Chargers End Season with Fourth Consecutive Victory


Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Justin Herbert concluded his stellar rookie season by throwing three touchdown passes and running for a fourth score in the Los Angeles Chargers' 38-21 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri.

Herbert set the rookie records for completions with 396, breaking the previous record of 379 set by Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016, and total touchdowns with 36, breaking the previous record of 32 set by Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers in 2011.

Herbert also became the youngest quarterback with 30 touchdown passes in a season at 22 years, 299 days, breaking the previous record of 22 years, 339 days by Lamar Jackson.

Herbert completed 22 of 31 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns as the Chargers (7-9) won their fourth consecutive game. For the season, he completed 396 of 595 passes for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns with 10 passes intercepted.

Herbert fell 39 yards short of breaking Andrew Luck's rookie passing yardage record, 4,374 set in 2012.

“I'm not disappointed. I'm just glad we got the win,'' said Herbert, who became the starter the second game of the season, when a pregame injection to Tyrod Taylor intended to numb fractured ribs sustained in the opener inadvertently punctured a lung.

The Chargers outgained the Chiefs, 416-268, and led 29-18 in first downs and 34:51-25:09 in time of possession.

Kansas City (14-2) gave nine starters on offense, including quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and six on defense the afternoon off because the Chiefs were already assured of the AFC's best record and a bye in the opening round of the playoffs.

Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs

Chad Henne completed 23 of 32 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns in place of Mahomes.

The Chargers scored 24 unanswered points after Kansas City took a 14-7 lead on Darwin Thompson's 1-yard touchdown run with 13 minutes, 41 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Chargers were forced to punt after five plays following the ensuing kickoff, but regained possession when Mecole Hardman muffed the catch of Ty Long's punt and Joe Reed recovered at the Chiefs' 17-yard line. Herbert threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler four plays later. Ekeler would later be forced out of the game with a concussion following a personal foul penalty hit by Chiefs defender Juan Thornhill.

The Chargers drove to Kansas City's 2-yard line on their next possession and Herbert appeared to score on a fourth-down play, but the replay official reviewed the ruling on the field that Herbert had broken the plane of the end zone and reversed the call, giving the Chiefs the ball on their own 1-yard line.

Isaac Rochell tackled Henne in the end zone two plays later for the first safety by the Chargers' defense since Oct. 13, 2016.

K.J. Hill returned Tommy Townsend's free kick 7 yards to the Chargers' 41 1:43 before halftime. Herbert ran 1 yard for the score, two plays after successive lowering the head to initiate contact and pass interference penalties advanced the ball from Kansas City's 37-yard line to its 2.

Herbert passed to Justin Jackson for a 2-point conversion that increased the Chargers' lead to 24-14.

Herbert threw a 48-yard pass to Mike Williams for the third quarter's only touchdown.

Following four consecutive possessions without scoring -- including a one-play possession at the end of the first half -- the Chiefs scored with 11:49 to play on Henne's 8-yard touchdown pass to Thompson to complete a nine-play, 74-yard drive.

The Chargers responded with a six-play, 77-yard drive. A 27-yard pass from Herbert to Tyron Johnson and a 34-yard run by Jackson immediately preceded Kalen Ballage's 1-yard touchdown run.

Henne threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle on the game's opening drive. Herbert threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Donald Parham Jr. on the Chargers' first possession.

“I made a lot of mistakes this year, but we're going to learn from them,'' Herbert said. “We're going to watch the film this offseason, there's plenty of time to get better with (quarterbacks) coach (Pep) Hamilton and (offensive coordinator Shane) Steichen. There's plenty of opportunity to get better, so I'm really looking forward to that.''

Photos: Getty Images


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