Justin Herbert against the Broncos. Dec 10, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) moves out to pass against the defense of Denver Broncos linebacker Jonathon Cooper (0) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

When Justin Herbert left the Los Angeles Chargers’ clash against the Denver Broncos Sunday with a finger injury, there were plenty of concerns that he might be out for the year. Those intensified Monday when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Herbert was “very likely to undergo surgery” Tuesday, and that he could possibly miss the rest of the season depending on how that surgery went. And on Tuesday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Herbert will indeed be out for the rest of the year:

As noted there, Easton Stick will start in Herbert’s place. And he doesn’t have a lot of NFL experience. He was drafted by the Chargers since 2019 following a college career at North Dakota State, and has been with the team since, but his only previous regular-season game action was throwing one pass in one game in 2020. Sunday in relief of Herbert, he completed just 13 of 24 passes (54 percent) for 179 yards, and Los Angeles lost 24-7. So there’s some reason for Chargers’ fans to be concerned with Herbert gone for the year.

The Chargers are 5-8 on the season following that loss. That has them three games back of the 8-5 Kansas City Chiefs for the division lead. They’re also two games back of the 7-6 Indianapolis Colts for the seventh and final AFC playoff spot, with four other 7-6 teams also between them and the playoffs. So their odds of getting there look pretty slim, especially without Herbert.

And that may add to the discussion about coach Brandon Staley being on the hot seat. Staley was already under some pressure following last season’s Wild Card round playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars (where they blew a 27-0 halftime lead), even if GM Tom Tedesco pushed back on that at the time. And this season hasn’t gone well at all for him and the Chargers, and it’s seen him flare up at the media a number of times. Now, he has another challenge of trying to finish the season without his star quarterback.

[Tom Pelissero on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.