INGLEWOOD, Calif. – (AP) – Even after the Los Angeles Chargers trailed by 28 late in the fourth quarter on a frustrating Sunday afternoon, Justin Herbert persisted with a fractured rib cartilage. in the game.
Brandon Staley agrees with his team’s quarterback’s wishes, and the head coach says he understands the risks he’s taking — whether it’s Herbert’s health or the Chargers’ entire remaining after this embarrassing 38-10 loss season.
“He wanted to go out with his teammates,” Staley said. “He feels good and he wants to finish the game. He wants to give our team some energy and in the end we’ll be there to protect him, very good protection, the best we can do. But it’s more about what he wants to do with His players finish the game together.”
Staley’s refusal to make the traditional, prudent decision left many NFL watchers watching the injury-riddled Chargers play in confusion across the country. Many Boltz fans at SoFi Stadium also couldn’t believe Herbert was also throwing a pass in his third game of the season and could be hit with his team irreparably behind.
“I just don’t want to quit the team,” Herbert said. “(It was) a tough day for us obviously, but I didn’t want to go out and it felt like we got the ball out very quickly. … It’s what the team needs and sometimes you have to put your goals and everything Putting it behind the team[needs]. I think that’s the most important thing. I feel like I’m safe there.”
Herbert wasn’t even sure he would play until he tested his ribs in a pregame warm-up. He clearly didn’t hurt himself more broadly, even though the Jaguars hit a sack and six quarterback hits in the final minute of the game.
Herbert insists the risk is worth it.
“It’s part of the game, dealing with injuries and pain,” Herbert said. “A lot of people in that locker room are not feeling well, it’s all about how you react and react and I’m going to do everything I can to get treatment, take care of my body and hopefully it will pass.”
Herbert said he had no physical limitations on the field, but his accuracy and arm strength didn’t seem to be as good as they used to be, while he was 25 for 45 for 297 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Chargers trailed 13-0 before Herbert’s only touchdown pass late in the first half, and they scored just once.
Herbert’s ribs were battered by Kansas City’s Michael Danner 10 days ago. He extended his regular-season starts to 35, but he practiced little for the week before going 3-for-7 for 27 yards and two turnovers in Bolt’s first four games.
“Justin has that feeling when he’s on the court,” Staley said. “It’s going to be an injury for a while. If you guys know about the injury, it’s not going to feel better next week or the week after.”
The Chargers played all three of their quarterbacks for the first time since their Week 2 2020 game against Kansas City, along with backup Chase Daniel and 3B Easton Stick. Neither received a call.
Herbert declined to say whether he had pain shots in his ribs before the game, but he praised the Chargers’ medical staff. He completed 900 completions and 10,000 yards passing in the loss, becoming the fastest quarterback to reach the completion milestone in NFL history.
The injury is Herbert’s first major health setback since the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft — but it’s not just Herbert’s ribs that should be concerned with the Chargers (1-2), a welcome preseason Game picks, there are holes in danger of getting caught early in the season.
Injury issues topped Bolt’s roster, who were without a few key players in their second straight loss. Herbert and the Chargers face Jacksonville without top receiver Keenan Allen. Corey Linsley, their starting center; and JC Jackson, their top cornerback.
Things got worse when the game started.
Los Angeles lost Joey Bosa to a groin injury in the first half, and the star passer watched the second half in casual clothes. Left tackle LaShawn Slater injured his bicep early in the second half, and receiver Jaren Gayton injured his knee while attempting a long catch with 1:54 left.
“(Herbert) threw the ball well today, throughout the warm-up and the game,” Staley said. “As a football team, we didn’t do well enough at all stages today.”
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