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Chargers fall to Panthers, 21-16

LA’s come-from-behind efforts fell just short against Carolina

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Justin Herbert drew the second start of his career and despite a valiant effort in the second half, the Los Angeles Chargers fell to the Carolina Panthers, 21-16.

Herbert and the Chargers dropped to 1-2 on the season while the Panthers recorded their first win of the season.

LA took their first and only lead of the game at 7-6 when Austin Ekeler scored from 12 yards out to start the second quarter and the Chargers red-zone defense had been successful on two tries, limiting Carolina to just six points on two field goals in the first quarter. Their red-zone defense looked strong again as they limited Joey Slye to his third field goal within 30 yards.

Despite allowing a Mike Davis 13-yard touchdown pass on a screen pass from QB Teddy Bridgewater, the Chargers defense again clamped down in the red zone and allowed only field goals throughout the contest.

The lack of pace from the Chargers offense, save for the fourth quarter, was ultimately too much to overcome for a strong defensive showing in the red zone.

Herbert finished the game completing 35-of-49 pass attempts for 330 yards and a score with one interception. Of his passing yards, 136 of them came on the final two drives as the urgency picked up and the offense began humming. Herbert stood tall and was unable to complete the come-from-behind victory after he found himself and his offense at their own 1-yard line with just 1:46 left on the clock and down five.

Herbert’s favorite target was Keenan Allen who was targeted 19 times and caught 13 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. Ekeler was featured heavily out of the backfield, seeing 11 targeted passes, hauling in each of them for 84 yards.

Once again, Herbert impressed overall in defeat for the second time in as many weeks, albeit this time under different circumstances.

The Chargers will be back on the road in Week 4 against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who looked strong against division-rival Denver Broncos in a Week 3 win at Mile High.