INGLEWOOD, Calif. – What only the Jaguars once knew is becoming evident to all.
The Jaguars' offense believes it is good and is showing it can be good – and if that wasn't clear before, it became obvious at SoFi Stadium Sunday afternoon.
"Our confidence has been really high all season," Trevor Lawrence said late Sunday afternoon.
Lawrence, the Jaguars' second-year quarterback, spoke after a 38-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. It was a team victory, as impressive a day as this franchise has had in recent memory, and the Jaguars were particularly impressive in a dominating second half.
The defense was a storyline all day, forcing two turnovers and allowing one touchdown. But the offense perhaps defined Sunday's second half and essentially ended the game with three efficient drives to start the second half.
"To see our offense, respond and put together three scoring drives, and our defense on the flipside to stop them all the time, it was awesome," Lawrence said.
All three Jaguars drives to start the second half covered at least 55 yards.
All ended in touchdowns. When the second half began, the Jaguars led 16-7. When they scored after their third second-half drive, they led 38-10.
"I think it's how we finished this game," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "The offense went down and scored when we had to at the end, and the defense stopped them at the end. That's something that, I think, hasn't been the case here."
"These guys are playing with confidence."
The major difference between the first and half second Sunday indeed was finishing drives. The Jaguars had four red-zone possessions in the first half, with three ending in field goals by Riley Patterson and one ending in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence to wide receiver Zay Jones.
Running back James Robinson finished the Jaguars' first third-quarter drive – a 75-yarder – with a 50-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-1. The Jaguars' next two drives reached the red zone, with Lawrence finishing a 75-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Christian Kirk late in the third quarter before finishing a 68-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones with 4:54 remaining.
"Obviously, you'd like to finish with touchdowns, especially in the red zone there," Pederson said. "It was good that we made the adjustments at halftime and really came back in the second half and finished those drives in the end zone. That's what gives your team a lift.
"All those lift the spirits of everybody - play with a lot more confidence."
Lawrence added of the second-half red-zone success, "That is always the battle. I think we did a good job at responding. Obviously, you want to make those touchdowns, and that is big moving forward. That is one thing we can grow in, so we can look at it and improve. To be able to finish in the second half, to be able to finish with points there, that was huge."
- Jaguars rookie Devin Lloyd registered three passes defensed Sunday, including an interception that he returned 10 yards to set up a 23-yard second-quarter field goal by Patterson. That gave the Jaguars a 6-0 lead. Lloyd, the No. 27 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, also registered an interception and three passes defensed in the Jaguars' Week 2 victory over the Colts.
- "He's fitting into the scheme, fitting into the defense," Pederson said. "He's understanding his role. I challenge the guys each week to understand the game plan and understand their job and how they can fit. He's doing that. Obviously, these games are valuable for him. He's settling in. [He's a] tremendous player. He had a heck of a pass deflection down the field late. He's a good football player, kind of settling into his role."
- Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins: "That's a good football team over there. It's a huge confidence-builder for our football team, especially putting together two back-to-back dominant wins. I feel like that's really a step forward." The Jaguars beat the Indianapolis Colts, 24-0, in Week 2. The last two weeks mark their first back-to-back victories since October of 2019. "Now we know we can go into hostile environments and be able to come out on top," Jenkins said.
- Jaguars sixth-year defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot, whose second-quarter sack/fumble led to Lawrence's touchdown pass to Zay Jones and an early double-digit lead: "It's been all worth it, going through a rebuild each year. Now, I feel like we're finally starting to get it. We just started. It's only three. We still have a long season to go. But I feel like we're turning the corner to being something special."
- Jaguars inside linebacker Foye Oluokun: "It's good to get another win in the column and start off the year in a good way. It shows what we're capable of. Winning only gets harder as the year goes on, but we know if we're the right track we can play with anybody. We have a lot more statements to prove. If you start off the year hot and end wrong, it's not a statement at all. It's a fluke. We've got to keep doing it week in and week out."