Justin Herbert and the Chargers welcomed the Giants to town on Sunday for a comprehensive 37-21 beatdown that was 30-7 after three quarters. Herbert produced the moment of the game, and possibly the season, in the final seconds of the first half. Facing third-and-11 from his own 41-yard line, Herbert shuffled to his right to evade incoming pressure, planted his feet for a fraction of a second, and unleashed a pure strike that found Jalen Guyton for a 59-yard touchdown.
You could tell that Herbert had achieved an impressive athletic feat because the panning broadcast camera briefly lost track of the ball, before it zoomed back in on the end zone.
Herbert’s pass to Guyton traveled all the way off the passing chart, 63.8 yards through the air, making it the second-longest completion of the NFL season. This is now the second week in a row that Herbert has found Guyton for this kind of TD bomb; the Chargers QB now has the most throws of 55 or more air yards over the past two NFL seasons.
“When you see something special, normally it looks easy,” Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said. “That’s what he does. He makes the really, really challenging stuff look easy. And that’s a pretty good indicator that you’re witnessing something rare.”
Herbert’s throw is all the more impressive considering he was hit by Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter right after he flung it. Guyton was running an option route, so he and Herbert both had to correctly read the Giants’ safeties on the play, and Herbert had to buy enough time to let the route develop. After the game, Herbert said he didn’t see Carter coming before he got hit. “It’s really easy to make those catches when it’s a perfect pass,” Guyton said. It’s also tempting to think of how much farther Herbert could throw with more time.