The National Football League today announced the Los Angeles Chargers will be represented by six players at the 2022 Pro Bowl in Las Vegas. The six selections are tied for the second-most in the NFL and are the most for the Bolts since the team had a league-high seven in the 2019 Pro Bowl.
The AFC Pro Bowlers include Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, wide receiver Keenan Allen, outside linebacker Joey Bosa, safety Derwin James Jr., center Corey Linsley and tackle Rashawn Slater. Five of those selections (Herbert, Bosa, James, Linsley and Slater) were named as starters for the AFC. The five starters are tied for the most in the NFL from a single team.
Additionally, five more Chargers were named alternates for the 2022 Pro Bowl: Running back Austin Ekeler (second alternate), wide receiver Mike Williams (third), tight end Jared Cook (fourth), fullback Gabe Nabers (fourth) and defensive lineman Linval Joseph (fifth).
Herbert, the NFL's reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, has continued his impressive pace to start a career, earning his first all-star recognition. He is the first Chargers quarterback ever to be named to a Pro Bowl within his first two seasons. Entering Week 16, Herbert has an AFC-best 32 touchdown passes, along with 4,058 yards on 360-of-542 passing (66.4 pct.) for a 99.1 passer rating. Coupled with his rookie-record 31 touchdown passes last year, Herbert became the only player in NFL history with 30 passing scores in each of the first two seasons of a career.
In the team's Sunday Night Football win, Herbert became the only player ever to pass for 350 yards and run for 90 yards in a single game. The second-year passer's five game-winning drives this season are tied for a league-high and he has set NFL records through the first two seasons of a career for completions, passing yards and total touchdowns (passing and rushing combined).
With 92 receptions for 1,007 yards and five touchdowns this year, 2021 marks Allen's fifth 1,000-yard season, the most by a Charger in the last 50 years. The Pro Bowl selection marks the fifth of his career — all coming in the last five seasons — the most by a wide receiver in team history. Allen is three catches shy of becoming the second player in NFL history to eclipse 95 receptions in five consecutive seasons. This season, the ninth-year wide receiver tied for the fewest games (111) to reach 700 receptions in NFL history and posted his ninth career game with 12-plus catches and 100-plus yards, the most in league annals.
Bosa has been named an all-star for the fourth time in his career, joining Hall of Famer Junior Seau (five Pro Bowls) as the second Chargers defender ever to have at least four Pro Bowl selections within their first five seasons. The Ohio State product leads the NFL with six strip-sacks on the year, which is the most by an AFC player in a season since 2018. With 20 quarterback hits in 2021, Bosa has five seasons with 20-plus QB hits, good for the most by an AFC player since he entered the NFL in 2016. He has a team-best 9.5 sacks on the year and is just three shy of reaching 60 for his career. Bosa has been tabbed as a starter for each of his four Pro Bowl selections.
James has been selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his career and for the first time since his rookie season in 2018, when he also was named a first-team All-Pro. After playing five games in the last two seasons, the defensive Swiss Army Knife has returned to put forth a Comeback Player of the Year campaign, recording 103 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. In the last 20 years, James is the only defensive back to post 100 tackles after missing the entire previous season due to injury. Both of the his all-star selections have been as an AFC starter.
The Pro Bowl selection for Linsley is first of his career after being named a first-team All-Pro last season. The Boardman, Ohio, native signed with the Bolts as a free agent this offseason, leading a revamped offensive line to allow just nine sacks on third down this year, good for the third-fewest in the NFL. The centerpiece of the offensive line, Linsley has played every snap this season with quarterback Justin Herbert, coordinating the protection for the AFC's leader in passing touchdowns.
Slater, the No. 13 overall selection in this past draft, became the first rookie tackle to be named an all-star since Minnesota's Matt Kalil in 2012 and is the first Chargers rookie to be selected to the Pro Bowl since Derwin James in 2018. As the keystone on the offensive line for the league's fourth-ranked total offense, Slater has protected the blindside of reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert to throw for a conference-leading 32 touchdowns. He has blocked for Austin Ekeler to total 17 scrimmage touchdowns, the most by a Charger since Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson in 2007. Slater joins Marcus McNeill (Chargers, 2006) as the only tackles not selected in the top-10 of the NFL Draft to be named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Ekeler ranks second in the NFL this year with 17 scrimmage touchdowns (10 rushing, seven receiving). He has totaled 1,347 yards from scrimmage in 2021, good for No. 2 among running backs. Meanwhile, Williams has hauled in 64 catches for 964 yards and seven touchdowns. Five of his touchdowns have been go-ahead scores in the fourth quarter or overtime, setting a single-season NFL record. A 12-year veteran, Cook has been a reliable target for the Los Angeles offense, hauling in 41 passes for 440 yards and four touchdowns. One of the most versatile fullbacks in football, Nabers has provided lead blocking for the rushing attack while contributing in the passing game and on special teams. Joseph has been the centerpiece of the Los Angeles defensive line, bolstering the defense with 49 tackles (26 solo), a 10-yard sack and two tackles for loss in 2021.
Roster selections are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each individual group's vote counts one-third toward determining the 88 all-star players. The NFL is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its all-star teams.
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