The Chargers suffered their third-straight loss of the season, this one coming at the hands of Tampa Bay and the G.O.A.T, himself.
At 1-3 through the first quarter of the season, here’s where the Chargers stand in various power rankings throughout the prominent sports publications.
NFL.com - #18
There was bad news on Sunday, like Austin Ekeler’s injury, the defense’s struggles to stop Tom Brady and a Joshua Kelley fumble that changed the game. But it’s important to have a big-picture view when a rookie quarterback is playing, and from that standpoint, the Chargers should feel elated right now. Justin Herbert was excellent against a strong Bucs defense, leading the team on four touchdown drives and hitting on a pair of deep-ball strikes that showed off his big arm and pocket toughness. He’s a nimble player for his size, too, buying extra seconds to make a play. Yes, his fourth-quarter interception helped seal L.A.’s fate, and blowing 24-7 leads is never an easy pill to swallow for any team, but Herbert has been a revelation through three weeks.
ESPN - #19
This figure could be right, but as rookie quarterback Justin Herbert continues to impress and grow within the system, the Chargers very well could go on a late winning streak and squeak in. But having RB Austin Ekeler likely out with a hamstring/knee injury means that rookie Joshua Kelley needs to hang on to the ball after key fumbles in the past two games. The defense needs to get better at forcing turnovers. The Chargers have been so close — all three losses were within one score — and they need to figure out how to bust through. — Shelley Smith
Pro Football Talk - #20
Justin Herbert is the future, but the present is still murky.
CBS Sports - #21
They have a tough decision: Stay with Justin Herbert or go back to Tyrod Taylor. I would play the kid.
Bleacher Report - #24
Just before halftime of Sunday’s game in Tampa, the Los Angeles Chargers held a 24-7 lead and were trying to run out the half. But then Joshua Kelley put the ball on the ground, the floodgates opened and the Buccaneers peeled off 31 of the next 38 points to stun the Chargers and steal the win.
That was unfortunate.
What wasn’t unfortunate is that even in defeat, rookie quarterback Justin Herbert continued to shine. For most of the game, the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft matched the quarterback many consider the greatest to ever play the position throw for throw. He finished the game with just five incompletions, 290 passing yards, three scores and a passer rating of 137.9.
He didn’t look at all like a rookie.
With the loss, the Chargers are 1-3. The playoffs are a pipe dream. Just posting a .500 record may well be a tall order. But the Bolts may have accomplished one very important goal in 2020.
It appears that the team has found its new franchise quarterback.