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Jaguars Shock the Chargers with Come From Behind Wild Card Victory

The Jacksonville Jaguars staged the largest comeback victory in their history, beating the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30 in the first round of the playoffs, after being down 27-0. This comeback was the third largest in playoff history. 

The Chargers scored first, just two plays after LB Drue Tranquill intercepted a QB Trevor Lawrence pass, on a 13 yard touchdown run by RB Austin Ekeler. The Chargers’ CB Asante Samuel Jr. later intercepted a Lawrence pass on fourth down with seven yards to go, which led to a 22 yard K Cameron Dicker field goal, extending the Chargers lead to 10-0. Another interception of a pass by Lawrence (by Samuel) resulted in a 6 yard touchdown run by Ekeler, putting the Chargers up 17-0 at the end of what felt like a long first quarter. 

Midway through the second quarter, QB Justin Herbert threw a 9 yard touchdown pass to TE Gerald Everett, and Cameron Dicker added the extra point, extending the lead to 24-0. The Chargers’ Asante Samuel Jr. again intercepted a Trevor Lawrence pass three plays later, and Dicker kicked a 23 yard field goal two and half minutes later, to put LA ahead 27-0. The Jaguars finally scored on a 9 yard Trevor Lawrence pass to TE Evan Engram, followed by K Riley Patterson’s extra point, putting the Jags on the board, but down 27-7 heading into the half. 

On the Jaguars first scoring drive of the third quarter, Trevor Lawrence found Marvin Jones in the end zone with a six yard touchdown pass, followed by Patterson’s extra point, narrowing their deficit to 27-14. But the Chargers responded with a fifty yard field goal by Cameron Dicker, increasing their lead to 30-14. Trevor Lawrence brought the crowd to their feet several minutes later with a 39 yard touchdown pass to WR Zay Jones. They missed a two point conversion attempt, but the Jags were now down just 30-20 at the end of the third quarter. 

In the fourth quarter, Jaguars fans cheered as Cameron Dicker missed a 40 yard field goal. Trevor Lawrence completed a 9 yard pass to WR Christian Kirk, followed by a two point conversion, bringing the Jags within two at 30-28. After stopping the Chargers next drive, the Jaguars were able to move the ball into position for Riley Patterson to kick a 36 yard field goal with just three seconds on the clock, to put the team ahead 31-30 as time expired.

Riley Patterson at postgame press conference. Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky (Florida Sports Channel)

In week three of this season, the Jaguars also beat the Chargers 38-10 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Tonight’s game was the Jaguars’ first postseason appearance since 2017, and the Chargers’ first since 2018.

At age 23, Trevor Lawrence is the youngest quarterback in the playoffs this year. The matchup of the top pick in the 2021 draft against Justin Herbert marks the first time in NFL history that two Top 10-drafted quarterbacks have played one another in the playoffs in their first three seasons. It’s also interesting to note that Trevor Lawrence has never lost a game on Saturday in high school, college, or the NFL. 

The Jaguars are the fifth team since 1970 to win their division after having the NFL’s worst record the previous season. The Jaguars are also the fifth team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a five game losing streak and a five game winning streak in the same season. The Chargers and Jaguars are two of twelve teams to have never won a Super Bowl. The Bills, Bengals, and Vikings are also playoff teams competing for their first Lombardi trophy. 

Travis Etienne Jr and Trevor Lawrence after Jaguars victory. Photo Credit: Rafael Crisostomo (Florida National News)

Trevor Lawrence finished with 288 yards and four touchdowns (which helped to make up for the four interceptions in the first half). Travis Etienne Jr. led the Jaguars rushing with 109 yards. Evan Engram was the leading receiver with 93 yards and one touchdown.

Today’s attendance was 70,250, which was the largest crowd at TIAA Bank Field since Shad Khan took ownership of the team in 2012. The Jaguars advance to the divisional round next weekend, though their opponent and the scheduling of the game depends on the outcome of the other AFC wild card games on Sunday. In other Florida NFL news, the Miami Dolphins will face the Buffalo Bills at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, 1/15, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the Dallas Cowboys Monday night, 1/16 at 8:15 p.m. Be sure to follow www.FloridaSportsChannel.com and www.FloridaNationalNews.com for more.

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