Herbert leads Chargers to 39-29 victory over Jaguars
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — At last, a victory.
Justin Herbert reached a few milestones in his first four NFL starts. The Los Angeles Chargers quarterback didn’t accomplish the one thing that mattered most: leading his team to a win.
Herbert had another superlative game Sunday, this time in a winning effort. The rookie threw for a season-high 347 yards and three touchdowns as well as running for a score as the Chargers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 39-29 to snap a four-game losing streak.
“I think we put together a full game,” said Herbert, who completed 27 of 43 passes. “It’s an awesome feeling especially considering how the past couple games have gone. It got dicey when they blocked that punt in the third quarter, but we never got down on ourselves.”
Herbert, the sixth overall pick in April’s draft, also rushed for 66 yards, a single-game high for a Chargers QB. He also joined Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow as the only rookie quarterbacks in NFL history with 300 yards, at least three passing TDs, and one rushing in a game. Burrow did that earlier Sunday in the Bengals’ 37-34 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
The Chargers (2-4) squandered a double-digit lead for the fourth time in five games, but this time were able to rally. The Jaguars were ahead 29-22 late in the third quarter when Los Angeles regained control by scoring the final 17 points.
Herbert connected with Jalen Guyton for a 70-yard touchdown up the right sideline to tie it. Four plays after Tevaughn Campbell forced Dede Westbrook’s fumble the ensuing kickoff — Troymaine Pope recovered at the Jaguars 19 — Herbert scrambled around right end from 5 yards to put the Chargers in front 36-29. Michael Badgley would tack on a field goal to extend the margin by more than one score.
“He was a major contributor He delivered the ball and created with his feet. He extended drives and showed versatility,” said Lynn of Herbert. “We needed that win in a bad way as a team. I’m glad we got it done, but man, we have a lot of work to do.”
Jacksonville (1-6) has a six-game losing streak for the second straight year and tied an NFL record by allowing 30 or more points in six consecutive games. James Robinson led the Jaguars with 119 rushing yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving).
“It’s one of those things, you just find yourselves in a funk, and you need to have a couple of plays to get yourself out of it,” said Gardner Minshew, who was 14 of 27 for 173 yards with two TDs.
The Chargers jumped to a 16-0 second-quarter lead before Jacksonville scored 21 straight points to go up by five early in the third quarter.
The Jaguars did not get their initial first down until nearly 20 minutes in, but trailed by only 16-14 at halftime. Robinson put Jacksonville on the board with a 4-yard run and then caught a 9-yard screen pass TD with 11 seconds left in the half.
Jacksonville went up 21-16 when Daniel Thomas blocked Ty Long’s punt and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown.
Virgil Green put LA back on top 22-21 with a 26-yard reception in the left corner of the end zone, but the 2-point conversion failed. The Jaguars answered when Chris Conley drew single coverage from Michael Davis and hauled in a 28-yard TD pass. Ben Ellefson caught the 2-point conversion to put the Jaguars up by seven.
QUICK OUT OF THE GATES AGAIN
Los Angeles once again got off to a fast start. After Badgley’s 35-yard field goal on the opening drive, rookie Joe Reed scored his first NFL touchdown on a 7-yard jet sweep around right end. It was the Chargers’ first rushing touchdown since Herbert in Week 2 against Kansas City. But Badgley missed the extra point for a second straight game.
Parham became the first Chargers player in 42 years to get touchdowns on each of his first two NFL catches when he drew single coverage for a 22-yard pass from Herbert in the second quarter to extend the lead to 16-0.
THE RUNNING QB
Herbert became the first Chargers quarterback since Mark Malone in 1988 to have a 30-yard run, He went 31 yards on a read-option during the first quarter to help set up Badgley’s first field goal.
“We knew for a big guy, he’s really fast,” Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone said. “He did a good job keeping plays going. Did a good job running at critical times and really making some big plays.”
Jaguars: CB Sidney Jones (back) left during the first half and did not return. ... WR Dede Westbrook suffered a knee injury on a kickoff return and was carted off. ... LB Dakota Allen did not return after an ankle injury.
Chargers: TE Green suffered an ankle injury after his touchdown and did not return. ... RG Ryan Groy had a biceps injury in the fourth quarter and did not return.
Jaguars: A bye before hosting the Texans on Nov. 8. Houston won the first meeting 30-14 on Oct. 11.
Chargers: Travel to Denver next Sunday.
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