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3 Observations: Herbert, Offense Complete Double-Digit Comeback


The Chargers will now turn their focus to the preseason.

The Bolts practiced in pads for roughly two hours Thursday in advance of Saturday night's preseason opener against the Rams.

Here are three observations from today's practice:

1. Herbert leads wild comeback

Justin Herbert is unlikely to play in the first preseason game against the Rams, but the Chargers quarterback got plenty of strong work Thursday at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

The Bolts starting offense was given quite the mountain to climb as they were put in a situation where they trailed 28-14 with 7 minutes and 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Herbert and the offense, who were going against the reserves, cut into the lead with a seven-plays scoring drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown catch from Gerald Everett. The tight end then hauled in a 2-point conversion to make the score 28-22 with just over five minutes left.

The Bolts starting defense was then tasked with giving the top offense the ball back. The unit was successful as a sack by David Moa on a second-down play eventually helped force a punt.

Herbert's group then took over at their own 30-yard line with two minutes left looking to take the lead.

Things looked dire as a sack from Chris Rumph III meant the Bolts faced second-and-25 from their own 15-yard line, but a sensational catch from Mike Williams — who caught the ball as he was falling to the ground — picked up 30 yards to move the chains in a big way.

A pair of passes to Keenan Allen moved the chains twice as the offense moved to the 20-yard line with only seconds left.

Herbert and Allen connected again near the front left corner of the end zone for a score, even if the defense disagreed whether or not the wide receiver snuck in the end zone.

The ensuing extra point would have given the offense a 29-28 victory.

Overall though, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said everybody got solid experience and reps from the drill.

"We created that situation when we were down by 14, I thought that we had two good drives to bring us back.," Staley said. "Mike made a big-time catch to get us moving. I like the way that we executed. You're going to have to do that at some point in the season, when you're down by two scores in the second half and time is not on your side.

"I felt like they really executed that situation well, managed the time and the clock, and then we were able to get the big play to Keenan on the sideline," Staley continued. "Justin has done that his whole career. He is outstanding when you have to push the pace and when you really have to be aggressive. He has always been good in those situations. I thought that he used his legs really well to keep us moving, stay away from trouble.

"It's really good for their conditioning, too. Offensively, it helps your O-line, creating a situation like that where they really have to run, receivers have to run a long way back, and you have to rely on your depth, too," Staley added. "I was pleased with how that went today."

2. Lots of red-zone work

The Chargers spent the middle portion of practice working in the red zone, both in 7-on-7 and full-team drills.

Joshua Palmer made a highlight-reel catch in the 7-on-7 session when he highpointed a Herbert pass for a 17-yard score.

Williams also found the end zone, hauling in a 15-yard pass over the middle from Herbert on the final play of practice.

Asante Samuel, Jr., also made a pair of splash plays in the red zone Thursday.

He denied Williams a score on a sideline battle before later coming away with an interception on a deflected pass.

Isaiah Spiller also had a strong session as he caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in the flat.

3. Focusing on special teams

With so many youngsters set to play Saturday night, special teams was a big point of emphasis Thursday.

The Chargers opened practice by working on field goal block packages without any live kicking, and later transitioned to kickoff return and coverage drills.

JK Scott was also able to get some work in by getting off punts from multiple spots on the field.

With the ball at the 1-yard line, Scott was pinned in the back of his own end zone but uncorked a 55-plus yard punt that likely would have flipped field position.

And he also worked on pinning the opponent deep with punts from near midfield. His best rep of the day came when his kick landed inside the 10-yard line but rolled down to the 1 where it was downed by Deane Leonard.

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