Chargers use big first half to beat Bears

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (News4usonline) – Before playing the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles Chargers has been stuck on the number 17. In three straight defeats to the Las Vegas Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, and Kansas City Chiefs, the Chargers scored 17 points in each of those games. They solved that problem in the first half against the Bears. 

Justin Herbert completed 21 of 25 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns through the first two quarters of play to give the Chargers a 24-7 lead going into intermission. The Chargers would go on to win their SoFi Stadium encounter with the Bears by the score of 30-13. Herbert finished the game going 31 of 40 for 298 yards and three scores through the air in the victory.

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Donald Parham (89) completes an 11-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Justin Herbert in the second quarter of a 30-13 win against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 29, 2023. Photo credit: Los Angeles Chargers

“I saw really good rhythm and timing. I thought that he was decisive,” Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said of Herbert. “When he is playing like that, he is going to have numbers like that; 31-of-40 for 300 [yards], three touchdowns and no interceptions. I just thought that his feet and his eyes were working together and that is when he is at his best.

“Our guys did a good job of protecting the passer and our receivers, tight ends and backs really did a good job. I thought that [Herbert] was able to check it down a couple of times and keep drives moving. On third down, I thought that we were pretty good. A big-time performance by him tonight.”

The totals that Herbert threw for in the first half against the Bears were greater than he passed for against the Raiders (13 of 24 for 167 yards, I TD, and an interception) and nearly what he threw against the Cowboys (22 of 37 for 227 yards 2 TDs, one interception) and against the Chiefs (17 of 30 for 259 yards, 1TD, two interceptions).

So what does this win do for the Chargers’ confidence? It’s a week-by-week process, Herbert says.

“It really is just one week at a time,” Herbert remarked. “This is the most important game of the year for us just because it was the next one. We played a really good team and we went out there and had a victory of all three phases. For us to be able to put that on tape, put that out there, we have a lot to look forward to. Have another tough one on Monday next week.”

Statistically, the Chargers dominated the first half. Los Angeles doubled the number of first downs that Chicago had (16-8), outgained the visitors in total yards (241 yards to 156 yards), and was effective in their third-down efficiency (57 percent). 

Running back Austin Ekeler was the primary receiver for Herbert in the first half, catching five passes for 91 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Ekeler ended his evening with seven catches for 94 yards.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert completed 31 of 40 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-13 win against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 29, 2023. Photo credit: Los Angeles Chargers

Herbert’s big half, however, was not limited to one receiver. Herbert connected with seven different receivers to account for the 212 yards he threw for in the first half. Ekeler, Simi Fehoko, and Donald Parham Jr., all caught touchdown passes from Herbert. 

Herbert made sure to get the Chargers off to a quick start by completing touchdown passes to Ekeler and Fehoko to give Los Angeles a 14-0 advantage after the first quarter. Cameron Dicker’s 43-yard field goal and Parham’s 11-yard scoring toss from Herbert completed the scoring for the Chargers in the first half.  

Although he passed for just 42 yards in the third quarter, the Chargers still managed to add two field goals in the period to complete their scoring for the night.

“I thought that we had a great plan. I thought that our coaches did a great job of putting us in a position to win. We went out there and executed. I thought that we moved the ball all four quarters. As a team victory, it was all three phases. I was proud of the guys today,” Herbert said.

Top photo caption: Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler completes a 39-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter from Justin Herbert. Credit: Los Angeles Chargers