Former Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert showed off his abilities on the big stage Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes, taking home a 30-24 win. Herbert was 26 of 38 for 281 yards and four touchdowns, including a go-ahead score with 32 seconds left.
This is the type of performance that will get people's attention and help Herbert ascend the ranks of elite NFL quarterbacks. He can clearly throw the ball as well as anyone, but going into Kansas City and coming out with a victory is as hard of a feat as any in the NFL.
No. 10 and the Chargers did just that.
This is the second time Mahomes and Herbert have met on the football field together, with the first being in week 2 last season when Herbert made a surprise start after last year’s starter Tyrod Taylor was ruled out with a punctured lung.
Herbert came in and impressed, despite having no advanced notice and no NFL experience, playing Mahomes pass-for-pass until the Chiefs won on a walk-off field goal.
All of that helped build the anticipation for Sunday's game, including this summer when at the American Century celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe when Mahomes was told by a fan to watch out for Herbert this year.
Mahomes responded with, “I’ll see it when I believe it.” It's safe to say Mahomes has seen it now, further proving these two will be battling for division titles in the future.
In what ended up being the game-winning drive, Herbert had a fourth-and-9 at the Chiefs 35-yard line with about a minute to go and the score tied at 24. Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley was put in a tough position, with Mahomes looming on the other side.
After the game, Herbert commented on what it meant to him and the offense to have Staley's trust to get the job done.
"It means everything to us," he said. "We've worked so hard, ever since this offseason and all of the time that we've spent together, to be put into this position for these exact moments. For us to go back out there on fourth-and-nine and win the game, that's awesome for us."
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Do you kick a long field goal with a kicker that had already missed an extra point? Or do you trust your franchise quarterback to make a play? He chose Herbert, and the Chargers were able to move the chains on a pass interference call that soon led to the winning score.
We have a budding division rivalry in the AFC West between Herbert and Mahomes. Each has won one game against the other and when the Chiefs come to SoFi Stadium later this season, the game should have playoff implications for both teams.
Herbert is quickly rising to NFL stardom, and this is his signature win thus far. As coach Staley stated after the game, “We’re fortunate to have a gangster quarterback.”
The Eugene native, gangster indeed.
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