KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was left to cautiously enter the coach’s room inside Arrowhead Stadium, his left arm clamped against his bruised ribs, after Los Angeles blasted a 10-point lead at halftime. and lost 27-24 to AFC West rivals Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
Herbert was expected to get X-rays after being crushed by Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna midway through the fourth quarter, but Chargers coach Brandon Staley was quick to say he thought his Pro Bowl quarterback would be well.
Herbert only failed the game after the coup before valiantly trying to rally his team to victory.
“It was just a tough NFL game and he took some big hits. None of those big hits had any impact on him bringing his team back the way he always does,” Staley said. “I think we’ll learn a lot more tomorrow, but I think in that area of being out of breath and (an injury) in that area of the body.”
Asked if he was worried about Herbert’s future, Staley replied, “No, because he’s Justin Herbert.”
Herbert and the Chargers started well, building a 10-0 early lead, and the game was still tied when Herbert was intercepted by Jaylen Watson near Kansas City’s goal line early in the fourth quarter. Watson caught 99 yards in the opposite direction for a touchdown that gave Kansas City a 24-17 lead — a first of the night.
After the teams exchanged punts, Herbert was trying to offload a pass to tight end Gerald Everett when Danna broke free in the middle and landed on his ribs. Herbert remained on the ground for about a minute while the coaches took care of him, then he left the game for one play before telling Staley on the sideline that he was fine to continue.
“I just turned around and saw him on the ground,” Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams said.
Herbert came out and was promptly crushed between Chiefs rushers Frank Clark and George Karlaftis as he threw an incomplete, forcing Los Angeles to punt while still trailing by a touchdown in the closing minutes.
“Our defense hit the quarterback — who’s a mobile guy, a great player — to the point where he’s probably pretty sore after the game,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said later.
The Chiefs added a field goal to extend their lead, but Herbert kept the Chargers alive as he marched them 73 yards in just over 2 minutes for a touchdown. He took a few more hits on the drive, but made a nice throw to DeAndre Carter to convert a fourth down and Joshua Palmer another fourth down for the score.
Los Angeles attempted an onside kick, but the Chiefs bounced back and managed to run out of time.
Herbert, who had won his first two games at Arrowhead Stadium, finished with 334 yards and three touchdowns, but he also made the interception that turned out to be the most important play of the game.
The Chiefs had just kicked a field goal to tie the game with 17 points early in the fourth quarter when Herbert led his team back onto the field. He threw a 26-yard shot to Everett to score first and goal at Kansas City 3, and he was targeting his tight end again when Watson got in front of his errant pass and hit it.
Before the play, Everett looked out of breath and looked like he was asking to leave the game.
Watson went the other way, missed Herbert near midfield and crossed for a 99-yard touchdown that not only gave Kansas City a 24-17 lead – a first of the night – but energized the packed crowd inside Arrowhead. Stadium.
“When he’s tied in the flat, the tight end has the option to come back. I think Justin was hoping he’d come back for it,” Staley said. “But it’s just one of those bad luck things that happened, and we’re going to learn a lot from it.”
Los Angeles was three and out on their next possession, so Herbert took the hit that briefly knocked him out of the game, putting a bitter end to what had been a solid performance by the Chargers on the road.
“I leave it here saying we lost,” Staley said, “(but) I thought we competed as I hope we compete.”
Source : nypost.com