Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars stun Chargers in playoffs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars began on the mistaken facet of historical past and got here out of it on the opposite facet.

Just like that, the storybook season continues with a playoff efficiency for the ages.

Trevor Lawrence erased the worst half of soccer in his life with the most effective, main the Jaguars to a somehow-they-did-it and you-still-can’t-believe-it-happened 31-30 comeback over the Chargers on a cold Saturday night time at TIAA Bank Field.

Riley Patterson’s 36-yard subject as time ran off the clock set off an electrical celebration that put a collection of exclamation factors on a comeback from a 27-0 deficit.

Yes, 27-0! The Jaguars had 5 turnovers and have been useless in the water in the opening half. They roared again and delivered Doug Pederson probably the most gorgeous victories of his profession.

“I imply, it is all the things. That’s simply what I instructed them at halftime, it is form of like our season,” Pederson mentioned. “We’ve put ourselves in a gap at instances, and we have labored ourselves out of it at instances. Just to have the resilience and the combat and the will and the flexibility to proceed to play, as a result of it might have simply gone the opposite approach, and that is what I’m so pleased with these guys for. Everything is on the road, and so they exit and get the job achieved.”

Lawrence tossed 4 interceptions in the primary half and countered that with 4 touchdowns and a clutch two-point conversion vault after that with 5 minutes, 30 seconds to play to get Jacksonville in place for a comeback that did not appear real looking. The protection pressured a punt and Lawrence engineered a basic drive from his personal 21 to set Patterson up for the dagger to win it.

It was the third-largest comeback in playoff historical past and sends the Jaguars into the divisional playoffs subsequent week. Their opponent might be finalized Sunday however will doubtless be both the top-seeded Chiefs or the No. 2-seed Bills, barring main upsets.

“Typical us,” mentioned receiver Marvin Jones. “We know the right way to throw a great celebration.”

Added receiver Christian Kirk: “I instructed them we’re by no means doing that once more.”

That the Jaguars have been even sniffing the divisional spherical was unthinkable when the sport was in the primary half.

Lawrence threw 4 interceptions in the primary two quarters — half of what he threw in the earlier 17 video games mixed — that silenced the group of 70,250 nearly instantly. That begin was traditionally unhealthy, however Lawrence’s end managed to make {that a} footnote.

From a 27-0 deficit in the second quarter, Lawrence threw second-half landing passes to Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and to Marvin Jones, then added a two-point conversion leap over the pile to make it 30-28 with 5:30 left. to go. Lawrence, sensing that the unimaginable was inside attain, spiked the ball down as laborious as he is ever achieved after a scoring play and the group went ballistic.

The Jaguars protection got here up enormous after that. Roy Robertson-Harris sacked Justin Herbert for a lack of 8. And Foye Oluokun stopped Joshua Kelly quick on third right down to power a punt. Lawrence bought it again with 3:09 left at his personal 21.

“I imply, the percentages, I instructed the boys, I do not like my odds however I like my possibilities,” Oluokun mentioned. “As lengthy as there’s just a little chance of successful in any respect, we will hold preventing. We noticed the tables begin turning, we had momentum, we stored that, we stored getting the ball again to the offense and so they began rolling.”

Down the sphere Lawrence moved the Jaguars, hitting Kirk, Marvin Jones and Zay Jones with 4 passes, though a third-and-1 goal to Kirk was off. That arrange a play for the sport. Fourth-and-1 on the Chargers 41 and too far for Patterson, Pederson referred to as on Travis Etienne.

Instead of going up the center, Etienne broke round the fitting facet and had an open subject to work with. He was tackled after a achieve of 20 and that set Patterson up for a makeable shot which he nailed.

Ballgame.

Lawrence’s three first-quarter interceptions marked the primary time in NFL playoff historical past {that a} quarterback was picked off thrice in the primary quarter, in accordance with the Boston Globe.

His 4 first-half interceptions are a doubtful feat completed only one different time in playoff historical past, in the 1978 Super Bowl by Denver’s Craig Morton in opposition to the Cowboys. Lawrence completed 28 of 47 for 288 yards, 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

“For myself, clearly sure, positively the worst half of my soccer life, of lots of people’s soccer life, too,” Lawrence mentioned. “Some sort of historical past most likely in that state.”

He discovered a rhythm after that disastrous begin, bringing Jacksonville to inside 30-20 on a 39-yard landing to Zay Jones late in the third quarter.

Lawrence turned in the worst recreation he is had at any stage of soccer, throwing an interception on the second play of the sport, one other on Jacksonville’s subsequent drive and one other late in the opening quarter. Those led to 17 fast factors for the Chargers and a lead that was nearly too steep to beat.

“I performed with one of many best quarterbacks ever in Brett Favre and there have been instances he did not have an amazing first half and got here again in the second half and will gentle it up,” Pederson mentioned.

“That’s what I like about Trevor and his demeanor and his aggressiveness and the flexibility to only overlook and transfer on. But he’ll be the primary one to inform you that it is not about him, it is the blokes round him, too. [They] made performs, the safety was good, receivers have been doing a pleasant job being the place they wanted to be. But from a person standpoint, that is actually an amazing efficiency by our quarterback.”

Lawrence bought out of his funk earlier than halftime, throwing a 9-yard landing to Evan Engram. He added that 39-yard strike to Jones and a 6-yard move to Marvin Jones in the third quarter that whittled the deficit to 30-20.

That began the thought course of. Maybe, simply possibly?

“Hopefully we play just a little bit higher subsequent week. The protection, hopefully they play identical to they did tonight. They did an amazing job. But offensively you possibly can’t flip the ball over that many instances and anticipate to win. We discovered a approach tonight, nevertheless it’s most likely not a great formulation shifting ahead,” Lawrence mentioned. “So, I do know for me personally, it should not take that sort of second half to win the sport. If you simply play higher in the primary half and maintain the ball.”

The begin drained the electrical energy from the stadium in the blink of a watch. After picks on Jacksonville’s first two drives and a punt after that, Lawrence was picked for a 3rd time in the primary quarter, and the second by Asante Samuel, which arrange a 6-yard landing run by Austin Ekeler. By the time the opening quarter ended in a 17-0 deficit, Lawrence had accomplished 4 passes to his teammates and three to the Chargers.

No one anticipated the Jaguars to be in this place. Cleaning up the mess of Urban Meyer and years of struggles earlier than that, it might have been formidable to Jacksonville turning the nook in 2022.

But the Jaguars escaped a 2-6 begin and received their last 5 video games of the season to grab an sudden AFC South title.

That’s home cash. And the Jaguars are nonetheless spending it.

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