JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars won an AFC Wild Card Playoff game Saturday.
They did so by rallying from a 27-0 second-quarter deficit for a 31-30 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at TIAA Bank Field. It marked the third-largest postseason comeback in NFL history, and it was unquestionably one of the great games – and great scenes – in the Jaguars' 28 seasons.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw four first-half interceptions. He threw four touchdowns after that. Few quarterbacks ever have played so stunningly well after such a difficult start on such a big stage. It was the depths of frustration followed by the height of elation, and only the truest believers maintained belief in the first half and into the second Saturday.
Thusly, I made the executive decision to not respond to emails sent in the first three quarters.
Many of you (and you know who you are) can thank me later.
Let's get to it …
CMo from The Cats, CA
Are you kidding me? This just happened? There is a new greatest game in Jaguars history.
There's merit to this. Among the striking aspects of the Jaguars' 2022 season is that the last four regular-season home games very possibly were among the most memorable 10 home games in franchise history: a 17-point rally to beat the Las Vegas Raiders 27-20, a nine-point rally to beat the Baltimore Ravens 28-27, a 17-point rally to beat the Dallas Cowboys 40-34 in overtime and a 10-point rally to beat the Tennessee Titans 20-16 and clinch the AFC South. The Cowboys game and the Tennessee game arguably were among the top victories in franchise history. Then, the Jaguars topped all four of those games with a wildly improbable victory that defied reason and analysis Saturday night. I'm not big on labeling things the Greatest of All Time in their immediate aftermath because it's too easy to get caught up in the emotion of such moments. But was Saturday the greatest game in franchise history? A strong argument absolutely can be made. It was unreal.
Sensei Rudy from Sacramento, CA
It's not over till it's over with this team. Even down 27 you got the feeling they would rally. Whatever happens the rest of the season this team has come a long, long way. It will take an opponent's best for four quarters to finish us moving forward and I feel like we've got a puncher's chance in the tournament now. I got my Jags tat this week, perfect timing. DTWD, John.
I don't know that too many people outside the Jaguars "got the feeling they would rally" when the Chargers led 27-0 late in the first half. The Jaguars already had committed five turnovers and they were a mess. I know there were a lot of emailers who damned sure didn't "got the feeling they would rally." But you know what? Players and coaches said afterward they had the feeling. And considering their ability to rally in unbelievable adverse circumstances, we have to believe them. I don't know what the rest of the postseason holds for the Jaguars. I do know the Jaguars are going to be one of the final eight teams playing in the 2022 NFL season. And I know the reason for that is they have the most amazing, season-defining ability to consistently come from behind of any team I ever have covered – and I covered some phenomenal come-from-behind teams. It's a remarkable story.
Boxcutter Bill from Massachusetts
At this point I won't live long enough to see the Super Bowl. What a game. Duuuuuuuuval/
Winning is cool. Fans from Massachusetts like it …
Kathy from Jacksonville
What a second half!!! The look on the kicker's face was priceless!!!!
… and from Duval …
Nathan from Utah, US
Zone, wow. I expected them to fight to the end and make it competitive down the stretch, but . . . guess anything's possible. One down, three to go. GO JAGUARS!!!!!
… and from Utah …
Adam from Allentown, PA
Three more. I'm telling you. It was always the Jags. C'mon, somebody!!
… and from those who are living there in Allentown.
David from Broward County, FL
O-Man, fourth-and-one, :28 left in fourth quarter, down by two points, Doug P dials up … the Delaware Wing T Baby!!!! Cardiac Cats for the win. The friggin Wing T.
Loyal readers of this column – and he knows who he is – will tell you I'm not big on crediting or blaming coaching for all that happens in the NFL. This is because I believe fans faaaaar to often blame or credit coaching in situations coaches can't control. I also believe that many coaches in the NFL are comparatively interchangeable, and that players – particularly quarterbacks – are the biggest factors in winning or losing. But there are also outlier situations in everything – and as such, there are outlier NFL coaches. If they're awful, they can bring a team down. If they're really good, they can make a team better. Pederson appears to be really, really good – as a leader and a playcaller. That's a pretty good one-two coaching punch.
John from St. Augustine
Wait, did we just win our TENTH game?
Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA
Can they be stopped? Three interceptions and one three and out in the first four series and a 27-0 lead wasn't enough. I'm not sure what it even takes to beat them at this point.
More than a 27-point lead.
Bill from Palm Beach Gardens, FL
That fourth-and-one call was one of the best coaching calls ever made in Jaguars history.
You're referencing the fourth-and-one that Pederson called with 1:30 remaining. He lined up running back Travis Etienne Jr. on the left side of a side-by-side, three-back set, then ran Etienne on a sweep right with the other two backs and the line crushing down on the line of scrimmage. It appeared for all the world – including the Chargers – that the Jaguars would run quarterback Trevor Lawrence on a quarterback sneak with the backs powering/pushing him from behind for the first down. To run outside in that situation took major, major … guts. Pederson has big, big … guts. And yeah … it was one of the best coaching calls in Jaguars history. One fer Dougie P's guts.
Brandon from Omaha, NE
Hey O, has a team that lost the turnover battle 0-5 ever won a playoff game before?
Ian from Leeds, UK
Not going to lie, Zone, I nearly turned the game off towards the end of the first half. Glad I didn't – what an incredible comeback! This team doesn't know when it's beaten.
I wrote and said on multiple occasions this season that this team had a notable confidence – even before it really had earned that confidence. I don't know if that comment was wrong then, and I don't know if it's wrong now. I do know that this team's belief in itself even when others don't believe in it – and even when it's playing poorly, and even when situations look lost – is truly remarkable. Maybe that's coaching. Maybe it's veteran leadership. Maybe it's something innate within all players – young, old, experienced, inexperienced. Whatever it is, it remains the defining characteristic of a remarkable team.
Cliff from Everywhere with helicopter
I will not doubt Trevor. I will not doubt Trevor. I will not doubt Trevor …
At least not until the next interception.
Jeremy from Jacksonville by way of Riverview
Now we really are playing with house money.
Teams don't think this way, and the 2022 Jaguars darned sure don't think this way. But yeah … I had the sense entering Saturday that the Jaguars very much had "nothing to lose." It's likely they will be prohibitive underdogs in any game they play the rest of the season. I don't know that I would bet against them, though – no matter how far behind in a particular game they might fall.
Sean from Jacksonville
Wow. I was wrong. So wrong. BAM!
Sean wrote in in the first half. He is benefitting from being nice …
JR from The Squatchlands
I never knew crow could be sooo delicious! DUUUVAAALLL!!!
… as is JR …
Josh from Atlanta, GA
I am So sorry. That was incredible. So happy for everyone there, WOW.
… and Josh.
Paul from Saint Johns
I turned the game off in the second quarter after all the interceptions. I felt a blowout was in store and I started talking about what a great year we had and how we weren't ready to win in the playoffs. I won't do that again during this magical run.
Suuuuuuure you won't.
Jason from Jacksonville
IT WAS ALWAYS THE JAGS!!!!
Karter from Monterey, CA
So, my neighborhood lost power with six minutes left in the second quarter. The power wasn't restored for nearly three hours. Imagine my shock after reading by flashlight for two hours since I don't have cell service that the Jags won. Do I need to quit watching the Jags so they win? Am I cursed?
You don't need to quit watching the Jaguars. It does sound like you need to move the hell out of Monterey.