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Giants run out of LA in embarrassing effort vs. Justin Herbert, Chargers

Chargers Giants
Dec 12, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) runs the ball during the first half at SoFi Stadium.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The quarterback who should have been leading the New York Giants instead was the one to demolish them on Sunday. 

Justin Herbert dismantled the Giants as the Los Angeles Chargers bolted to a 37-21 victory on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, completing 23-of-31 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. 

The loss clinches a fifth-straight losing season for the 4-9 Giants.

Herbert, an Oregon product, who chose to return to college in the 2019 draft — leaving the Giants to choose Daniel Jones — became just the second quarterback in NFL history to post 60 passing touchdowns in his first two professional seasons alongside Dan Marino.

While the Giants were missing Jones as he dealt with a neck injury, backup Mike Glennon was forced to try and lead another offensive effort that was miserable for most of the day — they trailed by as much as 30 — before a pair of consolation touchdowns in the final minutes flattered the scorelin for New York.

Glennon completed just 17-of-35 passes for 191 yards, though two of them were for touchdowns as a part of a three-score day for the career backup.

The Chargers went to the ground game first and their rising star in Austin Ekeler, who recorded 33 of the 60 yards needed for the game’s opening touchdown — a one-yard rush with 4:44 to go in the first quarter to put the hosts ahead. It was Ekeler’s 16th rushing touchdown of the season as he pursues Indianapolis Colts rusher, Jonathan Taylor, for top honors in the NFL.

The Giants answered when Glennon hooked up with a wide-open Kyle Rudolph for a 60-yard reception — the longest of the veteran tight end’s career — to bring it down to the 5-yard-line. Two plays later, they were in the end zone when he lofted a screen to fullback Eli Penny to tie the game. 

That was all she wrote for the Giants, as offensive ineptitude forced a defense that had performed admirably over the last few weeks to stay on the field for a majority of the game. Los Angeles held the ball for 34 minutes compared to the Giants’ 25. 

The Chargers unleashed a second-straight nine-play, 60-yard drive to retake the lead — Herbert hitting Josh Palmer for a 12-yard score — and spark a 30-0 scoring run. 

Their lead was extended to 10 with 4:15 left in the second quarter when Dustin Hopkins converted a 27-yard field goal, which turned out to be a big break for the Chargers. After it appeared Herbert was stuffed on a 4th-&-1 play, Los Angeles was moved back five yards when it was deemed that offensive lineman Matt Feiler jumped early to eliminate the Giants’ stop.

Things continued going south for the Giants, who received great starting field position at the Chargers’ 41-yard-line, but lost two yards to punt it away with 52 seconds left in the half.

That was far too much time for Herbert who, on a 3rd-&-11 from his own 41 unleashed a 59 yard bomb to Jalen Guyton with 17 seconds left to put the Chargers up 17 going into the locker rooms. 

Following a Chargers field goal that put them up 20, the Giants’ inept offense sank to new lows when an attempted fake punt saw Riley Dixon overthrow Keion Crossen to give Los Angeles possession on the New York 38-yard-line, leading to a field goal.

Another failed fourth-down attempt by the Giants continued the rout when Glennon was strip sacked by Joey Bosa. It shortened the Chargers’ path to the end zone to just 41 yards, which they found easily when Herbert connected with tight end Jared Cook for a one-yard score to go up 30 with 9:28 to go.

It was Herbert’s 30th touchdown of the season, making him the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 30 or more scores in each of his first two professional campaigns. 

The Giants finally ended the Chargers’ run when Glennon found Saquon Barkley for an 18-yard touchdown pass.

If there was a lone silver lining of a miserable day in Los Angeles, it was that Barkley showed a bit more explosiveness in his game. He accounted for 95 total yards including 64 on the ground. 

An additional consolation prize came with 1:18 to go when Glennon picked up his first-career rushing touchdown from seven yards out. 

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