Chargers WR Javontee Herndon spreads his wings

SAN DIEGO -- Due to injuries and more familiarity with the offense, wide receiver Javontee Herndon was more involved for the San Diego Chargers in the team’s loss to the Chiefs over the weekend.

Since being added from the practice squad in Week 9, the Arkansas product has solidified his role as the main return man for San Diego. And against Kansas City he played a season-high 55 snaps on offense.

Herndon was targeted seven times, finishing with five catches for 47 yards -- including a key fourth-down reception on a Philip Rivers pass that extended the Chargers’ final drive, giving them a chance to tie the game late.

“As a young receiver, it’s a learning experience gaining trust from Philip,” Herndon told the team’s website. “But at the same time, at the end of the day we’re trying to win football games. And that’s what it’s all about.”

When the Chargers first brought Herndon in as an undrafted rookie last season, one of the things I noticed was his ability to consistently make catches with defenders hovering around him, along with the fact that the moment did not seem too big for him.

As long as he continues to come down with the ball in traffic, Rivers will build trust in Herndon. With physicality, size and the ability to make defenders miss after the catch, Herndon could develop into a good third-down target for the Chargers.

Here’s a closer look at the snap counts for the Chargers in their loss to the Chiefs:

OFFENSE (Based on 67 snaps)

Quarterback: Philip Rivers 67

Running back: Danny Woodhead 43, Melvin Gordon 28

Wide receiver: Malcom Floyd 63, Javontee Herndon 55, Vincent Brown 34

Tight end: Ladarius Green 54, Antonio Gates 42, David Johnson 11, John Phillips 5

Offensive line: Orlando Franklin 67, Trevor Robinson 67, Kenny Wiggins 67, Joe Barksdale 67, Chris Hairston 60, King Dunlap 7

Offensive analysis: Floyd’s dropped pass on a deep ball that could have resulted in a touchdown was his second drop of the season, and just the ninth dropped pass in his 12-year career. ... Rivers leads the team in offensive snaps with 871, while Barksdale is second with 846. ... Per ESPN Stats and Information, Gordon is averaging 1.62 yards after contact, No. 31 in the NFL. ... Rivers finished 7-for-11 for 114 yards, no touchdowns and an interception on third downs. He was sacked three times, posting a 60.4 passer rating on third downs.

DEFENSE (Based on 54 snaps)

Defensive line: Kendall Reyes 42, Ricardo Mathews 33, Darius Philon 21, Damion Square 20, Ryan Carrethers 8

Linebacker: Manti Te’o 54, Melvin Ingram 43, Denzel Perryman 42, Jeremiah Attaochu 39, Kyle Emanuel 21, Cordarro Law 5

Secondary: Eric Weddle 54, Jahleel Addae 54, Jason Verrett 54, Patrick Robinson 54, Craig Mager 24, Steve Williams 14, Jimmy Wilson 12

Defensive analysis: Butler did not play a defensive snap for the first time this season. He played nine snaps on special teams. ... Ingram leads the Chargers in defensive snaps with 740. Weddle is second with 642. ... The Chargers have a 47.5 red zone efficiency rate, which is No. 6 in the NFL. ... Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith finished 4-for-5 for 47 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns on third downs against the Chargers. He was sacked once, posting a 105.8 passer rating on third downs.