Chargers, Jags meet in duel of teams going nowhere

They have now become a verb, which is about the worst thing that can happen to a team.

Charger-ing, it's being called, and were it in the dictionary, the meaning might read something like this: "The ability to somehow lose when you should be winning ... pulling defeat from the jaws of victory."

So it has gone this year for the Los Angeles Chargers, who will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., to face the Jaguars on Sunday for a game between 4-8 teams with nothing to play for except contractual obligation and the compiling of stats.

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"Last time I checked, they don't cancel the season for all the teams that are eliminated," Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers said to the San Diego Union-Tribune. "We had 16 on the schedule. We signed up for all 16. We play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and we'll all be there fighting like crazy to try and go 1-0."

Going 1-0 has been hard for both teams. But the Chargers find unique ways to go 0-1 most weeks. Last week's 23-20 loss at Denver was particularly exotic, even by their standards.

After Michael Badgley drilled a 46-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to tie the game at 20, Los Angeles appeared headed for overtime. But Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton ran into cornerback Casey Heyward on a deep throw at the Chargers' 35-yard line.

Out came the flag for pass interference, in came Brandon McManus and there went the game. McManus bombed a 53-yarder inside the left upright as time expired, giving Los Angeles the unwanted distinction of being a 4-8 team that has outscored its opponents 244-241.

"We've been on the fence for, shoot, this entire season almost," running back Austin Ekeler said. "It feels like we can't find a way to swing it."

Jacksonville's path to another losing season has been a bit more conventional. It has been outscored by 72 points and lost four in a row. Every loss in that span has occurred by at least 17 points, including last week's 28-11 defeat to Tampa Bay.

With their playoff hopes now a thing of the past, the Jaguars intend to start rookie Gardner Minshew at quarterback for the season's remainder. Minshew replaced Nick Foles in the second half against Tampa Bay and brought them within 25-11, but tossed an interception from the Buccaneers' 2 with 6:06 remaining to seal the outcome.

Minshew started eight games earlier this year when Foles was injured in the season opener and went 4-4. His accuracy and mobility have stood out, but he's also committed a dozen turnovers, seven of them lost fumbles.

"I love Gardner and he brings energy," wide receiver DJ Chark said. "So when he's out there, there's no quit in him. There's no quit in this team. Just seeing him out there, running around trying to make plays, you want to make plays for him. That's the plan."

Los Angeles leads the all-time series 7-3, although Jacksonville won the teams' last meeting in overtime two years ago on its way to the AFC championship game.

--Field Level Media

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