Justin Herbert was praised the last few months for not looking like a rookie quarterback.
The No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft threw for 300-plus yards and kept pace with Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes in his first-ever start Week 2. He followed it up with four touchdowns in a three-point loss to the Drew Brees-led New Orleans Saints Week 5 and threw for a career-best 366 yards just two weeks ago against the New York Jets.
The New England Patriots on Sunday proved to be one of the first defenses to really give Herbert trouble in a 45-0 shutout.
Essentially, Herbert looked like a rookie quarterback and his stat line read the same: 26-for-53, 209 yards, two interceptions and zero touchdowns. It was only the second game this season Herbert recorded multiple interceptions and the first where he didn’t throw a touchdown pass. His passing yards were the second-fewest of his campaign while the shutout is the first for the Chargers this year.
“Yeah, they played a really good defense today,” Herbert told reporters when asked specifically about going up against head coach Bill Belichick. “It didn?t go our way at all. Would’ve love to have a bunch of throws, bunch of decisions back. Didn’t execute out there. So, it’s on us for sure.
“They got a great defense, they?re coached really well, they?ve got some great guys on that side of the ball,” Herbert added. “We didn?t get to do what we wanted to do, and we definitely didn?t execute. And now, kind of like I said, it?s on us.”
The Patriots defense held the Chargers to 258 yards of offense. Los Angeles was 7-for-18 on third-down conversions and 1-for-5 on fourth-down conversions. The Bolts averaged just 3.6 yards per play while New England recorded three sacks and a myriad of other rushes which kept Herbert uncomfortable.
“They’ve got some great coaches and some great players on that side of the ball, and when we needed to on third downs, second-and-long, we didn’t convert, we didn’t execute the way we wanted to,” Herbert said. “It’s unlike us and I know we could’ve been better.”
With running back Austin Ekeler and receiver Keenan Allen headlining the offense with Herbert, the Chargers have the skill position pieces to outweigh their brutal 3-9 overall record.
Herbert and Co. will try to turn the page as they get set to host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 14 while the 6-6 Patriots stay in Los Angeles ahead of “Thursday Night Football” against the Rams.