The Los Angeles Chargers seemed poised to go toe to toe with Kansas City Chiefs entering halftime, but a second-half goose egg was all she wrote for a team that now finds itself in a precarious spot through seven weeks.
"It hasn't gone our way the past couple of games, but no one's going to panic, no one's going to quit, no one's going to give up," Herbert told reporters after the loss. "I know we're going to attack practice this week the same way we have each of the past weeks. So I'm looking for the challenge, the opportunity. A tough week, but we're going to get better because of it."
The Chargers' second-half meltdown on offense was especially eye-opening considering the unit was the only reason they were in the mix entering halftime. Herbert completed 10 of 14 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown to help L.A. stay afloat as its defense was walloped by the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs to the tune of 24 points and 333 total yards.
Those roles were reversed in the second half as the Chargers defense forced an opening-half turnover and three consecutive punts while Herbert went 7-of-16 passing for 100 yards and a 25.0 passer rating.
"Yeah, it's frustrating," Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said of the tale of two halves. "I can't tell you why the season is starting this way, but it's just, it is. It's no one's responsibility but mine. We've got a good football team. We need to reset as a football team. We need to reset. We've had two tough losses in a row, but we've got a good football team. We just got to make sure that we keep it simple. We keep doing the little things well because this is a good group of guys. It's a good football team. We need to get back to work."
Herbert's struggles persisted in the face of consistent pressure from Chiefs pass rushers (five sacks, eight QB hits) and an ineffective rushing attack which rendered the Chargers predictable by game's end. His final throw -- a misfire intercepted by Bryan Cook to seal the two-score loss -- was a brutal reminder of the late-game struggles that are becoming a trend for Herbert and Co. in 2023.
Herbert recognizes those blunders in crunch time and is looking for a complete effort going forward.
"It's all four quarters, and we have to put together four quarters, or however long the game takes until there's zero left on the clock," Herbert said. "Our offense has to keep moving. We have to keep converting, and we have to do a better job."
The Chargers (2-4) go into Week 8 with a Sunday night date with the Chicago Bears (2-5) but face a gauntlet that includes the Jets, Lions and Ravens in the coming weeks. Sunday's result also allowed the Chiefs (6-1) to take a commanding lead in the AFC West.
For a team that has faced late-season heartbreak in consecutive seasons, the Chargers' late struggles are becoming an apparent fault. History also doesn't bode well for Staley's club, as the Chargers have made the playoffs in only one of 22 instances after starting a season 2-4 or worse (1992), according to NFL research.