Justin Herbert Outduels Joe Burrow In 2020 NFL Draft QB Battle

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

In a battle of 2020 NFL Draft quarterbacks, Justin Herbert and the Chargers outdueled Joe Burrow and the Bengals.

It was a game on the Sunday slate that many fans and analysts alike ready to watch. The Bengals and Chargers are both in the thick of the AFC playoff picture, and both feature young quarterbacks who are elevating their teams. Fellow 2020 NFL Draft QBs Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow met on Sunday, and the Chargers came out on top in a 41-22 win.

Herbert had one of his best games of the season, completing 26 of 35 for 317 yards and three touchdowns to just one interception. He made some fabulous plays maneuvering around the pocket, slipping out to one side to buy some time, and made a couple throws across his body on crossers, one of which was caught for a touchdown.

The Joe Lombardi offense let Herbert let it loose deep on Sunday, in which Herbert found Mike Williams on a few occasions, trusting that a play would be made. His accuracy down the field and arm strength were on full display, and he took advantage of the shot plays while also playing efficient football. His best throw of the day was a 50-yard missile to Williams to the opposite hash, something few quarterbacks would attempt.

While Burrow didn’t have his best day, there were plenty of positives to take away. Despite a pinky finger injury on his throwing hand, Burrow dropped some impressive passes in the bucket with good touch. He operated the quick game well and took advantage of the middle of the field. His best pass of the day, a dime deep to Ja’Marr Chase, should’ve been a touchdown but was dropped, tipped up into the air, and subsequently intercepted.

No, we aren’t ignoring the fact that Burrow threw a bad red zone pick, took some rough sacks that were drive killers, and lost a fumble. But, the overreactions from his performance were nothing if not unsurprising.

Duels between Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert will be fun to watch for years to come, but of course, debate from the 2020 NFL Draft will never stop. The two will always be compared, with plenty of draft folks continually reminding everyone about Burrow’s arm strength, how Herbert was slighted, and that they would be on each other’s teams if the draft were redone. They win in different ways, but both could be stars in the AFC in the 2020s, so let’s enjoy the ride.