JACKSONVILLE – The path perhaps hasn't been ideal.
But while Doug Pederson said he would love for the Jaguars to have been a bit less dramatic than has been the case in recent weeks, he said something else also is true.
The results have been worth it. And then some.
"I'll take it as long as we keep winning," the Jaguars’ head coach said with a smile Monday.
Pederson spoke two days after a 31-30 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC Wild Card Playoff game at TIAA Bank Field. It was a historic night, a 27-point rally marking the largest come-from-behind victory in franchise history and third-largest in NFL postseason history.
The AFC South Champion Jaguars (10-8) will play the AFC West Champion Kansas City Chiefs (14-3) in an AFC Divisional Playoff Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday at 4:30 p.m. – with the Chiefs the AFC's top seed and an annual Super Bowl favorite.
The Chiefs beat the Jaguars, 27-17, in Week 10.
"We have to execute better than we did the first matchup," Pederson said of a game in which the Jaguars committed three turnovers, forced none and failed to score on four of seven possessions inside Kansas City territory. "They've got great players over there, so we just have to execute better."
Pederson added, "We have to take care of the football. We can't obviously do what we did the other night and expect to win, not against this team."
The Jaguars on Saturday became the first team in NFL history to win a postseason game losing turnovers 5-0. All five giveaways came in the first half, with quarterback Trevor Lawrence throwing interceptions on four of the Jaguars' first six possessions.
The Jaguars scored on every possession after that, with Lawrence throwing touchdown passes on four consecutive possessions and kicker Riley Patterson's 36-yard field goal winning the game as time expired.
"We can't keep doing that," Pederson said. "We can't put ourselves in these types of holes – not now and really not ever – and expect to sustain winning."
Added Pederson, "Sometimes we make it hard because we make it harder ourselves. Those are things we're trying to kind of work through. It's just a matter of taking care of our business."
The Jaguars have rallied from two-score deficits to win their last five home games: 27-20 over the Las Vegas Raiders (17 points), 28-27 over the Baltimore Ravens (nine points), 40-34 in overtime over the Dallas Cowboys (17 points), 20-16 over the Tennessee Titans (10 points) and Saturday against the Chargers.
"The positive is that we have dug ourselves out of those holes," Pederson said. "We've been able to kind of hang in there and keep chipping away. But you never want to spot a team 27, especially a good team, and expect to come back and win.
"When you get this far into the postseason now, everything matters. You can't spot anybody. Every mistake is magnified, every turnover is magnified, every point you can get. You're planning an explosive offense. You better score touchdowns. That goes without saying.
"You have to try to minimize as much as possible but maximize your opportunities."
- Pederson on Monday discussed extensively running back Travis Etienne Jr.'s 25-yard gain on fourth-and-one from the Chargers 41 Saturday, a play with 1:30 remaining that set up Patterson's game-winning field goal. The play came from a T-formation alignment designed to give the look of a quarterback sneak, with Etienne getting blocks from tight end Chris Manhertz and wide receiver Zay Jones then breaking the play wide. Pederson credited offensive line coach Phil Rauscher with the play design. Pederson said the "Plays that are that specific are kind of one and done because it's a unique formation," Pederson said. "So you probably won't see that one again the rest of the year."
- Pederson: "We executed better in the second half. There was no panic, there was no point fingers. We just kept chipping away at what we needed to do. You look up at halftime, you've got 30 minutes of ball left, you're either going to win or you're going to lose. You're going to keep playing. You're going to go home. What else are you going to do. Our guys just did a nice job of hanging in there, hanging together. It just showed me again how close this group is, how tight this group is and really, no matter what adversity or the challenges that face us, we're willing to take them on to tackle them and overcome them."
It's not over until we say it's over! 👏 Swipe through to view top moments from the Jacksonville Jaguars historic comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2022 AFC Wild Card game.