INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The first-place Jaguars are still the first-place Jaguars.
Now, they're there with a stifling defense and an efficient offense – and with a road victory over a team expected by many to contend for the postseason, and perhaps the Super Bowl.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence passed for three touchdowns and the defense forced two turnovers, with running back James Robinson also turning in a huge second-half play as the Jaguars pulled away for a 38-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium Sunday afternoon.
"The way we've played, you can't deny that we're a really good team," Lawrence said. "It doesn't really matter what it says about us. We know who we are. Our only goal on Sunday is to go win the game. What other people think about us doesn't matter.
"Every week we're going to prepare the same way. We're going to be ready to play. We have a bunch of competitors, so it's been a lot of fun."
The Jaguars (2-1) with the victory maintained their early-season lead in the AFC South. The second-place Indianapolis Colts are 1-1-1 with the Tennessee Titans 1-2 and the Houston Texans 0-2-1.
"I can't speak for the [perception of] the rest of league; I can just speak for our team: This is a great win against a really good football team," Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "This (Los Angeles) is a playoff-caliber football team.
"We're still young. We're still learning how to win and how to do all that stuff. I just think this was a great win in that direction."
The Jaguars' 38 points was their highest regular-season total since a 38-20 victory over Indianapolis in the 2019 regular-season finale. The Jaguars beat the Colts, 24-0, at TIAA Bank Field in Week 2.
"It's awesome," Lawrence said. "I think that's the coolest thing. We had a big win last week and to see that same focus and intensity and preparation this week … I think that's the sign that we're heading in the right direction.
"We have to keep doing that week in and week out. Every week is going to present new challenges. You just have to come ready to play and we did that today. It's awesome.
Lawrence completed 28 of 39 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Robinson rushed for 100 yards and a 50-yard third-quarter touchdown that came on 4th-and-1 and gave the Jaguars a 23-10 lead.
The Jaguars outgained the Chargers 413-312 and won on the road against the Chargers for the first time in six all-time meetings. The Jaguars' last road victory came against Oakland in December 2019, and they entered Sunday having lost 18 consecutive road games.
"It's huge," Jaguars defensive end Dawuane Smoot said. "We haven't done it in a while. We're turning the corner to something special. We just have to keep it rolling."
Lawrence's three touchdowns went to wide receiver Zay Jones for 14 yards in the second quarter, four yards to Christian Kirk in the third quarter and 11 yards to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. in the fourth quarter. Kirk's touchdown gave the Jaguars a 31-10 lead entering the fourth quarter and Marvin Jones' touchdown made it 38-10 late in the game.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, a game-time decision after being questionable on the week's final injury report with a rib issue, completed 18 of 35 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown with an interception.
The Jaguars registered a sack, with their two takeaways an interception by linebacker Devin Lloyd early in the second quarter and a second-quarter fumble recovery by linebacker Foye Oluokon. Smoot registered a sack/fumble.
"I'm just so proud of these guys, the way they work during the week," Pederson said. "They're beginning to see, I think, just what it takes to win in this league. It takes hard work and preparation. They're starting to come together as a football team and that's all I can ask for.
"If they continue to do these things right good things can happen to this football team and today was an example of that."
Step by step:
- Neither team scored in the first quarter, with the Jaguars outgaining the Chargers 119-22 and driving deep into Chargers territory late in the period. The Jaguars turned it over on downs on their first possession, with Lawrence throwing incomplete on 3rd-and-4th-and-6 from the Chargers 40, then forced a punt on the Chargers' first possession.
- The Jaguars took a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter with two short field goals by Riley Patterson – a 22-yarder with 14:57 remaining in the quarter that capped a 63-yard drive and a 23-yarder with 13:52 remaining in the quarter. The second field goal came four plays after Lloyd's interception gave the Jaguars possession at the Chargers 5. Smoot's strip sack on Herbert that Oluokun recovered led to Lawrence's 14-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones five plays later with 10:23 remaining in the quarter. Herbert's 15-yard pass to wide receiver Mike Williams on the ensuing possession capped nine-play, 75-yard drive that cut the Jaguars' lead to 13-7 with 6:10 remaining in the half. A 23-yard field goal by Patterson pushed the Jaguars' lead to 16-7 with 1:02 remaining in the half, after which the Jaguars had outgained the Chargers 216-116.
- Chargers kicker Dustin Hopkins' 25-yard field goal with 11:51 remaining in the third quarter capped the first drive of the second half and cut the Jaguars' lead to 16-10; a 54-yard completion from outside the pocket on 3rd-and-15 from the Chargers 20 from Herbert to wide receiver Jalen Guyton keyed the drive. Robinson's 50-yard run on 4th-and-1 pushed the Jaguars' lead to 23-10 with 10:38 remaining in the third quarter. Lawrence followed his four-yard touchdown pass to Kirk with a two-point conversion pass to tight end Evan Engram for a 21-point lead with 1:15 remaining in the third quarter.
- Jones' 11-yard reception from Lawrence marked the only points of the fourth quarter.
- Cornerback Shaquill Griffin became the Jaguars' first significant injury of the season Sunday, missing the game with a hip injury after being added to the injury report Friday. Veteran Tre Herndon started in his place. No Jaguars players had missed either of the first two games with injuries and the team listed no players on the report this week until adding Griffin Friday. The Jaguars' other four inactives Sunday: Wide receiver Kendric Pryor, running back Snoop Conner, safety Tyree Gillespie and outside linebacker De'Shaan Dixon.
Get in on the action with these real-time game photos from the Jaguars 2022 Week 3 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.