Justin Herbert's memorable rookie season now includes an NFL record. In Thursday night's game against the Raiders, the Chargers' quarterback tied Baker Mayfield's rookie record by throwing his 27th touchdown pass. He also rushed for a score in overtime to lead Los Angele to a 30-27 win over the Raiders.
Herbert, who entered the game with 25 touchdown passes, started the game with a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry. He tied Mayfield's record just before halftime after connecting with receiver Tyron Johnson on a 26-yard pass. In overtime, Herbert's 53-yard completion to receiver Jalen Guyton set up his game-winning touchdown run.
"We're a resilient team," Herbert told Fox Sports after the game. "Jalen ran a great route ... I could have thrown it a little it farther and he could have scored. Props to those guys up front blocking [on his touchdown run]."
Making Herbert's performance on Thursday even more impressive was the fact that his top two receivers, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, were limited due to injuries. With Allen and Williams limited, Herbert found success throwing the ball to Guyton, Henry, Johnson and rookie K.J. Hill.
"They stepped up big time," Herbert said of his receiving corps. "I knew how special of a group these guys are. Anytime you miss Keenan and Mike out there, it's definitely tough. But they gave it their all, they gave what they could, and those guys stepped up big time."
The third quarterback selected in the 2020 draft, the 22-year-old Herbert has thrown at least one touchdown in 12 of his 13 starts this season. He's thrown at least two touchdowns in nine games including his season-high four-touchdown performance in the Chargers' Week 5 loss to the Saints.
Herbert, who has thrown for 3,781 yards this season, is in striking distance of Andrew Luck's rookie passing yardage record, as the former Colts quarterback threw for 4,374 yards back in 2012. One quarterback rookie record that appears safe is Peyton Manning's record for interceptions. Manning, who would ultimately go down as one of the most prolific passers in league history, led the league with 28 interceptions during his rookie season back in 1998.
"He kind of exploded on the scene, just the way he handled the huddle," Henry recently said of Herbert, via ESPN's Shelley Smith. "The leadership in a quiet way is awesome. It's exciting to see him kind of blossom into what he's going to be."
Despite his success, the Chargers are in the midst of a second consecutive losing season and slated to receive another top-five pick in this year's draft. And while the Chargers have several positions to address during the offseason, they do not have to worry about the quarterback position, as Herbert appears to be on his way to a long and successful NFL career.