The Chargers needed strong efforts from just about everyone on offense to escape with a 25-24 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.
Justin Herbert threw three touchdowns to three different players and the game-winning two-point conversion went to yet another individual player.
The defense, while looking lost times, truly stepped up when the Chargers needed it the most in the fourth quarter. It was a team win when everything was said and done, which is something the Chargers need to show more of prior to entering the final 15 minutes of a game.
This week, I’ve got three winners and one loser from Sunday’s contest. Let’s go ahead and dive on in.
WR DeAndre Carter
Carter was brought in to solidify the team’s kick returner role but he has certainly transcended that into one of the team’s most reliable receiving threats.
Entering Sunday’s game, he had already blown by his previous single-season high in yardage (379) and his touchdown against Arizona tied his single-season high mark in scores at three. With six games remaining, Carter has 452 receiving yards and is one pace to push for 700 by season’s end.
During a year where no receiver has truly been able to find consistency — whether due to injuries or another unfortunate factor — Carter’s been a refreshing presence in his first season with the Bolts.
QB Justin Herbert
For the first time since week two against the Chiefs, Herbert managed to notch three touchdowns in a game. After beginning the season with three scores apiece in back-to-back games, the loss of Keenan Allen and injuries up front to the offensive line certainly rattled the offense to the core. Now with Allen back, Herbert continues to look better and better each week that he puts between him and his initial rib injury.
Herbert finished the day with 279 passing yards on a 35-of-47 passing performance that saw him complete 18-straight passes at one point of the match.
Justin Herbert, a social media quarterback, has completed 18 consecutive pass attempts for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 27, 2022
S Derwin James
Over the past two weeks, James has three defensive takeaways. Against the Chiefs in week 11, he combined with Asante Samuel Jr. to force an early fumble. On Sunday in Arizona, James stripped running back James Connor. In the second quarter, while matched up with wideout DeAndre Hopkins, he took advantage of an under-thrown pass to pick off Kyler Murray. The takeaway was just after the Chargers’ first touchdown and it directly led to their second score which game them their first lead of the game.
During a stretch where no defender has consistently stood out, James has finally taken it upon himself to be the difference his team needs and to start taking the ball away to put it back in the hands of their spectacular quarterback.
Derwin James is a superstarpic.twitter.com/jv1YD7hWyv— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 27, 2022
S JT Woods
Honestly, the pick of Woods in the third round of the 2022 draft is starting to look egregiously bad with every game he’s able to see the field.
On the Cardinals second drive of the game, Kyler Murray hit DeAndre Hopkins over the middle for what looked like an intermediate gain for a first down as Woods looked to be barreling on top of the receiver for a sure stop.
Instead, Woods chose to throw his shoulder into Hopkins, hoping for some kind of spectacular knockdown, but the former All-Pro just spun off the feeble attempt and strode nearly untouched into the end zone for a touchdown.
It just doesn’t get more embarrassing than that for one of the team’s highest picks in this year’s draft. With plenty of talented players left on the board, the Bolts essentially reached on a player for the traits. However, the positives seem to be completely overshadowed by one big negative.