At the end of the first half of the wild-card game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, things looked entirely hopeless for Doug Pederson’s Jags. Trevor Lawrence has thrown four interceptions in that first half, and Jacksonville was down 27-7. Lawrence had thrown a touchdown pass to Even Engram with 24 seconds left in the first half, but things looked pretty dire for the home team.
Then, the second half started, and all hell broke loose for the Chargers. Head coach Brandon Staley’s defense had constricted Jacksonville’s receivers by attacking them on short and intermediate routes, basically giving no respect for the speed of Lawrence’s targets. Perhaps Engram’s touchdown changed their minds, because Los Angeles wasn’t as aggressive in the second half.
Which was clearly to Lawrence’s benefit. In the first half, he completed just 10 of 24 passes for 77 yards, one touchdown, four picks, and a passer rating of 24.5. In the second half, Lawrence completed 18 of 23 passes for 211 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 144.47.
That’s about as graphic a difference as you can get.
“You couldn’t write a crazier script,” Lawrence said right after the game. “We said in the locker room, this is kind of how our season’s going. We were never out of the fight. I was breaking… not a good record in the first quarter with those interceptions, [we] were not looking great offensively, but we just kept believing in one another. We knew that our defense would get enough stops, and we would get enough opportunities, to go win the game. I’m kind of speechless. Just to see what belief can do.”
While the Jaguars deserve all the credit for the third-largest postseason comeback in pro football history…
…the Chargers also Chargered at a level we’ve rarely seen. A franchise that has given its fans more than enough heartbreak in its history did it again with the 31-30 result. Situational awareness didn’t seem to be there.
And in the end, the Jaguars made all kinds of history.
With all that to consider, perhaps Riley Patterson‘s 36-yard field goal as time expired was a fait accompli.