JACKSONVILLE – This game had a familiar feel.
This time, that familiar feel cost the Jaguars a chance at a three-game winning streak.
Quarterback Blake Bortles passed for 329 yards, but the Jaguars' recent red-zone offense struggles continued – and did so in a costly way – in a 31-25 loss to the San Diego Chargers in front of 59,477 at EverBank Field Sunday afternoon.
The Jaguars, after entering the game having scored touchdowns on three of their last 11 red-zone trips, entered the red zone four times on Sunday. They settled for three field goals.
The Chargers scored touchdowns on four of five red-zone possessions, including all three of their first-half possessions inside the Jaguars' 20. Two of the touchdowns came on passes from quarterback Philip Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates in the final two minutes of the first half.
That stretch turned a two-point Jaguars lead into a 12-point halftime deficit. The Jaguars never got closer than five points again.
Bortles completed 30 of 49 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns with a late first-half interception that led to Gates' second second-quarter touchdown. Rivers completed 29 of 43 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Jaguars (4-7) entered having won two consecutive games and three of their last four. San Diego (3-8) had lost six consecutive games.
The Jaguars, who trailed 21-9 at halftime after Gates' two late first-half touchdowns, trimmed the lead to nine with 28-yard field goal by kicker Jason Myers on the first possession of the second half. A 28-yard field goal by Josh Lambo pushed the Chargers' lead to 24-12 entering the fourth quarter.
A 21-yard touchdown pass from Bortles to tight end Julius Thomas with 10:58 remaining cut the Chargers' lead to 24-19. The play came on 4th-and-7 and capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive.
Rivers' fourth touchdown pass of the game came on the ensuing series as he passed five yards to wide receiver Stevie Johnson for a 31-19 lead with 4:45 remaining. It was a 14-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 6:13.
The Jaguars cut the lead to the final margin with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Bortles to wide receiver Allen Robinson with 1:21 remaining. That came two plays after a blocked punt by Hayes Pullard III gave the Jaguars possession at the San Diego 14 with 1:30 remaining.
The ensuing onside kick was batted out of bounds by San Diego.
The Jaguars trailed by 12 at halftime despite controlling much of the first half. Red-zone struggles, three touchdown passes by Rivers and a late second-quarter interception by Bortles hurt.
The Jaguars drove effectively on the first drive until reaching the red zone, settling for a 22-yard field goal by Myers and a 3-0 lead with 10:39 remaining in the first quarter. Bortles completed five of seven passes for 67 yards on the possession, including a 25-yard pass to Robinson to the Chargers 12.
Their ensuing drive ended with a 51-yard field goal by Myers that made it 6-0, Jaguars, with 4:43 remaining in the first quarter. That was an eight-play, 53-yard drive.
Images from the jaguars Week 12 matchup with the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers took advantage of their first red-zone opportunity, taking a 7-6 lead with a two-yard pass from Rivers to wide receiver Dontrelle Inman with 14:21 remaining in the second quarter. That capped a seven-play, 63-yard drive.
The Jaguars took a 9-7 lead with 7:00 remaining in the second quarter on Myers' 27-yard field goal. That came on a drive that began at the Chargers 45, and was the Jaguars' second red-zone possession with each ending in a field goal.
The Chargers retook the lead, 14-9, lead with 1:50 remaining in the half when Rivers passed nine yards to a wide open Gates in the middle of the end zone, then immediately pushed the lead to double digits. Cornerback Davon House appeared to have coverage on the play.
First, linebacker Manti Te'o intercepted a pass over the middle from Bortles, returning it 11 yards to the Jaguars 22. Rivers dropped a 12-yard pass over Gates' shoulder after Gates beat safety Jonathan Cyprien to the corner of the end zone.
That came with :45 remaining in the half and gave San Diego a 21-9 halftime lead.
Player of the game
Julius Thomas, tight end.The offseason free-agent signee had his most productive game of the season, helping the Jaguars rally in the second half. He finished the game with nine receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Not only did he catch a 21-yard fourth-quarter touchdown, he had an 11-yard reception four plays earlier on third-and-6. He has three touchdown receptions this season.
The Jaguars again moved well between the 20-yard lines, finishing with 420 total yards. They moved effectively in the first half until nearing end zone, producing 225 yards in the half with Bortles throwing for 197 first-half yards to go with the second-quarter interception.
Rivers burned the Jaguars for four touchdown passes, all of which came in the red zone, and the Chargers finished with 369 total yards. The Jaguars allowed the Chargers 211 first-half yards.
Kicker Jason Myers continued his recent hot streak, converting four of four field-goal attempts, but he also missed a late extra point. A low punt by punter Bryan Anger resulted in a 15-yard return that gave San Diego good field position to start what became a 63-yard drive for the Chargers' first touchdown. Rashad Greene returned three punts for a nine-yard average.
*Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns left the game on a stretcher late in the fourth quarter after diving for an incomplete pass and sustaining a concussion. The game was stopped for several minutes, and Hurns moved his arms and gave a "thumbs" up as he was carted from the field.
*Jaguars safety Josh Evans left the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion.
*Otto linebacker Dan Skuta was inactive for a second time in three games with a groin injury. The Jaguars' other inactives Sunday: safety Craig Loston (ankle), running back Bernard Pierce (calf), wide receiver Neal Sterling (illness), running back Joe Banyard, offensive lineman Luke Bowanko and defensive tackle Michael Bennett.
*Robinson caught five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown with a 25-yard reception in the first half.
*Tight end Marcedes Lewis had a 24-yard reception in the first half.
*Cornerback Aaron Colvin knocked a pass way from Johnson at goal line on a drive late in the second quarter.
*Defensive tackle Roy Miller had a first-half sack. He has three sacks this season.
*Defensive end Jared Odrick had a sack early in the second half. He has four sacks this season.
Setting the scene as the Jaguars prepare to face the San Diego Chargers