The questions after the game for Chargers coach Brandon Staley were not about the 38-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Instead, it was about why his quarterback played, how he felt like he played, and why he let him play so long.
At one point, the Chargers were down 38-10 with about five minutes left in the game, with the Jaguars coming off scoring another seven points. It was quite surprising to see quarterback Justin Herbert hit the field.
“He wanted to be out there with his teammates,” Staley said. “He felt good, and he wanted to finish the game. He wanted to give our group some energy.”
The quarterback agreed.
“I just did not want to quit on the team,” Herbert said. “It was, obviously, a tough day for us, but I did not want to go out.”
It was the end of the game. Herbert could have been hurt, especially with left tackle Rashawn Slater and center Corey Linsley missing. The coaching staff decided to let him finish the game.
“That’s the first thought throughout the game and at the end of the game,” Staley said. “Trust me, there’s no one that is thinking about it more than I am.”
After the blowout, Chargers defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day got up and said something to the team.
“Sebastian [Joseph-Day], he may be new to this team, but he’s not new to the NFL,” Staley explained. “He knows what it takes. He was elected captain for a reason, because his teammates see him that way. If it had not been him, it would have been somebody else. It’s not just him. That’s the way you want your teams to be.”
- Justin Herbert tried but didn’t look the same
No one will dispute how tough Herbert is because playing a full game with discomfort is not ideal.
“It’s part of the game, dealing with injuries and dealing with pain,” Herbert said. “A lot of the guys in that locker room do not feel great. It’s all about how you react and how you respond. I’m going to do everything I can to go to treatment, take care of my body, until hopefully this thing can go away.”
There were some notable throws where he didn’t look the same. At the top of the second quarter, Herbert looked down the field but hesitated to pull the trigger instead took a strip sack and gave the Jags the ball back at the 28-yard line and in position to score.
Herbert threw an interception that wasn’t his fault and lost a fumble, so in his mind, it wasn’t a good performance.
“It was not a great day by any means. Unfortunately, we lost, and that’s the tough part about it. There is nothing we can do now to change that. We have to have a good week of practice, watch the film tomorrow, and get after it this week.”
After the game, the third-year quarterback didn’t say if he received the injection to his ribs. He wanted to keep that private.
He did have a 54-yard bomb to Jalen Guyton that showed the superhuman quarterback is still in there regardless if he is hurting.
- Defense couldn’t slow down the run, or Lawrence
The defense that faced the Jaguars on Sunday looked like the 2021 Chargers defense, which depended heavily on Joey Bosa and Derwin James.
At times, they couldn’t stop the run or get off the field on third down.
“I felt like, in the first half, we hung tough,” Staley said. “In the first half, we gave ourselves a chance. Then, that fourth-and-one run that split us for 51 [yards], that really took the air out of us.”
James Robinson had 17 carries for 100 yards and one touchdown, while Travis Etienne added another 45 on the ground.
Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence was like a statue of a Greek God in Greece, well protected and full of security. He wasn’t sacked and only hit twice. He was able to stand in the pocket and, at times, go through his progression with ease. Receivers Zay Jones and Christian Kirk combined for 16 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
“We tried to mix up the rush plan,” Staley said. “We just didn’t win enough one-on-ones today. They did, and you have to give credit to them. They played a good game.”
- Too many injuries hitting at once
The Chargers lost receiver Jalen Guyton, edge rusher Joey Bosa, and left tackle Rashawn Slater. Guyton left the locker room in crutches, Bosa left with his groin area wrapped up, and Slater had left arm in a sling.
They came into this game missing receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring), center Corey Linsley (knee), and cornerback J.C. Jackson (ankle).
There is too much talent on the sideline, plus the Chargers backups at each position are nowhere near as good as the starter. That is five missing pro bowlers.
The biggest problem with the list of the five pro bowlers is the unknown of when any of those players may return. Allen is probably the closest one, and that is still up in the air.
- Jaguars might be better than people think
These are not Urban Meyer’s Jaguars. Lawrence looked like a pro bowl quarterback throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns. His offensive line gave him enough time for him to be able to go through his different reads and make the correct play.
Their defense held the Chargers to 10 points…10!
The Jaguars aren’t going to be a Super Bowl contender, but they are the lead dog in the AFC South. They beat the Colts down last week, and those same Colts beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in a close game. Doug Pederson and the Jaguars aren’t the doormats they used to be. These Jaguars are going to give teams trouble.