For as well as Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has played for most of the season, even without securing many victories, Sunday was not one of those days. In fact, it was the worst shutout loss in team history, as the Chargers fell 45-0 to the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium to fall to 3-9 on the season.
To his credit, Herbert got no help from the offensive line, which gave up three sacks, and he was rushed myriad other times. He uncharacteristically threw two interceptions -- marking his second multiple-interception game as a pro -- as he was forced into unwise decisions by the Patriots' pass rush. Herbert ended up completing 25 of 50 passes for 209 yards and didn't throw a touchdown pass for the first time in his young NFL career.
Don't even bring up special-teams play, which was ranked last in the league by FPI at the start of the game. Remarkably, it was worse than that on Sunday. Truly.
Kicker Michael Badgley was 0-2 on field goals, one of which was blocked and returned for a touchdown by Devin McCourty to end the first half, and a 16th penalty was called on the embattled unit this season. The Chargers gave up a 70-yard punt return to Gunner Olszewski in the second quarter and allowed another long return by Olszewski, this time 61 yards, that set up a second-half field goal. They had too many players, or they didn't have enough. This after special-teams coordinator George Stewart was replaced a week ago.
Nothing went right on Sunday. And Herbert's rookie record of 10 straight games with a TD pass ... is no more.
A lot of punting yardage: If you had to pick a bright spot, the Chargers got pretty good distance on their punts. Ty Long boomed four for 206 yards and a 51.5-yard average. Unfortunately, the Chargers didn't cover those punts very well.
A breakout performance: The Chargers' second first-round draft pick, linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr., stepped up with 14 total tackles, 12 solo and a sack.
Historic beatdown: The Chargers' previous worst shutout margin of defeat was 41-0, set twice: in 1961 against the Boston Patriots and in 1973 against the Atlanta Falcons. The previous high margin of defeat in Chargers history came in a 49-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. At least the weather was nice.