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Three Takeaways: How Did Justin Herbert Make History Against the Giants?

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Below are three takeaways from Sunday's postgame press conferences with Brandon Staley, Justin Herbert, Justin Jones, Jalen Guyton and Joshua Palmer:

Herbert hits 8,000

The Chargers were able to take home their second-straight win on Sunday after they beat the New York Giants, 37-21, and improved to 8-5 on the season. Quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 275 yards and three touchdown passes.

But Herbert made history in the process.

His three touchdown passes brought him to 30 on the season, making him the first player to throw for 30 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. Herbert made arguably his best throw of the season to wide receiver Jalen Guyton for a 59-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.

After the game, head coach Brandon Staley talked about the type of 'special' player Herbert is.

"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. That's a pretty good indicator that you are witnessing something rare. He's capable of that. The more that I'm with him, the less I'm surprised. That doesn't mean I take it for granted, but I'm not surprised because I know that if we give him those opportunities, he can do that. His teammates believe that … What you're witnessing is something special."

After the game, Herbert talked about what he attributes throwing for 61 touchdowns throughout his first two seasons to, crediting his teammates for their help.

"I think it's a sign of all the guys we have around us," Herbert said. "I think it's a great offensive line. They've done an incredible job blocking for us all year. Guys out of the backfield, [RB] Austin Ekeler, [RB] Justin Jackson, and then our receiving corps and tight ends that make my job so much easier; [WR] Keenan [Allen], [WR] Mike [Williams], JG, [TE] Jared Cook, all those guys. We're not here without those guys. They've done an incredible job all year and we feel really tough with them."

Herbert also hit the 8,000 passing yard mark for his career, making him the second fastest quarterback to throw for 8,000 yards in NFL history.

Young receiving duo shines against New York

With veteran receiver Keenan Allen missing his first game of the season due to COVID, the Bolts needed wide receivers Jalen Guyton and Joshua Palmer to step up in his absence. The pair of young wideouts did so in a big way by combining for two touchdowns and 153 receiving yards.

After the game Herbert talked about the chemistry he has with Palmer in just his first year in the league.

"It's not surprising at all to see the success that he's put together," Herbert said. "He works harder than anyone and he's out there after practice on the jug machine catching balls and running routes and getting releases. If you put in the work like that, good things are going to happen. That's a sign of all the hard work that he's put in. For him to be able to step up, especially when [WR] Keenan [Allen] is down, he's one of those guys that we trust in."

Palmer, who's found success in the Bolts offense early in his rookie season, talked about what his first year in the league has been like.

"It's going according to plan," Palmer said. "I wanted to come in and learn as much as I could and I'm doing that everyday just being prepared whenever I'm in the moment. Just gaining trust from the players, my teammates and coaches."

Guyton, who made arguably the play of the game with a 59-yard touchdown just before halftime talked about what he saw on that play as he tracked in the ball for the touchdown.

"I saw both the safeties react really quickly," Guyton said. "Like something was coming. So I knew the ball was coming and kind of had to find it over one of my shoulders and it dropped right in. It's easy to make those catches when it's a perfect pass."

Defense steps up without No. 33

The Chargers defense has continued to improve each week, with big performances against the Bengals last week and on Sunday against the Giants.

Staley talked about how the defense's performance allowed Herbert and the offense to get going and grow the lead to 30 points by the fourth quarter.

"I think that you accomplish that by playing complete football in all three phases," Staley said. "I feel like that's what we did. I felt like in that stretch there, we just played team football in all phases. You kind of follow that touchdown, you go three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, end-of-half, then you go turnover on downs, forced fumble, you're going to give your offense a great chance to be successful."

The Chargers were able to do so without one of their key defensive players, safety Derwin James Jr., who not only is a leader on defense, but the entire team.

With James Jr. being inactive with a hamstring injury, linebacker Kyzir White was called upon to take over the green sticker and relay the plays on defense.

Defensive lineman Justin Jones talked about how White, who passed the century mark in tackles this season, was able to take on the extra responsibility with ease.

"It seemed like he's been calling it all season," Jones said. "That's what I mean by preparation and being consistent, practicing everything and everybody doing their part. Because when somebody goes down, then somebody steps up ... [We're] just putting guys in place and making plays."

Jones talked about the energy in the locker room and how that has contributed to putting together wins late in the season.

"It's just seems like everybody is out there doing their job and just balling," Jones said. "Just having a good time with the guys … Our locker room is special, we've got a team full of great guys; great guys, man, I love every single one of them, you can tell we play together."

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