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Jaguars Advance in the Playoffs After Starting Down 27-0

Posted on January 14, 2023 at 11:35 PM

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Jacksonville Jaguars started their first playoff since the 2017-18 season well... not how you want to begin any game.

  Jacksonville had four possessions in the first quarter. They ended in an interception, an interception, a punt, and an interception.

  The Los Angeles Chargers capitalized on every single one of the Jaguars three turnovers, with a touchdown by running back Austin Ekeler from 13 yards out, a 22-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker, and a six-yard touchdown run by Ekeler, in that order, giving the Chargers a 17-0 advantage after a mere 15 minutes.

  Jacksonville would begin the second quarter by punting the ball away and the Chargers replied with their fourth score of the contest, a nine-yard score from quarterback Justin Herbert to tight end Gerald Everett to make it 24-0 at the 7:12 mark of the second quarter.

  With 6:51 left on the first half game clock, Lawrence threw his fourth interception.

  This is not a typo.

  Four interceptions in the first half for Lawrence in his first National Football League (NFL) playoff game.

  After offensive blunders and the defense failing to halt Los Angeles, Jacksonville's special teams joined the woes of the night as the ball on a punt try went off the head of cornerback Chris Claybrooks, which led to the ball being live. Chargers' linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga recovered the ball at the Jaguars' six-yard line.

  This drive would conclude with Dicker through the uprights once again, this time from 23 yards away to extend their lead to 27-0 with 4:25 before half.

  A fumbled hand-off try by Herbert would be recovered by Los Angeles, but would lead to a punt to Jacksonville at the two-minute warning.

  However, the Jaguars remained focused, scoring wih 24 seconds left in the first half on a nine-yard pass from Lawrence to tight end Evan Engram over the middle of the end zone to get the Jaguars on the board before the break, making it 27-7 at halftime.

  Los Angeles received the ball coming out of the break and despite getting a new set of downs, Jacksonville would prevent them from a score, getting the ball back off a punt, starting their drive at their own 11 at the 12:28 mark of the third quarter.

  The Jaguars would get all the way to the Chargers' one-yard line, but would get moved back five yards on a delay of game.

  This did not rattle the offense, as Lawrence found wide receiver Marvin Jones, Jr., heading from the middle of the end zone out left for the six-yard score.

  With 5:11 remaining in the third quarter, Jacksonville cut their deficit to 13, 27-14.

  The Jaguars' defense would force a 4th-&-11 situation on the next Chargers' drive.

  Los Angeles' response? A 50-yard field goal by Dicker for his third make in as many tries in the game, giving Los Angeles a 30-14 lead with 2:58 to go on the third-quarter clock.

  Jacksonville would take their second drive of the second half into the end zone as well, this time Lawrence airing out to a wide open Zay Jones heading down the field into the teal territory of TIAA Bank Field for a 39-yard score to bring the score to 30-20 Los Angeles with 44 seconds left in the quarter.

  A two-point conversion try to Zay Jones in the middle of the end zone fell incomplete, keeping the score at 30-20.

  Early in the fourth quarter, on the Jaguars' 41, the Chargers were flagged with an ineligible player downfield, moving them back to the Jaguars' 46. 

  This was followed by defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris batting away a pass attempt.

  But Herbert would respond with back-to-back completions, the first to tight end Tre' McKitty for 11 yards and the next to wide receiver Keen Allen for six yards, gaining a new set of downs at the Jaguars' 29.

  A holding penalty on 3rd-&-3 would be declined by Jacksonville, forcing 4th-&-3 for Los Angeles where Dicker would miss from 43 yards away.

  Dicker would miss his fourth attempt of the night, giving the Jaguars the ball on their own 30.

  On first down, Lawrence was sacked for a nine-yard loss, but on 2nd-&-19, cornerback Ja'Sir Taylor would be flagged for pass intereference, giving Jacksonville a new set of downs and six yards to their own 27-yard line.

  An eight-yard catch by Zay Jones was called a reception on the field, good for a first down on 2nd-&-4 but Chargers' Head Coach Brandon Staley would challenge if it was a catch.

  Officials would review the play, and the catch was upheld for a first down for Jacksonville.

  Lawrence would go 4-for-6 from there, with the final pass going to wide receiver Christian Kirk in the end zone for a nine-yard score.

  An unsportsmanlike penalty by outside linebacker Joey Bosa put the Jaguars on the Chargers one-yard line, and Jaguars' Head Coach Doug Pederson would elect to go for the two-point conversion.

  Lawrence would take the hike and use those long arms to get the ball over the goal-line getting Jacksonville to a two-point deficit, 30-28, with 5:25 left in the game.

  The Jaguars would get the ball back and on 4th-&-1 the Chargers expected a rush forward. Doug Pederson out-smarted them with a hand-off from Lawrence to running back Travis Etienne, Jr., who came from left to right for a 25-yard gain to the Chargers' 16.

  Then, with three seconds remaining kicker Riley Patterson booted a 36-yarder through the uprights to win as time expired, 31-30, advancing to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.

  Four interceptions in the first half, three in the first quarter alone.

  Behind 27-0 to start the game.

  And yet here we are with a party in Jacksonville after the Jaguars end the game on a 31-3 scoring run.

  Because when you believe, you believe, that a game is never truly over until those digits all read zeroes.


Categories: Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL