Justin Herbert’s heart and tenacity were on full display against the Chiefs on Thursday night as the Chargers star pushed through a late-game injury in a narrow 27–24 loss at Arrowhead Stadium.
With the world tuned in for the second Thursday Night Football game of the season, Herbert battled through noticeable pain after taking a hit to his midsection on a tackle by Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna with just over five minutes remaining. However, Herbert, surprisingly, would miss just one play before returning to the field and finishing the game despite taking several more shots to the affected area.
Herbert’s effort, while courageous, immediately brought droves of questions surrounding his health after he appeared to favor his left side during the closing moments of the contest. Still, the third-year quarterback impressed mightily as he finished the contest 33-of-48 for 334 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
After the game, Chargers coach Brandon Staley praised Herbert’s toughness, telling reporters he expects him to be O.K. after taking some “big hits” to the chest. Staley’s update came after multiple reports emerged saying Herbert went with the training staff to undergo x-rays.
“It was a tough game,” Staley said, per NFL Network’s Bridget Condon. “You’re not going to see a quarterback in any level of football play tougher … there’s nobody that can do what he can do.”
After his initial injury on the hit from Danna, Herbert appeared to struggle with his movement as soon as he re-took the field.
After falling into a 10-point deficit, the Chargers began marching down the field once again. At one point during the drive, however, the pain appeared to be too much too bare as a visibly shaken Herbert elected to throw the ball away while rolling to his right with a few yards of space separating him and a first down with 2:11 to go.
The Chargers kept moving forward, though, as Herbert orchestrated a nine-play, 73-yard touchdown drive that saw him complete a few impressive throws, including a seven-yard strike to Josh Palmer. But, in the end, the last-gap effort proved too little, too late as L.A. failed to secure the onside kick, allowing Kansas City to run out the clock.
While it remains unclear if Herbert’s injury is considered serious, he will have a week and a half to rest and recover in preparation for Week 3.
The Chargers will host the Jaguars on Sept. 25 at 4:05 p.m. ET.
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