COSTA MESA, California
The stakes for Justin Herbert arguably haven’t been higher since he led Oregon to the Rose Bowl two years ago.
The Los Angeles Chargers quarterback can lead his team to their first playoff spot since 2018 with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night, and Herbert is trying to stay balanced during his preparation.
âIt comes down to this one, and it’s very important to us. But every opportunity to go out there and play football is important to us, and I think we treat her like that,â said Herbert on Friday after the Chargers (9-7) completed their last practice.
A playoff berth would add another leg to what has been a great second season for Herbert. He was selected for his first Pro Bowl as an AFC starting quarterback and is among the league leaders in most passing categories.
Herbert is tied with Tom Brady of Tampa Bay for most games from 300 yards with eight. He’s also tied for second with 35 touchdown passes (a franchise record) and third in yards with 4,631.
In addition to needing 172 yards to break Dan Fouts’ single-season franchise record, which has been around since 1981, Herbert is 22 yards away from becoming the first in league history to exceed 9,000 yards. during its first two years.
Herbert performed at his best in prime time games. He has 14 touchdown passes, just two interceptions and a 109.5 passer rating in those five starts. He also has a pair of 300-yard games, including last season’s Week 15 Thursday night game in Las Vegas, where he had 314 yards and two touchdowns and scored the winning TD on a 1 sneak. yard in overtime.
Herbert’s previous outing on Sunday night this season was also memorable. He threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns Nov. 21 against Pittsburgh, including a 53-yard touchdown against Mike Williams in the fourth quarter. This game is one of five fourth-quarter comebacks for Herbert this season.
âI think some guys get a little more juice or adrenaline when they know all eyes are on them. Justin feels like he’s pretty consistent. Every game day he has that killer instinct, âsaid offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Herbert completed 25 of 38 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers’ 28-14 win on October 4. The Raiders couldn’t go more than 20 yards in that Week 4 game, but Herbert cut out Las Vegas. on short passes with 14 passes completed on screens or within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Herbert isn’t worried about his stats this Sunday.
âIt doesn’t matter how many yards I throw as long as we get the win,â he said. âThey have an incredible seven front and they do a great job of rushing the passer. So we have to be sharp all week.
NOTES: Considering the Chargers can advance to the playoffs with a win or a tie, Staley was repeatedly asked on Friday if knowing he could qualify for the playoffs with a tie would change his strategy . âWe’re just going to have to wait and see this. I don’t think I can speak in absolute terms. I think we will just have to wait and see if this situation manifests itself, and then we will have to be forced to make a decision. It’s definitely going to be a big deal, âStaley said. â¦ Center Corey Linsley, who only played the first quarter last week against Denver before leaving with a back injury, was a full participant in Friday’s practice and will start against the Raiders. Linebacker Drue Tranquill (ankle) remains questionable, while defensive lineman Joe Gaziano (ankle) is absent.
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