JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines Head Coach Doug Pederson's press conference following the Jaguars' 31-30 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in a 2022 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at TIAA Bank Field Saturday
1. No quit. Pederson throughout an increasingly remarkable season has lauded the Jaguars' resiliency and fight – and he did so again Saturday following the team's most remarkable victory to date. The Jaguars, who rallied to win from 17-, nine-, 17- and 10-point deficits in their last four regular-season home games to win the AFC South title, rallied from a 27-point first-half deficit on Saturday. The victory marked the third-largest postseason come-from-behind victory in NFL postseason history. "My hats off to our guys, our team," said Pederson, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory following the 2017 season. "I told them after the game that other than obviously winning the Super Bowl a few years ago, greatest coaching victory as a team, this one is right up there with it. My hats off to our guys for just battling. As deep a hole as we dug in the first half, there was no quit in our guys."
2. Great performance. Pederson following the game lauded the victory as a team performance, with the Jaguars outgaining the Chargers 390-320 and winning despite losing the takeaway-giveaway margin zero-five. But Pederson specifically praised the performance of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who threw touchdown passes on four consecutive possessions after throwing interceptions on four of six possessions to start the game. Lawrence completed 28 of 47 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns with four interceptions and he completed 23 of his final 29 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns. "I played with one of the greatest quarterbacks ever in [Hall of Famer] Brett Favre and there were times he didn't have a great first half and came back in the second half and could light it up," Pederson said. "That's what I love about Trevor – his demeanor and his aggressiveness and the ability to just forget and move on. He'll be the first one to tell you that it's not about him, it's the guys around him, too. [They] made plays, the protection was good, and receivers were doing a nice job being where they needed to be. But from an individual standpoint, this is really a great performance by our quarterback."
3. Picking up the pace. The Jaguars outscored the Chargers 24-3 in the second half and outgained Los Angeles 282-140 in the final two quarters. The Jaguars' offense was particularly effective during that stretch. Including the final drive of the first half, the Jaguars on their final five possessions drove 47 yards (touchdown), 89 yards (touchdown), 68 yards (touchdown), 70 yards (touchdown) and 61 yards (touchdown). "We had to kind of go up-tempo and be on the ball a little bit more in the second half," Pederson said. "When we got down so many scores there, we just felt like we needed to get a spark and be up-tempo. We were just more efficient in the passing game, and that's what it takes. Sometimes it just takes the guys' desire and the want-to to play better on offense, and they did, but I really think the up-tempo stuff helped us in the second half to kind of get us back in the football game."
4. Another step. Lawrence as expected was a major topic in Pederson's postgame media availability. Pederson not only discussed his on-field statistics but Lawrence's reaction following a late quarterback sneak on a two-point conversion. The play was a key moment in a dramatic rally, coming immediately after Lawrence's fourth touchdown pass in as many possessions – a nine-yarder to wide receiver Christian Kirk that pulled the Jaguars to within 30-26 with 5:25 remaining. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, Pederson opted to go for the two-point conversation from the one-yard line. Lawrence dove over the top and extended the ball over the goal line to cut the Chargers' lead to 30-28. "He never flinches," Pederson said. "You saw the emotion on the sneak, on the goal line. You saw the emotion and that's who he is. I just love the fact that he's leading our football team, but it's a step in the direction that we want this organization to go, we want him to go, our team to go. We've just got to continue to build on that." Pederson added, "I'll just keep saying it, it's a step in the right direction for him and for our team and for our franchise. We love having Trevor as our quarterback."
5. "It's everything." The Jaguars' rally Saturday marked their seventh come-from-behind victory of the season – the sixth time they have rallied after trailing by a touchdown or more. They had lost leads in their first six losses of the season. "It's everything," Pederson said. "That's just what I told them at halftime: 'It's kind of like our season.' We've put ourselves in a hole at times, and we've worked ourselves out of it at times. Just to have the resiliency and the fight and the desire and the ability to continue to play. It could have easily gone the other way, and that's what I'm so proud of these guys for. Everything is on the line, and they go out and get the job done."