Jacksonville, Fla. — Despite taking a 27-0 lead in the first half, the Los Angeles Chargers saw their postseason run fall apart in the second half as the Jacksonville Jaguars stormed back to win 31-30 on Saturday night.
It was the third-greatest comeback in playoff history. The Jaguars advance to the AFC Divisional Round after their first playoff win since 2017.
There are plenty of ways to describe the Jaguars’ performance in a wild-card win over the Chargers at TIAA Bank Field, but ridiculous covers it.
What other way to describe it Trevor Lawrence After throwing four interceptions in the first half — including three in the first quarter — the Jaguars rallied from a 27-0 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Chargers. Riley PattersonA last-second 36-yard field goal?
Nothing sums up how poorly the Jaguars played in the first half. Chris ClaybrooksThe Chargers recovered a helmet and converted a field goal and took a 27-0 lead with five minutes remaining. In fact, nothing went right for the Jaguars in the first 30 minutes.
It was Jacksonville’s fifth turnover of the half and put the team in an insurmountable hole, though the Jaguars made a second-half surge, cutting the Chargers’ lead to two points with 5:25 left.
The last time a team turned the ball over five times in the first half of a playoff game was in the 1999 divisional playoffs — the Miami Dolphins did it against the Jaguars on the same field. The Jaguars won the game 62-7 and retired Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.
The Chargers, meanwhile, rolled up 180 yards Justin Herbert He completed 15 of 24 passes for 139 yards in the first half. They got a short field on two of Lawrence’s four interceptions, and the Jaguars were only able to pressure Herbert on four of his dropbacks.
The Jaguars, who have now won seven games in a row, will await the outcome of Sunday’s games to find out if they travel to Kansas City.
QB Breakdown: Lawrence played the worst half of football in the first half of his NFL or college career. His first pass was intercepted, and he would throw three more in the half, becoming the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw four interceptions in the first half of a playoff game (Gary Danielson and Craig Morton are the others. ) Lawrence became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw three interceptions in the first quarter of a playoff game.
Biggest hole in the game plan: The running backs should have been able to attack the Chargers defense on the perimeter in the Jaguars run game. Travis Etienne Jr, averaged an NFL-best 8.3 yards per carry outside of the tackles; Los Angeles allowed 9.3 yards per carry on such runs, last in the league. But that went out the window with the big deficit, though the Jaguars tried to run the ball between the tackles occasionally in the second half in a hurry.
Los Angeles Chargers
Ahead of the Chargers’ first playoff appearance in four years, questions swirled about second-year coach Brandon Staley’s job security.
Those questions won’t go away after the total meltdown against the Jaguars.
LA got off to a promising start with the cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. The running back grabbed three of Lawrence’s four interceptions in the first half Austin Egeler Turning those two takeaways into touchdowns quickly silenced the TIAA Bank Field crowd and helped the Chargers take a 27-7 halftime lead.
But behind Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson, the fourth-ranked Jaguars recovered to come out of the break and go on a 24-3 run, sending the fifth-ranked Bolts into an offseason where many questions — about Staley, 10th-year general manager Tom Telesco and the direction of the franchise — await. .
Two parts: The Chargers went on a 27-0 run in the first half, powered by five turnovers — including four interceptions and a fumble recovery. But the Jaguars responded with a run of their own, scoring a touchdown to end the first half and then adding 24 more points for a historic comeback.
QB Breakdown: After warmups, the 24-year-old Herbert walked off the field and pumped his fist at the screaming Chargers fans, giving every indication he was ready to make his first NFL postseason start. Herbert, without the star wide receiver Mike Williams, who was ruled out Friday with a minor non-surgical fracture in his back, played a nearly flawless first half. He led five scoring drives to convert each takeaway.
In the second half, Herbert — without Williams, then DeAndre CarterWho left the game with an ankle injury — couldn’t develop a consistent rhythm.
He finished 25-of-43 for 273 yards and a touchdown.
Statistics are important: The Chargers led on every offensive play in the second half and lost.
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