dime to receiver Josh Palmer, who saw his role increase with the absence of Keenan Allen; due to COVID-19 protocols. It was the rookie’s second receiving touchdown this season.
Perhaps the highlight of the day was Herbert’s 59-yard passing touchdown to Jalen Guyton – an immaculate heave of nearly 60 yards, that soared over the outstretched hands of two Giants’ defenders and into those of Guyton. The pass has already been labeled as “pass of the year” by ESPN.
Herbert’s final touchdown on the day – a 1-yard laser to tight end Jared Cook – put the finishing touches on a nearly perfect day – as he finished the game with a 133.1 QB Rating.READ MORE: Chargers Fire Two Special Teams Coaches
The Chargers finished with just over 150 yards rushing on Sunday, most of which came from Ekeler (67 yards), who was followed by Justin Jackson (35 yards) and Joshua Kelley (33 yards).
In Allen’s absence, nine different Bolts had at least one reception, with Mike Williams leading the way with six. He finished the game with 61 yards receiving. Guyton had 87 on five catches and Palmer finished with 66.
Chargers placekicker Dustin Hopkins was perfect on the day – going 3-for-3 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra point attempts. His longest was a 39-yard boot.
Heading into the fourth quarter the Chargers were up 30-7, with the Giants tacking on 14 points in garbage time, when the Chargers had removed several starters from the game. Chase Daniel, second string quarterback for the Bolts, got in for just two drive, handing the ball off three times in a quick three-and-out and kneeling twice to end the game.
Los Angeles’ defense was impressive, allowing less than 100 yards rushing to phenom Saquon Barkley – holding him to less than 100 total yards on the game. He did however sneak past the secondary late in the fourth quarter for an 18-yard receiving touchdown.
They allowed just over 300 yards in the game, and Joey Bosa and Justin Jones added one sack each to their season totals. Bosa now has 7.5 sacks in 2021. Bosa’s sack resulted in a fumble from Glennon, his fourth forced fumble this season.
The Chargers capped off the victory with an interception in the final minute, when Giants’ QB Mike Glennon floated a pass off the hands of his intended receiver – and into the arms of Chargers’ linebacker Nick Niemann.
They still hold on to the second spot in the AFC West Standings behind the Kansas City Chiefs, who are now 9-4 this season – fighting for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC as the league nears playoffs.
Heading into Week 14 the Chargers had a 50% chance of earning a spot – they currently hold the No. 5 seed in the AFC.
Next week the Bolts head into one of their toughest matchups of the season, as they face off against the Chiefs, who have won seven of their last eight games, and finished a thorough thrashing of the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday – 48-9.
Los Angeles stole a victory in Week 3 of the NFL season, a 30-24 win where the Bolts defense picked off reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes twice, while Herbert threw for four touchdowns.MORE NEWS: Chargers Fumble Their Way Out Of Playoffs, Fall To Raiders In Overtime 35-32
This game is scheduled for Thursday night at 5:20 p.m. Pacific Time.