INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Justin Herbert passed for 298 yards and three touchdowns, including a 39-yarder to Austin Ekeler, and the Los Angeles Chargers stopped a two-game slide by routing the Chicago Bears 30-13 on Sunday night.
Herbert, who had struggled with accuracy the past two games after breaking the middle finger of his left, non-throwing hand four weeks ago, completed his first 14 passes and was 31 of 40 in front of a prime-time audience.
Herbert directed the Chargers to points on their first five drives, marking the first time in six seasons they have accomplished that feat.
It was the first time in two years that Herbert passed for three TDs in the first half, finding Ekeler, Simi Fehoko and Donald Parham to help stake the Chargers to a 24-7 lead at the break.
Cameron Dicker added three field goals, including two in the second half. Ekeler finished with seven receptions for 94 yards and 15 carries for 29 yards on the ground.
Chicago’s Tyson Bagent had a more difficult time in his second NFL start. After leading the Bears to a win over Las Vegas last weekend, the undrafted rookie was 25 of 37 for 232 yards with two interceptions against the Chargers.
He did have a 1-yard sneak late in the fourth quarter to get the Bears within 30-13. Bagent’s 2-point pass attempt was incomplete.
Bagent — who didn’t have a throw over 15 air yards last weekend — got off to a great start with a 41-yard completion down the right sideline to Darnell Mooney on the first play, but the Bears’ drive stalled at midfield and they were forced to punt.
From there, the Chargers took control.
Los Angeles scored on its opening drive for the fourth time this season when Ekeler took Herbert’s screen pass down the left sideline. That made Ekeler the first running back in the Super Bowl era to reach 30 TD catches with the same team and the seventh player in NFL history to have 30 touchdowns rushing and 30 receiving.
Near the end of the first quarter, the Chargers took a two-score lead when Fehoko caught his first pass as a Charger. On third-and-3 from the Chicago 9, Fehoko got open on a drag route, caught it at the 7 and went untouched into the end zone.
Dicker made it 17-0 on a 43-yard field goal before Chicago’s Darrynton Evans took Bagent’s toss and went 11 yards to get the Bears (2-6) within 17-7 with 1:47 remaining.
However, the Chargers regained momentum before halftime with a nine-play, 75-yard drive, culminating in Parham’s 11-yard score. Parham broke out of Tyrique Stevenson’s attempted tackle at the Bears 5 and then was able to outmuscle T.J. Edwards and Duron Harmon as he reached the goal line.
Bears: LB Tremaine Edwards went down with a knee injury during the third quarter and did not return.
Chargers: TE Gerald Everett was declared inactive after suffering a hip injury during the third quarter of last weekend’s game at Kansas City.
Bears: At New Orleans next Sunday.
Chargers: Travel to the New York Jets next Monday night.