Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert Suffers Hand Injury

The Los Angeles Chargers' depressing 2023 season may have finally reached its nadir. Quarterback Justin Herbert injured a finger on his throwing hand in the first half of his team's 24-7 loss to the Denver Broncos and missed the remainder of the game. Head coach Brandon Staley later revealed that Herbert had fractured his right index finger. Herbert laboured through six scoreless drives before his exit, completing nine of 17 passes for 96 yards and an interception while absorbing four sacks. Easton Stick, Herbert's backup, proved a mild upgrade, leading one touchdown drive and ending his day with 179 passing yards. With today's loss, the Chargers fall to 5-8 and are now all but eliminated from any realistic chance at the playoffs.

It's been a deeply deflating season for the Chargers. After an exciting offseason that included signing Herbert to a colossal five-year, $262.5 million extension that briefly made him the highest-paid player in NFL history and luring offensive coordinator and supposed wunderkind Kellen Moore away from the Dallas Cowboys, the Chargers are now poised to miss the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Given the Chargers' faint postseason hopes, Herbert's injury could mean we've seen the last of the one-time Pro Bowler this year, and it could even have major ramifications for the Chargers' future. Someone will have to answer for another disappointing season, and it certainly won't be Herbert. 

Staley's days as head coach could be numbered. He arrived with the organization because of his success as a defensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams, but he has failed to lift the Chargers defense beyond mediocrity: they're on pace to finish in the bottom half of the league for yards allowed for the third straight season. A change in leadership could go a long way towards restoring some excitement to the franchise.
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