The Jacksonville miracle that stunned the Chargers 31-30
The start of wildcard Saturday night started off to a rocky start for the Jacksonville Jaguars. On the first passing attempt by Jaguars quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, a ball that was originally meant for Christian Kirk was tipped and intercepted by LA Chargers defensive back Drue Tranquill. The Chargers discussed a plan of controlling the line of scrimmage and not allowing Lawrence to get in a rhythm. Running back Austin Ekeler gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead very early on.
Within a blink of an eye the Chargers had a 17-0 lead. By that time the Jaguars had thrown a total of 3 interceptions resulting in 17 unanswered points. Trevor Lawrence went on to throw a 4th interception to Asante Samuel Jr., who had a total of 3 picks to end the night. The Chargers had a 27 to 7 lead heading into halftime.
Trevor Lawrence stated that the conversation at halftime was to continue fighting, “We said in the locker room that’s kind of how our season’s going. We’re never out of the fight.” Nothing could be more accurate than describing the 2nd half from the Jaguars as fight. The determination to get chip at the lead by scoring on the first possession with a touchdown thrown to wide receiver, Marvin Jones Jr. The Chargers extended the lead with a field goal 30-14, but the Jaguars quickly responded with a 39-yard touchdown missile from Trevor Lawrence to Zay Jones. With the score being 30-20, an unsportsmanlike penalty by Chargers Joey Bosa nearly cost Los Angeles to only have a one-possession lead. The 2-point attempt that the Jaguars elected to take failed.
With 8 minutes and 47 seconds left in the 4th quarter the Chargers missed a 40-yard field goal that completely swung the momentum for Jacksonville. An impressive drive by Trevor Lawrence that led to 6 total first downs to reach the 9-yard line with 5 minutes and 25 seconds left in the game. The drive resulted in a touchdown to Christian Kirk and a successful two-point conversion by Lawrence. A conservative play call by LA led to a punt giving the ball back to Jaguars with 3 minutes and 22 seconds left in the game with 3 timeouts and the 2-minute warning down 30-28. A gutsy 4th and 1 play call by head coach, Doug Pederson, sprung Travis Etienne for 25 yards and in field goal range to the Chargers 16-yard line. The entire stadium erupted, and it was time for field goal kicker, Riley Patterson to successfully win the game for the Jaguars.
That’s exactly how the storybook ending happened. The Jaguars completed a historic come from behind victory. It was the third largest comeback in NFL history with the Jaguars being down by 27 points at one point. It was also a historic night for Trevor Lawrence that ended the night with 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions for over 288 yards. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. had 20 carries on 109 yards. Top target for Lawrence tonight was Evan Engram averaging 13.3 yards per catch (7 receptions for 93 yards and 1 touchdown).
What will be discussed as a possible “game of the weekend”, Lawrence reflected during his postgame interview. “You couldn’t write a crazier script. I’m kind of speechless, honestly, just to see what belief can do and to see when a team believes in each other what you can accomplish.”
Jaguars’ head coach, Doug Pederson, gets his first playoff victory with the Jacksonville Jaguars and appears to have confidence heading into the divisional round. With every thrill of victory, we always must highlight the agony of defeat. The Los Angeles Chargers were not able to maintain scoring in the second half and only made one field during the 3rd and 4th quarter. Chargers’ defense allowed 24 total first downs allowing over 390 total yards. A major factor for the outcome was the penalties that accrued over the entire game for Chargers, 7 penalties for over 42 yards. Heading into the offseason, Chargers have many questions to answer regarding certain roster spots, and what can happen to any coaching personnel