The Shipper needed to count on a junior defender, a junior forward running back, and a rising midfielder to deliver several short-range positions on Sunday against Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They were forced to count on the youth earlier than expected this season due to injury to 11 rookies, including star full back Austin Eckler, who suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter.
Chargers trainer Anthony Lin knew that mistakes would happen, some of them as expensive as rookie Joshua Kelly tripping in the first half. But he also expected rookies to grow up.
Rising midfielder Justin Herbert was in the middle of an extreme penalty shootout performance against legendary midfielder Tom Brady, but the late player’s interception was a youthful mistake that led to the Pirates’ 38-31 victory at Raymond James.
Herbert kept short chargers in the game, but at age 43, Brady was still better. Shipper dropped to 1-3 with a three-match losing streak.
As the chargers were fading, Herbert answered with a 72-yard drop pass to wide receiver Galen Guyton to take a lead 31-28 to start the fourth quarter. But Chargers’ weak defense couldn’t keep up with Brady, and Herbert’s interception in the final game did not help the case.
Herbert finished 20 of 25 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Brady went 30 of 46 for 369 yards and had five landings and one interception.
The Pirates wiped out a 24-7 deficit after Brady found a Scottie Miller broadband receiver for a 19-yard touch pass with 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Miller had a 44-yard reception in the previous play.
Brady found the narrow end of OJ Howard for a 28-yard drop to trim the Chargers’ 24-21 lead with 8:22 in the third quarter.
Brady looked ready for an easy day after he led the Pirates to his inaugural 10-game, 75-yard campaign that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Pratt. Brady was a 5 of 6 for 54 yards in his first drive.
The Chargers followed by scoring 24 unanswered points and did not allow Brady to score again until his last drive in the first half. But that came thanks to the momentum changer’s confusion from Kelly, who gave the Pirates the ball over the Chargers’ 6-yard line with 38 seconds remaining in the first half.
Brady made chargers pay off when he found wide receiver Mike Evans to drop 6 yards to enter the first half with a 24-14 deficit.
Seconds before that, frustrated Evans was pushing Rishawn Jenkins for chargers. Kelly wasn’t alone in giving the pirates momentum. Herbert had a poor delivery exchange, and Lynn chose not to ride the ball before 47 seconds.
Despite the fatal mistake, the Chargers did a lot with Herbert in the first half. Herbert called a Tyrone Johnson wide receiver and Donald Parham Jr.’s narrow end on the first downs of their careers. Johnson replaces injured Mike Williams, and Parham is first activated as a charger.
Herbert completed the passes to Seven Chargers in the opening half and entered the locker room with a corridor rating of 150.3.
Shipper was without Eckler, who had suffered a left hamstring injury in the late first quarter. Ekeler had trouble riding the camper.
Cornerback Michael Davis ended the drought with Chargers’ 6 pick when he took Brady’s 78-yard pass to go down and advanced 14-7 with 3:55 in the first quarter. Desmond King had a former PIC-6 from the shipping company in 2018 against the Seattle Seahawks.
This story will be updated
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