Justin Herbert continues to put together a dynamite rookie season, as Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn gets closer to being unemployed.
The Los Angeles Chargers are 3-8 this season, with seven one-score losses, but they’ve found their quarterback of the future. Rookie Justin Herbert has topped 3,000 passing yards (3,015; 301.5 yards per game) in his 10 starts, with 23 touchdown passes.
The rookie record for passing yards is 4,374, set by Andrew Luck in 2012. The rookie record for passing touchdowns is 27, set by Baker Mayfield in 2018. To reach the yardage record Herbert needs to average 271.8 passing yards per game over the last five games, so that’s a little more daunting to get to in 15 total games. But his 2.3 passing touchdowns per game to this point puts him on pace for 34 or 35, which would set the record with room to spare.
Herbert has earned back-to-back NFL Rookie of the Month Awards in October and November. But things could have gone another direction.
Anthony Lynn tried to commit to Tyrod Taylor over Justin Herbert
As a nod to the lack of a traditional offseason and training camp with no preseason games, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn remained committed to Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback. Taylor started Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he struggled in a narrow win. He also emerged from that game with a rib issue.
Just before Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Herbert got word he’d be making his first NFL start against the defending Super Bowl champions. He did well, topping 300 yards through the air with two total touchdowns in a 23-20 overtime loss. Then, news surfaced that the Chargers medical staff had given Taylor a pain-killing injection for his ribs and punctured his lung.
Herbert has asserted himself as the Chargers’ quarterback of the present and future. Taylor would have had to play better than he did in Week 1 to keep the starting job for long, but the medical mishap made that a moot point. If he had been healthy and the Chargers had won some games, there would’ve been a case to stick with Taylor as the starter until further notice. And the winning angle would have definitely been one Lynn latched himself onto as the case to keep Herbert on the bench.
Lynn’s undoing is not rooted in what had been his steadfast commitment to Taylor. But while Herbert pushes toward winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, Lynn is getting closer to the unemployment line. A head coach and a young quarterback that looks like a star in the making have rarely been on such divergent paths.