Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert became the first rookie to throw four touchdown passes on Monday Night Football, but it was all for naught. The Chargers blew a 17-point lead on the road for the second week in a row to fall to the New Orleans Saints 30-27 in overtime.
The No. 6 pick this past April's draft was named the permanent starter this week after impressing coach Anthony Lynn after stepping in for veteran Tyrod Taylor, whose lung collapsed after being given a pain-killing injection prior to the Chargers' Week 2 loss to the Chiefs.
Herbert was magnificent throughout the game, his fourth straight start. He put the Chargers ahead 27-20 with a 64-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams with 3:40 left. It was his second touchdown pass to Williams and his fourth overall, as Herbert finished 20-of-34 passing for 264 yards.
This was the second overtime loss of his career, the first coming to Kansas City in his debut on Sept. 20, when he was thrown into the starting lineup. Then came a five-point loss to Carolina in Week 3 and a seven-point loss to Tampa Bay last week after the now 1-4 Chargers took a 17-point lead. And now this, a loss after the Chargers went up 20-3 in the first half. What little is left of Lynn's hair is now gone.
The Chargers could have won it in regulation, as Herbert hit Williams -- who hauled in five receptions for 109 yards -- on a 29-yard pass to the Saints' 32-yard line with eight seconds left and the game tied 27-27. But Michael Badgley clanged the potential game-winning, 50-yard field goal off the right upright as time expired. What else could go wrong?
The Saints won the coin toss in overtime and Drew Brees took his team down to kick the winning eventual field goal after Williams was tackled by Marshon Lattimore inches short of a first down at midfield on the Chargers' final drive.
The Chargers have a bye next week because of COVID-19 scheduling.
Keenan Allen hurt: Allen, the Chargers' most reliable receiver, was knocked out of the game in the first half with a back spasms and did not return. No word on if thee injury will keep him out. The Chargers have had their share of injuries and have been scraping by. Allen caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Herbert in the first quarter.
Herbert's start: Lynn obviously made the right choice in starting the rookie and has to be enthused by yet another strong performance. They play the Jaguars and Broncos -- also both 1-4 -- after the bye week, giving Herbert a good chance to get his first win.
Kicking issues: Badgely missed an extra point on their first touchdown and then the 50-yard field goal, points that turned out costly for the Chargers.