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Chargers Rookie Justin Herbert Reveals Various Skills As L.A. Drops Jaguars

Hours before the Los Angeles Dodgers prevailed over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series, L.A. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn mentioned hitting the dirt.

But it wasn’t the Dodgers’ baserunners Lynn was referring to after the Chargers snapped a four-game losing streak in thumping the Jacksonville Jaguars, 39-29, on Sunday.

Lynn’s message was for one Justin Patrick Herbert, his scramblin’, ramblin’ and rookie quarterback.

“A couple of times there I need him to get down,’’ said Lynn, after Herbert rushed for a team-high 66 yards, the most ever by a Chargers quarterback. “He put his shoulder down…the sideline kind of erupted when he did that. That’s the way he leads sometimes. But in this league, I want you to slide.’’

What’s most important is the Chargers’ skid is kaput after they managed to grasp a double-digit lead, relinquish it, and rally back behind Herbert. With his two legs contributing as much as his right arm, the Chargers (2-4) possibly saved a season which was circling the drain.

“Make no mistake about it, we are swimming upstream,’’ Lynn told reporters. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of character to turn this thing around.’’

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Herbert twisted Jaguars defenders in various directions when talking flight with his targets covered. That causes Lynn to cover his eyes as the 6-foot-6, 236-pound Herbert threw caution to the wind when not tossing footballs through the air.

Herbert broke his seal as a NFL winning quarterback after completing 27 of 43 attempts for three touchdowns and 347 yards. He added a rushing touchdown from five yards out for the go-ahead margin.

The draft’s sixth overall pick continues to make the Chargers’ brain trust look smart. An observer would be hard-pressed to ignore the multiple skills of Herbert, who ran for three touchdowns in Oregon’s 2020 Rose Bowl victory.

“We know that he has that,’’ Lynn said. “I’m excited about the way he is growing mentally and how his team is responding to him as a young leader.’’

Herbert does so by drawing attention to others, passing the praise around like he distributes the football with three different receivers scoring on Sunday.

“The defense stepped up big and so did special teams,’’ Herbert said. “I’m really glad of the way the guys battled and put together all four quarters.’’

Herbert has been a shining light for the Chargers during a dark season best known for L.A. blowing big leads, which come to think of it, applied to the Dodgers, too.

But Herbert started and finished his first win with a flair, something the signal-caller with stringy hair and pimples on his young face has done with amazing consistency.

Herbert joined the Houston Texans’ DeShaun Watson as the only NFL rookie quarterbacks to heave three touchdown passes in three consecutive games.

That’s not luck. That’s also true of Herbert’s production when he decides to tuck-and-run, his coach’s trepidation be damned.

“Any time you can force the defense to play 11-on-11 it gives us an advantage,’’ said Herbert, whose 31-yard rush on a read-option was the longest by a Chargers quarterback since 1988, which oddly enough, is the last time the Dodgers won the World Series.

“It’s pretty fun to run the ball, too,’’ Herbert said. “So any time I get the chance to keep it I have to be smart about getting down and getting our of bounds.’’

If he lands at Lynn’s feet after a carry, it will come with a warning.

“Your quarterback’s got to learn to slide and get down and not take that unnecessary hit,’’ Lynn said.

Herbert has been a smash in his debut season. There’s a song about nobody walking in L.A. and Lynn would be prefer his quarterback with Oregon roots add to that by not running — much.

“(His mobility) won’t be the focal point of our offense, no,’’ Lynn stressed. “But now and then you may see something like that.’’

Even Ducks know how to waddle and Herbert showed enough wiggle to earn his initial NFL victory. He also duplicated a feat accomplished by another ex-Duck, a rare bearded one, that also starred for the Chargers.

Not since Dan Fouts in 1983 had a Chargers quarterback thrown for three touchdowns and rushed for another in a game.

Both pledge their allegiance to Oregon and the pair was thrilled the big ‘0’ under Herbert’s won-loss record was run out of town.

“To put together four quarters like we did was huge for us,’’ Herbert said. “It’s a big step forward.’’

Source: Forbes – Business

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