The Chargers were blown out in Week 3, falling to the Jaguars 38-10 in a game that unraveled late in the fourth quarter.
Here are five takeaways from the Chargers' lopsided loss:
Chargers risk further injury to Justin Herbert on final drive
There was a lot that went wrong for the Chargers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, but none more worrisome than the way the team allowed Justin Herbert to remain in the game with 4:54 remaining as they trailed by 28 points.
The Jaguars had poured it on and the outcome wasn’t going to change. Yet Herbert, who's dealing with a fractured rib cartilage, was not removed from the contest with the game already put out of reach.
The Chargers were already tasked with piecing together their offensive line, being down two starters. Center Corey Linsley missed the game with a knee injury. Left tackle Rashawn Slater exited the game in the second half with a biceps injury. The protection had been a problem throughout the game, as Jacksonville pressured Herbert on 30.4% of his dropbacks, per Next Gen Stats. But yet, the Chargers made the decision to let their franchise quarterback ride out this blowout loss in garbage time.
“He wanted to be out there with his teammates," Brandon Staley said on why Herbert remained in the game. "He felt good and he wanted to finish the game. He wanted to give our group some energy. We were going to protect him there at the end with really sound protection as best we could, but it was more about him wanting to finish with his guys.”
“I just didn’t want to quit on my team,” Herbert said.
Herbert is as tough as they come and his willingness to finish the game is commendable. But as the coach, the risk-reward has to be weighed, and there's just no explanation for how this situation was handled that he should’ve been allowed to play the final drive.
The injury pile up
As previously mentioned, Linsley was inactive with a knee injury and Slater left the game prematurely with a bicep injury. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Keenan Allen missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury and J.C. Jackson missed his second game in three weeks with an ankle injury. Donald Parham Jr. has been nursing a hamstring injury since training camp and hasn't appeared in a game.
Meanwhile, throughout the duration of the Week 3 game, the injuries continued to mount. Joey Bosa was ruled out with a groin injury in the first half. Jalen Guyton suffered a late-game knee injury that require assistance to be helped off the field by the medical staff.
Also factoring in Herbert, who's playing through a significant injury of his own, the Chargers have eight notable players who are banged up as they head into the fourth week of the season.
Injuries are part of the game and every team deals with them, but when they’re occurring to a vastly large number, many of whom are starting players, it has reached a tipping point, which was too much to overcome against the Jaguars.
Herbert gives it a try, but was clearly hindered
There's no disputing Herbert's toughness and drive to play while trying to overcome gruesome pain to his midsection. But it was clear, with his ribs causing discomfort, he didn't look like his true self.
“It’s part of the game, dealing with injuries and dealing with pain," Herbert said. "A lot of the guys in that locker room do not feel great. It’s all about how you react and how you respond. I’m going to do everything I can to go to treatment, take care of my body, until hopefully this thing can go away.”
Herbert completed 25-of-45 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His completion percentage was 11% less than his career average of 66%, indicating that his accuracy was clearly impacted.
When assessing his performance after the game, Herbert was not pleased with how things shook out.
“It was not a great day by any means. Unfortunately, we lost, and that’s the tough part about it," Herbert said. "There is nothing we can do now to change that. We have to have a good week of practice, watch the film tomorrow, and get after it this week.”
Defense gets ran over by Jaguars' rushing attack
The Chargers' new-look defense had shown encouraging signs the first two weeks, but against the Jaguars, they had no answers for slowing down their rushing duo.
The Jaguars offense had success through the air and on the ground, but for a Chargers team that onboarded three new starters across their defensive line this offseason to enhance their run-stopping efforts, they were pushed around by Jacksonville's rushing attack.
The Jaguars ran for 151 rushing yards led by James Robinson who finished with 100 yards and one touchdown. Half of Robinson's yardage came on a rushing attempt on fourth-and-1 when he ripped off a 50-yard score.
Second-year player Travis Etienne picked up 45 yards on 13 attempts. Collectively, the Jaguars averaged 4.2 yards per carry.
Mike Williams sees just minimal opportunities
The Chargers gave Mike Williams a three-year, $60 million contract this offseason. Through three weeks, he's had just one game in which he's played a large role in the offense.
Against the Jaguars, Williams caught one pass for 15 yards and a touchdown. And that was without Allen being active, making Williams the bonafide go-to option.
Williams did see six targets, however, but the hit rate was quite underwhelming. Certainly, he's been seeing extra attention the last two weeks with Allen sidelined, but for a player who's as talented as Williams is, the Chargers must manufacture ways to feed him the ball similar to the way he was used in Week 2 against the Chiefs.
More from Charger Report
- As Injuries Continue to Mount, Chargers Overmatched by Jaguars in 38-10 Loss
- Live In-Game Updates: Chargers vs. Jaguars Week 3
- Pregame Report: Chargers vs. Jaguars Week 3
- Chargers vs. Jaguars Game Day Betting Odds: Week 3 Point Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under
- Chargers vs. Jaguars Week 3 Game Prediction
Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.