COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) - Anthony Lynn did a good job throughout the offseason and training camp of installing Tyrod Taylor as the Los Angeles Chargers’ starting quarterback — even after Justin Herbert was taken with the sixth overall pick in April’s draft.
But after Herbert came on as a last-minute starter and threw for 311 yards in Sunday’s 23-20 overtime loss to Kansas City, Lynn has the makings of a quarterback controversy on his hands.
The coach is trying to squelch any sense of a competition by saying: “Tyrod Taylor 100% is our quarterback.” Lynn said Taylor was in the team’s building Monday, but didn’t have any update on his status for the upcoming week.
“The veteran QB gives us the best chance to win. I know what to expect from him and know what we are going to get done,” Lynn said. “Justin stepped up and gave us a chance. I’m really excited about Justin, but I want to put him out there when he’s ready. He’s a rookie and has a lot to learn about.”
Herbert found out less than a minute before kickoff that he was going to get his first NFL start after Taylor couldn’t play due to complications from a chest injury. Former NFL team physician, Dr. David Chao, reports with more than 95% confidence, Taylor suffered a small pneumothorax (a collapsed lung) prior to kickoff. This is a known complication when using a rib block to treat rib issues, for which Tyrod appeared on the Chargers' injury report.
Instead of being fazed, Herbert became the ninth quarterback since the merger to post a 300-yard game in his debut and was the first in 66 years to rush and pass for a touchdown in the first half of his first game.
Taylor led the Chargers to a 16-13 win in the Sept. 13 opener at Cincinnati, but struggled at times in throwing for 208 yards. The offense had four three-and-out drives and didn’t gain consistency until the second half.
Herbert finished 22 of 33 with a touchdown and interception. The offense had only two three-and-outs, but one was on the opening possession of overtime.
Herbert showed tremendous accuracy on a TD pass to Jalen Guyton and a 25-yard throw to Keenan Allen in the third quarter between two defenders that had a 22.9% completion probability according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats. But he also made a costly error in the third quarter with an ill-advised throw downfield that was picked off by L’Jarius Snead instead of scrambling and taking the first-down yardage.
“I think Tyrod did a great job in Week 1 and had stuff to build on,” running back Austin Ekeler said. “I still think he’s probably in the starting role. But going forward, you know, he’s gonna have to prove just like all of us that, ‘Hey, I deserve to be in this spot.’ I feel comfortable with both of them. I think it just comes down to the performance.”
Herbert and Ekeler had similar numbers in downfield throws, but Herbert did a better job of getting Ekeler and Joshua Kelley involved on screens. Herbert was 6 of 6 for 73 yards, while Taylor had only two screens in the opener.
Dr. David Chao (@ProFootballDoc) is 95% sure Hampton native Tyrod Taylor suffered a small pneumothorax, a collapsed lung, prior to kickoff yesterday.— Adam Winkler (@AdamWinkSports) September 21, 2020
This is a known complication when using a rib block to treat rib issues, for which Tyrod appeared on the #Chargers injury report. pic.twitter.com/2zdUez5i7e