INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Ashlyn Sullivan offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 38-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in a 2022 Week 3 game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday
John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer
1. Impressive stuff – and maybe a statement. The Jaguars' victory Sunday was convincing from start to finish – and it was impressive for important reasons. Whatever the other storylines, what mattered was the Jaguars won in a scenario in which they hadn't won in a long time: On the road in a meaningful game against a team expected to contend for the postseason. No, the Chargers weren't at full strength – with wide receiver Keenan Allen not playing, with quarterback Justin Herbert questionable all week with a rib injury and with pass rusher Joey Bosa leaving Sunday's game early with a groin injury. So what? The Jaguars dominated statistically in the first half and dominated in pretty much every way in the second half. They are 2-1 and in first place in the AFC South. They won on the West Coast for just the fourth time in 19 all-time games. They beat this Chargers franchise on the road for the first time ever. This game was important in many ways and shows this young team can win in situations in which this franchise hasn't done so in far too long. "It's good to get a road win against a great football team, to travel across the country like this," Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "Credit to the guys in the locker room for doing that. Hopefully, it's the start of things to come and heading in the right direction."
2. Gutsy, gutsy, gutsy. There likely will come a day when Pederson's aggressiveness doesn't pay dividends. Sunday was not that day. And while it's not accurate to say Sunday's victory was because of Pederson's gutsy decision-making, it helped defined the day – and it was a huge reason the Jaguars pulled away for a convincing victory in the second half. Remember: Momentum was in the balance early in the second half, with the Chargers trimming a 16-7 lead 16-10 on their first third-quarter possession. Pederson on the ensuing possession opted to go for a first down on 4th-and-goal from the 50, a decision running back James Robinson immediately turned into an untouched touchdown run and a 23-10 lead. Pederson later in the third quarter called a sneak by quarterback Trevor Lawrence on 4th-and 1 from Chargers 6. Lawrence converted, passing four yards to wide receiver Christian Kirk two plays later for a 31-10 lead. "He does a great job of managing it and every week we have a great plan," Lawrence said of Pederson's fourth-down approach. "We have a lot of confidence in the coaches and they have a lot of confidence in us to execute it. That's what you see, that two-fold confidence. It has been great." Aggressive, aggressive, aggressive. Gutsy, gutsy, gutsy.
Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent…
1. 1,064 days. That's how long it had been since the Jaguars won on consecutive Sundays – in Cincinnati and against the Jets in October of 2019. Sunday's victory was the first away from Jacksonville since a December 2019 in Oakland, and breaking that streak was big story. But we talk all the time about this team learning how to win week to week – and for the first time since Lawrence arrived in the 2021 offseason, he will head home with a win and a modest two-game winning streak. Pederson said earlier this week that he believed this team was entirely bought in on his program and the Jaguars backed up their coach with an outstanding all-around performance Sunday.
2. Look at the numbers to see how well the Jaguars performed and how much better they can be. Two weeks ago in Washington, the Jaguars committed 13 penalties and lost a game they knew they should have won. Last Sunday, that number was only five and they dominated the Colts. On Sunday in Los Angeles, the Jaguars committed just two five-yard penalties. That's almost impossible to imagine in today's NFL. The offense on Sunday went 8-of-15 on third down and 2-of-3 on fourth down. The defense took the ball away twice and the offense didn't turn it over. The offensive line didn't allow an aggressive Chargers defense to even rattle Lawrence, let alone hit him. The defense never let Chargers running back Austin Eckler get started nor Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams get into a rhythm. That robbed Herbert of two of his go-to guys. That said, the offense was only three of six in the red zone and could have taken control of the game in the first half. The defense gave up some big plays when it had the Chargers in 3rd-and-14 and 3rd-and-16 situations. But that's nitpicking. The numbers were overwhelmingly in favor of the Jaguars, and they were impressive. This was a great performance.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Jaguars Team Reporter…
1. Streak broken. The Jaguars may have shocked the NFL Sunday, but they didn't shock themselves. I expected to walk into the postgame locker room to see dancing and hear music. I expected players to be freaking out that they had beaten one of the NFL's best teams. Instead, it was a normal, calm place. That speaks to the confidence this team's confidence. The Jaguars expected to win Sunday … and they will expect to win weekly. The Jaguars broke the streak of losing eighteen consecutive road games. They hadn't scored more than 30 points in two years. All that is over now.
2. Spread it out. The Jaguars had more pass-catching playmakers Sunday than I have seen in a long time. From wide receiver Zay Jones and Marvin Jones Jr. both catching touchdowns to Kirk coming up clutch moving the chains, from Robinson's breakout run to running back Travis Etienne Jr.'s swing pass for a first down, Pederson and the offensive staff spread the ball out so nicely the Chargers' defense didn't know where it was going. There is still big room for improvement considering how the Jaguars started the game. Those early field goals must become touchdowns and Lawrence can be more effective in the red zone. But Sunday was good enough to beat the Chargers and that's all that matters.