Justin Herbert, the 2020 NFL first-round pick from Oregon, raised many eyebrows this season. Only his second season with the Los Angeles Chargers, Herbert seemed to always put on a show. With 5,014 passing yards this season, and 38 touchdowns, including 3 of his own, Herbert is giving veteran quarterbacks a run for their money.
According to NFL Stats, Herbert spent the season averaging the same completion rate as Patrick Mahomes at 66%, and Herbert is breaking records and setting the bar high for the 2022-23 season. Although a heartbreaking loss to the Raiders in overtime to miss the playoffs, Herbert had some of the best highlights and moments from this season. Here is a look at the top five most memorable moments from Justin Herbert and the Chargers.
#1 Chargers Single-Season Passing Record
On Sunday, January 2nd, against the Denver Broncos, Herbert broke another Chargers record. Passing the great Phillip Rivers, Herbert threw his 35th touchdown to Mike Williams for him to break the record for most single-season passing touchdowns in franchise history. Even doing it in style, the 45-yard scoring pass would put the Bolts up 34-6 against the Broncos and would eventually walk away with a Week 17 victory.
#2 Makes NFL History on Monday Night Football
On Monday, October 4th, against the Raiders, Herbert made NFL history by becoming the first quarterback to complete more than 500 passes before his 20th career start. Leading the chargers to a win in Week 4, Herbert had only 19 career starts at the time and had broken 12 NFL records already, including most passing TD as a rookie (31), most passes completed by a rookie (396), most games with 300+ passing yards as a rookie (8), and most passing yards in the 1st half of a game since 1991 (277). Starting off the season strong and accomplished, Herbert would go on to add numbers to all of these record breaks and blow expectations out of the water.
#3 Can’t-Miss Play
Down by 15 with only four minutes to play in the 4th quarter, the Chargers need a miracle to have a chance at a playoff game. 4th and 21, with the game on the line, Herbert delivers. An absolute perfect ball is thrown to rookie Joshua Palmer for the touchdown and scored on the 2-point conversion, putting the Chargers down only a touchdown to try to keep their season alive. Herbert and the Chargers go on to lose in overtime by a field goal for a season-ending heartbreak, but this play will be talked about for days to come.
#4 “Best Pass of the NFL Season”
A dime. That’s the best way to describe this pass. Justin Herbert, the Oregon kid with a rocket arm, delivers one of the best passes the NFL has ever seen. With only 25 seconds left in the first half and on their 41-yard line, Herbert launches a bomb into the air and falls into the hands of Jalen Guyton for a 63-yard touchdown. With no time on the clock and an entire stadium in shock, the Chargers will go into halftime with all the energy in their favor.
This would be the second-longest air completed throw of the year, traveling 55 yards in the air. In the second half, Herbert would continue to make plays, ending the game with 30 touchdown passes this year. At 23 years old, Herbert became the very first NFL player in history to throw at least 30 touchdown passes in each of the first two years of his career. And he’s just getting started. The Chargers would go on to win in Week 14 against the New York Giants, 37-21.
#5 Named Pro-Bowl AFC Quarterback
Patrick Mahomes, the 5th year starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs and a country favorite, loses the Pro-Bowl AFC starting quarterback spot to none other than Justin Herbert. As Herbert has been one of the best, if not the best, a quarterback in the AFC this season, it was well deserved. When it comes to Pro Bowl votes, it comes down to three things, players, coaches, and fans.
There was a very good chance Herbert and Mahomes were close to even when it came to players and coaches, both being well respected and well-deserving contestants, but Chargers fans made it happen for their quarterback. Fans blew up social media, portraying their love and support for Herbert, and it paid off. Herbert led all quarterback votes in the AFC and was among the top 10 in votes overall.
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Herbert also won the FedEx Air Player of the week six times in 14 games, more than any other player in the league, and right alongside him were his teammates. The Chargers have six players on the AFC Pro-Bowl team, tieing for second-most in the NFL; both Justin Herbert and the Chargers have something to be proud of this season.