Herbert falls to nemesis Belichick

How do you know when you are witnessing the birth of a great rivalry? Do you walk away floored and impressed by athletic feats? The lucky fans that saw the Los Angeles Chargers drop a 27-24 game to the New England Patriots witnessed more than another football game -- they are at the spear's tip of the next great NFL rivalry.

Bill Belichick has found a new young and promising quarterback to harass. Justin Herbert fell to 0-2 against the greatest head coach in NFL history. Last year, Belichick and the Patriots terrorized Herbert in a 45-0 loss. However, Sunday's defeat wasn't as abysmal, but Herbert again had his worst outing of the year at the hands of the Patriots' head coach.

Last Sunday's tilt lacked the high scoring that has come to characterize the NFL. Instead, the terse and tense defensive battle highlighted the minds of a wily defensive sage and a wunderkind defensive wizard. Los Angeles took a 14-13 lead into the half; however, ex-Charger Adrian Phillips' pick-six deflated any chances of Herbert avenging his rookie loss to Belichick.

After the subsequent 2-point conversion by New England and a 3-and-out by the Chargers, the Patriots tacked on a field goal that gave them a 27-17 lead.

Despite the deficit, Herbert attempted to muster some late-game heroics. The Chargers capped off a 72-yard drive when Herbert found Josh Palmer in the corner of the endzone. But with 40 seconds remaining, Los Angeles' attempt of recovering an onside kick was successful, and the Patriots kneeled to run out the clock.

The Chargers sit only a game behind the tumult-laden Las Vegas Raiders. However, the departure of Jon Gruden after bigoted emails was unearthed, coupled with the recent release of Henry Ruggs, provides ample opportunity for the Chargers to overtake the division lead.

Herbert can rest assured that there is an opportunity to bounce back and improve because his nemesis, Belichick, will not be on the opposing sideline for a while.

Follow Eric on Twitter @elambsquared and IG @elamb5qu


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