INGLEWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a pass to Los Angeles Chargers Running Back Austin Ekeler (30) during an NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Chargers on November 21, 2021, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire/Getty Photos

The Los Angeles Chargers had been 100 percent proper in their resolution to fabricate the total organization thru quarterback Justin Herbert, who now sits on the precipice of the league’s elite quarterbacks. 

Brandon Staley saw the aptitude within the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year when he turned head coach and knew the actual direction the franchise could maybe also merely still take long before video games started this autumn. 

“I indispensable our offense to bustle thru Justin Herbert … I indispensable him to assemble it work and I feel that’s what’s been fun to form of get started,” Staley said all the intention thru an interview on “The Athletic Football Show cowl” in June (h/t Hayley Elwood of the Chargers’ official net site). 

“I feel that sooner or later, these are the most unhealthy quarterbacks you defend, where the quarterback becomes the machine.” 

Herbert rewarded his coach’s faith by elevating his play all the intention thru his second season. Sunday’s performance in opposition to the Pittsburgh Steelers at SoFi Stadium locations Herbert among the league’s 5-most efficient quarterbacks beneath the age of 30. 

At some stage within the wild 41-37 victory, the second-year signal-caller achieved 73.2 percent of his passes and threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns. The quarterback additionally contrivance a brand contemporary career-excessive with 90 speeding yards. More importantly, the 23-year-ragged made the right kind study, known a disguised coverage and achieved a 53-yard touchdown plod to vast receiver Mike Williams whereas trailing tiring within the fourth quarter. 

“The recognition on that throw … they’re playing entice where the cornerback is baiting him into throwing it to Keenan [Allen] within the flat,” Staley told reporters. “And he’s maybe going to wait on on it to remove it and return it for a touchdown. And Justin knew he became as soon as ready on it. And he ripped it to Mike within the turkey-hole shot to shut it out. And that is true quarterbacking stuff.” 

In resolution to “Chargering,” the Chargers’ leading artificial the a truly powerful play to swing an abysmal fourth-quarter crew effort and turned it into a victory. Historically, the Chargers misplaced a majority of these video games. They held a 27-10 third-quarter lead most efficient to get a study the ball bounce the Steelers’ formula a pair of times with a Mike Tomlin squad that had no plan of quitting. When it mattered the most and Los Angeles desperately indispensable a play in what turned a shootout, the most efficient participant on the sector came up astronomical. 

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Linked Press

To extra emphasize the significance of Herbert’s tiring-game heroics, the 6-4 Chargers within the mean time get the AFC’s sixth seed. If Los Angeles would get misplaced, they’d maybe perhaps be .500 and tied for 10th within the conference. 

The AFC bustle is vast launch with extra than one proficient squads faltering in most recent weeks. Consistency from the quarterback contrivance, especially one as proficient as Herbert, affords an edge. 

If truth be told, the Steelers had no true answer to the Herbert-led Chargers offense.

Pittsburgh’s comeback relied on a blocked punt deep in Los Angeles territory and a fluke batted plod-turned-interception that ricocheted off Cameron Heyward’s helmet. Those two plays saved it shut and even gave Pittsburgh a small advantage for a short duration. Otherwise, the Steelers did now not cease the Chargers within the first half and most efficient bought one other cease, with the exception of for these already talked about. 

Herbert and Co. continually marched the ball downfield with 5 scoring drives of 70 or extra yards, collectively with a 12-play, 98-yard force within the second quarter. Herbert threw with drag and accuracy. If now now not for a couple of ailing-timed drops, in particular by his tight ends, the quarterback’s numbers would had been even better.

Pittsburgh did now not get an answer for Herbert’s athleticism, either. At any time when the 6’6″ gunslinger broke the pocket, he saved his offense before the chains. The Steelers could maybe now not be aggressive, because Herbert could maybe also beat him by whipping plod after plod to launch receivers. If Pittsburgh selected to play it safe with deep zone coverage, the quarterback merely gained yards with his feet.

“Phase of the job as a quarterback is to pass the chains in any intention vital,” Staley said. “That’s what he did tonight. They blitzed us a pair of times tonight where he became as soon as in a position to pass, take care of a whereas, then lengthen the play and assemble some first downs for us. He became as soon as impossible.”

Inglewood, CA, Sunday, November 14, 2021 -Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley on the sidelines during a game against the Minnesota Vikings at SoFi Stadium. Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Robert Gauthier/Getty Photos

The 533 yards surrendered are the most by a Steelers defense since 2013, per Trib Are residing’s Joe Rutter. Granted, Pittsburgh did now not get T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick or Joe Haden within the lineup. Alternatively, the Chargers moved the ball with out considerations on a well-coached crew and Herbert is the wonderful reason as to why.  

From a league-vast viewpoint, Herbert could maybe also merely still be considered within the the same category because the Dallas Cowboys‘ Dak Prescott, Arizona Cardinals‘ Kyler Murray, Baltimore Ravens‘ Lamar Jackson and Kansas Metropolis Chiefs‘ Patrick Mahomes. Powerful love the Buffalo Funds‘ Josh Allen final year, though he’s within the mean time struggling, the onus falls on the elevation of the quarterback’s play to propel the total roster. 

The Chargers produce get swish skill contrivance players in Williams, Allen, Jared Cook dinner, Donald Parham Jr. and Austin Ekeler. At the the same time, Herbert’s aggregate of being the league’s most dynamic downfield passer coupled with his athleticism to assemble exterior of setting up assemble him merely about very now maybe now not to defend when utilized accurately. 

Going into this weekend’s video games, Herbert already graded as a top-four quarterback, per Legitimate Football Focal level’ Jarad Evans. He ranked first with a 134 passer score on throws of 20 or extra yards downfield and fifth in opposition to disguised coverages. He did these items despite within the abet of ranking because the fourth-lowest within the percentage of deep passing per dropback

INGLEWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a pass to Los Angeles Chargers Running Back Austin Ekeler (30) during an NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Chargers on November 21, 2021, a

Icon Sportswire/Getty Photos

As long because the Chargers teaching workers creates opportunities to push the ball downfield, which hasn’t took contrivance as generally in most recent weeks, the total offense opens up and creates extra contrivance for each person else. That is when Los Angeles is in truth unhealthy because Ekeler is dynamic working in contrivance. Allen and Williams can feed off one one other. The astronomical tight ends are extra-than-competent working the center of the sector. The success hinges on the right kind distributor within the backfield, and Herbert is the actual match. 

In that regard, Herbert suits with the league’s elite. He helps to elevate the play of these spherical him even when the total thing is now now not supreme.

As Ben Roethlisberger stared all the intention thru from the other aspect of the sector, the aging quarterback saw what he historical to be. Herbert has the scale, arm energy and creativity to be correct as a success all thru his career. If the most fresh version does, he’ll be part of and live among the league’s most efficient for an extended, long time.

Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher List. Apply him on Twitter, @brentsobleski.

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