|Posted on November 12, 2017 at 4:50 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Jacksonville Jaguars walked onto EverBank Field looking to build some momentum at home after getting their first win in three attempts this season inside familiar walls, when they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals a week before.
Their defense shut down Los Angeles Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers and the visiting squad in the first quarter and their trickery got them on the board when running back Corey Grant took a direct snap on a fake punt play that Grant took 58 yards into glory territory.
Remember, this play debuted for the Jaguars when they faced the Baltimore Ravens in London in Week 3, and the direct snap went to Grant then as well.
The Jacksonville defense continued to impress when, inside seven minutes before halftime, they tipped back-to-back pass attempts by Rivers, the first by nose tackle Abry Jones and the one to follow by cornerback Aaron Colvin, who was in motion behind the defensive line, coming around the right side of the Chargers' offensive line for the block. These blocks led to Los Angeles' punt to Jacksonville, with Jacksonville still holding the shutout, 6-0.
But notable defensive plays need to be capitalized on, something the Jaguars did not do, as they went no where but backward on the drive and punted the ball right back.
On the Chargers' following drive, wide receiver Tyrell Williams got away from coverage and Rivers beamed it downfield, putting the ball right at the chest of Williams, but Williams did not grab possession at the end zone, missing out on a pass-play that looked to be the Chargers' first score.
Rivers would remain focused to follow, throwing to wide receiver Keenan Allen on 3rd-&-12, who reeled it in for a 17-yard gain and a new set of downs. Two plays later, running back Austin Ekeler took a short pass attempt by Rivers into the end zone from 28 yards away, getting hit by the right sideline, weathering the blow, and keeping his balance, remaining in and tight-roping down the sideline to give Los Angeles their first lead and first points of the game.
The Chargers would take their 7-6 advantage over the Jaguars in Jacksonville into the locker room for the break. This scoring drive came after five straight punts by Los Angeles to open the game.
Los Angeles came into the second half stopping Jacksonville on their first drive of the third quarter and then scoring once again, on a similar play as before, where Ekeler caught a short pass from Rivers on the right side of the field and took it 20+ yards into paydirt, this one a 22-yard scoring play.
Down 14-6, the Jaguars went for it on fourth down shortly after wide receiver Keelan Cole caught a pass from Bortles that resulted in a 36-yard gain, but came up with nothing on a pass thrown too high by Bortles, giving the ball back to the Chargers at the Chargers' 35-yard line.
Jacksonville would force Los Angeles to punt it back as the defense gave the offense yet another opportunity to take advantage.
And they did.
Bortles went 7-for-11 on a late thrid-quarter drive where the Jaguars did not run the ball a single time. The final pass of the drive was off of a fake hand-off where Bortles rolled out right and sent the ball to wide receiver Marqise Lee who stay inbounds for the touchdown for the six-yard score.
Down 14-12, Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone elected to go for the two-point conversion instead of the extra point. On this play, Bortles went right back to Lee who turned around in the end zone and came forward to receive the pass and fall in the end zone with the game-tying play, mkaing it 14-14 with 2:03 left in the third quarter.
The Jaguars' defense followed their game-tying drive by forcing the Chargers to punt for the seventh time in nine possessions, giving the Jacksonville offense the ball back and an opportunity to regain the lead with 14:50 to go in the game.
Jacksonville's offense, instead, would punt the ball away for the sixth time in the game, leaving the contest tied at 14 apiece.
Los Angeles would not allow this drive to get away from them, trusting placekicker Nick Novak from 50 yards out, and it was trust well-placed as he sent it through the uprgihts to regain the lead for Los Angeles at 17-14 with 10:35 to play.
The Jaguars punted the ball right back with 8:57 to play, making it seven drives that concluded in punts for the team at the time.
Less than two minutes later, the punting party continued as the Chargers booted it right back.
On the ensuing drive, Bortles had some respectable quarterback keepers, one for 14 yards and the second for nine yards, but a false start penalty on Jacksonville left tackle Cam Robinson turned a 4th-&-1 attempt by the offense into a punt on 4th-&-6, placing the ball in the hands of Los Angeles with exactly six minutes remaining.
Jaguars' linebacker Telvin Smith came up with a huge stop in the backfield on a Chargers' run play, bringing up 3rd-&-9 and then cornerback Jalen Ramsey seemed to be running the route for Rivers, stopping the reception but dropping the interception. Despite the drop, Jacksonville's defense placed Los Angeles in a fourth-down situation and forced Los Angeles to punt for their ninth time in the game.
But the offense would squander away yet another opportunity to score when Bortles looked to run and decided to pass into coverage. The ball was tipped around and eventually intercepted by Chargers' free safety Tre Boston.
So the defense, after giving opportunities throughout the entire game to the offense, decided to take matters into their own hands when defensive tackle Malik Jackson forced Ekeler to fumble and free safety Tashuan Gipson recovered it, getting up and running in for the touchdown.
But hold on...
After the officials review the play, they rule that Gipson was in contact with a Chargers' player, resulting in the touchdown being erased from the books.
On the offense's first play of the following drive, they received a gift from the Chargers when cornerback Trevor Williams was flagged for pass interference, moving the Jaguars ahead to the Chargers' 22-yard line.
Two plays later, Bortles would throw to the middle of the end zone to Lee, but the pass was incomplete. Adding hot salsa to the wound, Lee danced at a Los Angeles player and was flagged for taunting, moving Jacksonville back 15 yards, and out of field goal range.
On the very next play, Bortles tried for Lee again, but threw instead to Boston of the Chargers, who caught his second interception of the game.
The Jacksonville defense, having carried the team on their backs all game, forced yet another punt, giving the offense a final opportunity inside a minute to play.
Bortles went 3-for-5 on the Jaguars' final drive from regulation, with one of his incompletions gaining some help from a roughing-the-passer penalty on Chargers' defensive end Joey Bosa. With seven seconds to play, placekicker Josh Lambo came in to attempt the 34-yard field goal and sent it home, sending the match into overtime at 17 all.
Jacksonville won the coin toss for overtime and elected to receive.
Bortles aired out on the team's first drive of overtime to Lee in single-coverage. Lee bobbled the ball right by the Los Angeles end zone, but did not come down with it, and Jacksonville ultimately punted away, sending Los Angeles to start from their own 10.
Then, the Jaguars showed once again that the best offense is a good defense when cornerback A.J. Bouye took the ball out of the hands of Benjamin, taking what would have been a huge pass play for the Chargers and turning it into an opportunity for the Jaguars to close out the game.
Bouye ran all the way to just outside the end zone, but Jacksonville was called for their second taunting penalty of the game, this one coming from strong safety Barry Church after the interception, which move the team back to Los Angeles' 17-yard line.
After a few plays on the ground, the Jaguars called Lambo out for the 34-yard attempt.
The ball came off Lambo's foot and into the net between the uprights for a 20-17 Jaguars' win in the extra period.
After starting the season 0-2 at home, Jacksonville has now flipped the script, going 2-0 in their last two contests inside EverBank Field.
They improve to 6-3 on the season, keeping pace in the AFC South division with the Tennessee Titans who also won, in a match-up with the Cincinnati Bengals to elevate to 6-3 as well, coming out of Week 10.