The Los Angeles Chargers had a win in the bag, but their bad luck arrived at the worst possible time
On Monday night, it looked like it was going to be Justin Herbert’s moment. The sixth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft lit up the New Orleans Saints, specifically in the first half and late in the fourth-quarter. This was Herbert’s best chance to earn his first-career win as the starting quarterback of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Unfortunately, the Chargers bad luck showed up at the worst possible time. A 50-yard field goal attempt off the upright and a fourth-down stop in overtime allowed the Saints to pull out the 30-27 victory.
Herbert’s magic wasn’t enough for Los Angeles
The Chargers held a 20-3 lead in the first half, before their defense surrendered 17 unanswered points by the Saints offense. It certainly didn’t help that Keenan Allen was ruled out for the remainder of the game after suffering a back injury, which subsequently caused the Chargers offense to stall out for the entirety of the third quarter.
But, Herbert managed to reawaken in the fourth quarter, as he noticed a lapse in coverage by New Orleans’ defense to hit wide receiver Mike Williams for an uncontested 64-yard touchdown. After the Saints tied the game up at 27-27 on a Taysom Hill red zone run, the rookie signal caller put the Chargers in field goal range after a clutch dime pass to Williams over two Saints defenders. The cameras showed kicker Michael Badgley hit 58-yard field goals pre-game, so 50-yards would be nothing. However, the Chargers’ kicking woes in crunch time showed up, as Badgley’s kick careened right and hit the goal post.
In overtime, the Chargers defense allowed the Saints to drive deep in their red zone, but stiffened up to force the Saints to settle on a 36-yard field goal by Wil Lutz, putting them up 30-27. Los Angeles had five minutes on the clock to tie or win the game. Herbert couldn’t connect with tight end Hunter Henry or wide receiver K.J. Hill, forcing a fourth-down. The rookie would hit Williams in the middle of the field, but was stopped a yard short of the first-down marker by Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore to end the game.
Herbert ended the night completing 20 of his 34 passes for 264 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. But, it just wasn’t enough. Now, the Chargers own a 3-13 record in one-score games since 2019, a record the team would like to expunge from their memories quickly.