JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Despite a 27-0 first-half lead, the Los Angeles Chargers saw their quarter-finals in the second half as the Jacksonville Jaguars came back strong 31-30 on Saturday night. The postgame fell apart.
It was the third-largest reversal in postseason history. The Jaguars now advance to the AFC Divisional round after earning their first playoff victory since 2017.
There are many ways to describe the Jaguars’ performance in a wild-card win over the Chargers at TIAA Bank Stadium, but the absurd pretty much covers it.
And what other way to describe Trevor Lawrence’s four first-half interceptions — including three in the first quarter — before the Jaguars bounced back from a 27-0 deficit to catch up on Riley Patterson’s A last-second 36-yard field goal to beat the Los Angeles Chargers?
Nothing sums up better than how badly the Jaguars played in the first half. A punt on Chris Claybrooks’ helmet, the Chargers recovered and turned into a field goal to take a 27-0 lead with five minutes left. . In fact, the Jaguars didn’t make any progress in the first 30 minutes.
It was Jacksonville’s fifth turnover in the half, and it seemed to put the team in an insurmountable hole, even though the Jaguars made strides in the second half, putting the Chargers’ lead at 5:25 remaining. Narrowed down to two points.
The last time a team had five turnovers in the first half of a postseason was in the 1999 divisional playoffs — the Miami Dolphins played against the Jaguars in the same game. The Jaguars won that game 62-7 and retired Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.
The Chargers, meanwhile, advanced 180 yards, with Justin Herbert completing 15 of 24 passes for 139 yards in the first half. They got short shots on two of Lawrence’s four interceptions, and the Jaguars only managed to pressure Herbert on four of his dropbacks.
Now, the Jaguars, who have won seven games in a row, will await the results of Sunday’s game to see if they travel to Kansas City.
QB breakdown: Lawrence had the worst first half of his NFL or college career. His first pass was intercepted, and he made three more in the half, making him just the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw four interceptions in the first half of a postseason (Gary Danielson and Craig Morton is the others). Lawrence became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw 3 interceptions in the first quarter of a playoff game with a passer rating of 0.0 and 0.6 in the first half.
Biggest hole in game plan: The Jaguars should have been able to attack the Chargers’ defense on the perimeter with running back Travis Etienne Jr., who averaged 8.3 yards per advance from tackle, Best in the NFL; Los Angeles allowed 9.3 yards per run on such a run, dead last in the league. But while the Jaguars did try to run the ball between tackles occasionally in the second half while trying to run the offense quickly, that has since disappeared due to the huge gap.
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Questions were raised about second-year coach Brandon Staley’s job security ahead of the Chargers’ first playoff appearance in four years.
Those problems probably won’t go away after the full-blown debacle against the Jaguars.
Los Angeles got off to a promising start with cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. Lawrence threw three of four first-half interceptions before running back Austin Eckler converted two of the takeaways into touchdowns, quickly quieting the crowd at TIAA Bank Field and giving the Chargers a 27-7 lead Into halftime.
But behind Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pedersen, the fourth-seeded Jaguars adjusted after the break and went on a 24-3 run to send the fifth-seeded Bolts into the offseason. There are plenty of questions out there — about Staley, Tom Telesco as the 10th general manager and the direction of the franchise — waiting.
two halves: The Chargers went on a 27-0 first-half run with five turnovers — including four interceptions and a forced punt. But the Jaguars responded with a run of their own, scoring a touchdown at the end of the first half and then adding 24 points in a historic comeback.
QB breakdown: After warming up, Herbert, 24, jogged out and shook his fist at screaming Chargers fans, giving every indication that he was ready for his first NFL playoff start. Herbert, without star wide receiver Mike Williams, who was ruled out Friday with a minor non-surgical fracture in his back, had a near-flawless first half. He led five scoring plays, converting every takeaway into a goal.
In the second half, Herbert — without Williams and DeAndre Carter out with an ankle injury — couldn’t develop a consistent rhythm.
He finished 25-of-43 for 273 yards and a touchdown.
Important status: The Chargers took the lead on every possession in the second half, only to lose.