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Column: Chargers rip Giants, but did you see that throw by Justin Herbert?

 Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton (15) hauls in a long touchdown pass over  Giants safety Logan Ryan.
Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton (15) hauls in a long touchdown pass over Giants safety Logan Ryan just before the end of the first half.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The plan was to write about how Brandon Staley’s move to the Chargers has affected the two local NFL teams, but …

Did you see that throw by Justin Herbert?

The Rams’ defense doesn’t adjust how it did under Staley, who has the Chargers positioned to return to the playoffs, but …

Did you see that throw by Justin Herbert?

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There are NFL throws and there are throws like the one Herbert made near the end of the first half of a 37-21 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

They’re not the same.

The Chargers offense took it to the Giants in a 37-21 win, and now L.A. can concentrate on AFC West showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday.

If there is ever a day when the 23-year-old Herbert is enshrined in the Hall of Fame, his 59-yard strike to Jalen Guyton will be included in the highlight package shown at his induction ceremony.

“It was crazy,” Chargers receiver Joshua Palmer said.

Statistics point to Herbert being a special quarterback, his three-touchdown game against the Giants making him the first player in history to pass for 30 or more touchdowns in each of his first two seasons in the league.

But his pass to Guyton was an indication of just how special he might be.

With 25 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Chargers were on their 41 on third-and-11. The Giants lined up with both of their safeties deep.

Herbert recognized the coverage. He figured Guyton did too, and he was right.

“I knew I had to split them,” Guyton said.

What unfolded in the eight seconds after center Corey Linsley snapped the ball was magic.

Pressured from his left side, Herbert rolled to his right. As he released the ball, he was hit from behind by linebacker Lorenzo Carter.

“I didn’t really see the guy behind me, so it was good that I was able to scramble a little bit to right and buy enough time to get the ball off,” Herbert said.

Guyton didn’t have to break stride to catch the ball as he entered the end zone.

“It’s really easy to make those catches when it’s a perfect pass,” Guyton said.

The pass wasn’t out of reach but the game basically was, the touchdown increasing the Chargers’ lead to 24-7.

“When you see something special, normally it looks easy,” 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 offered an understated view of the touchdown.

“It’s one of those plays that we practice all the time,” Herbert said. “We saw the coverage. JG knew the coverage. As soon as the ball was snapped, he took off and made a great play.”

Chargers' Justin Herbert (10) celebrates after connecting on a long TD pass to Jalen Guyton (15)  late in the second quarter.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) celebrates after connecting on a long touchdown pass to Jalen Guyton (15) late in the second quarter.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The pass was in the air for 63.8 yards, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

The distance and accuracy of the throw prompted Chargers personnel to be asked how far Herbert could throw a ball.

“I would give him 70 solid yards,” Guyton said.

“He could probably throw it 100 yards if he wanted to,” Palmer said.

“I don’t put a limit on his game,” Staley said.

Herbert claimed he didn’t know.

“I really haven’t tested it, but however far that one was, I guess that’s a good answer right there,” he said,

Quarterback Justin Herbert spearheaded the Chargers’ 37-21 victory over the New York Giants. Check out some of the game’s biggest moments here.

Never mind that he was hit on the throw.

Told of Palmer’s estimate, Herbert smiled.

“I really appreciate that,” he said.

Chargers receivers said nothing Herbert does surprises them, spectacular plays by him a regular occurrence at the team’s practice facility in Costa Mesa.

However, Guyton said, “You can’t not appreciate it. Even considering all the work that he puts in — which is the reason I was going to say I’m not surprised because he puts a lot of work in — you definitely appreciate it. Just doing it, like, 100 times on a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday doesn’t get it done on Sundays.”

Breaking down the notable numbers behind the Chargers’ 37-21 victory over the New York Giants at SoFi Stadium on Sunday — scoring and statistics.

Plays like that win game. Plays like that win the confidence of others.

“I know that if we give him those [opportunities], he can do that, and his teammates believe that,” Staley said.

As bad as the Giants are, the win over them was critical for the Chargers, who were without their best defensive player in Derwin James and their best receiver in Keenan Allen. The Chargers improved to 8-5, which kept them ahead of the four teams in their conference that are 7-6.

But the game won’t be remembered because of the result or its implications in the standings. The game will be remembered because of a single play, a sequence that exemplified the physical genius of the team’s new franchise quarterback.


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