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Quick thoughts: Jaguars 31, Chargers 30


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars’ 31-30 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in a 2022 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at TIAA Bank Field Saturday

John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer

  1. Un.Be.Liev.A.Ble. The Jaguars won on Saturday in unbelievable, unreal fashion – a rally so unlikely that it defied analysis and created the third-largest comeback in NFL postseason history. How does a team really from a 27-0 first-half deficit? From five first-half turnovers? How does a quarterback throw touchdown passes on four consecutive second-half possessions after throwing four first-half interceptions? That's what the Jaguars and quarterback Trevor Lawrence did Saturday, and the only way to explain it is that this is what this team does. Jaguars players to a man afterward spoke of remarkable confidence even when trailing by what seemed an insurmountable deficit, with veteran linebacker Foye Oluokun gathering the team at halftime and telling teammates they were going to win despite still trailing by 27-7 at the time. "It's really cool to see what happens when everybody believes," Lawrence said, with veteran Marvin Jones Jr. adding, "It's the belief." Why did they believe it? Perhaps because they had rallied from 17, nine, 17 and 10 points to win their last four regular-season games. Perhaps because they had rallied from a 2-6 and 4-8 start to finish with a winning record. Perhaps because they rallied from a four-game deficit to win the AFC South. Whatever the reason, there's a special resiliency about this team, and players truly do not believe they are ever incapable of rallying. They proved it again Saturday in the greatest comeback in franchise history – and one of the greatest comebacks in NFL postseason history. It was unreal, but oddly not unusual for this very special team in this very special season.
  2. "That's a special man." Make no mistake: Saturday's improbable Jaguars victory absolutely was a team thing. But in a league that is increasingly primarily about the quarterback, this victory was just as absolutely about Lawrence. "This was really a great performance by our quarterback," Head Coach Doug Pederson said. Throwing four first-half interceptions in a playoff debut is more than enough to destroy an ordinary quarterback's confidence for a career, much less for a game. Lawrence not only responded on Saturday, he responded with four touchdown passes on four consecutive possessions – with the pressure and urgency steadily building with each possession. Lawrence seemed to get correspondingly better and more confident with each possession, too. After completing five of his first 18 passes for 35 yards with four interceptions, he led the Jaguars to scores on all five drives thereafter and completed 23 of his final 29 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns. "That's a special man," wide receiver Zay Jones said, pointing across a celebrating locker room to Lawrence. "I'm glad 16's leading us." The Jaguars are right to feel that way. This was a special performance on a huge stage and could be remembered as a touchstone moment for a quarterback rapidly ascending into the league's elite.

Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent…

  1. Lawrence was down but he was never out. Four first-half interceptions should have sunk this quarterback, but they didn't. "I didn't have a choice," Lawrence said of his resilience on Saturday night. "Those guys were counting on me, and I knew I had to find my confidence so that we could have a shot to come back and win," Pederson told his team at halftime that they would have to score on every possession, and they did – scoring three touchdowns and the game-winning field goal on four second-half possessions. Lawrence threw four touchdown passes on four consecutive possessions after the Jags fell down 27-0 in the second quarter. He was incredibly efficient in the second half, completing 18 of his 23 passes for 211 yards and three scores, and he didn't look like – and more importantly, didn't play like – he had turned the ball over four times in the first half. He's a cold-blooded assassin on the football field, and he dissected a Chargers defense that pounded him physically and mentally during the first 30 minutes and showed no mercy back to them in the second. "I felt like only one of those plays was a bad decision," he said of his interceptions. "They made some great plays, and we couldn't get started. But once we got the first score we knew we had been there before, never that many points, but we felt like we had some momentum. It's really cool to see something like that happen when everyone believes. I threw four picks in the first half and those guys never lost faith in me."
  2. "I didn't like my odds, but I liked my chances!" Oluokun wasn't fazed by the scoreboard late in the first half and neither were his teammates. "We knew that if we just kept fighting and doing the right things we could close the gap," Oluokun said. "We had a lot of close games this year and we learned in that loss in Detroit what it takes from an energy perspective to get the job done. We learned the winning equation and have stuck to it for six weeks." The Chargers managed only a field goal after putting up 27 points in the first half and the defense got them off the field on the most important drive of the season with a first-down sack by defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris which led to a three-and-out out that set up the game-winning drive.

Saturday night under the lights. Swipe through to view the live action game photos from Chargers vs. Jaguars.

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