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Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: Jaguars 20, Chargers 17


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars' game against the Los Angeles Chargers at EverBank Field in Jacksonville Sunday …

Oehser …

1.This was big – and it wasn't ugly.The Jaguars' 20-17 overtime victory over the Chargers Sunday was far from flawless. It featured two fourth-quarter interceptions by quarterback Blake Bortles, too many penalties and a winning field goal by kicker Josh Lambo that was partially blocked before fluttering through the uprights. For that reason, some afterward called it an "ugly" victory. Don't believe it. The victory kept the Jaguars (6-3) very much in playoff contention. You don't get to the NFL postseason winning every game by double digits. You must scrape, claw and gut your way to a victory or two. Sunday was about scraping and clawing – and it was about this Jaguars team showing for the first time it could win like that. Ugly? Hardly – and you're wanting this team to make the postseason, there may not have been a victory yet this season quite so beautiful.

2.This was fun.This isn't about the on-field, but it's OK once in a while to have a quick thought off the field. Sunday at the 'Bank was fun, wasn't it? The crowd roared, it cheered – and for a second consecutive week, it had a real impact on the game's outcome. While walking down the stairs to the locker room after the game, I stopped for a few seconds and watched the crowd filing from the stadium into the parking lot. Fans walked with their arms raised. Somewhere, a drum line drummed and it seemed it might never stop. A fan yelled, "Duuuuuu-val." It was a cool scene, and one that was a long time coming. It has been too long since November games mattered at the 'Bank. The last two weeks have mattered, and guess what? There's a very, very – very – good chance some games in December are going to matter even more. Maybe it has been too long since EverBank fans have felt that feeling, but they're darned sure feeling it now. And it's darned sure fun.

3.Score one for the defense.This wasn't the Jaguars' defense's most statistically impressive game of the season, but make no mistake: a defense that has defined the Jaguars' season defined their most dramatic victory of the season Sunday. Yes, the unit allowed a couple of touchdown passes to longtime nemesis Philip Rivers – and no, the Jaguars didn't sack the Chargers' quarterback. But a fourth-quarter fumble recovery by safety Tashaun Gipson led to Josh Lambo's game-tying field goal and cornerback A.J. Bouye's overtime interception led to Lambo's game-winner in overtime. Credit quarterback Blake Bortles for a gutsy third-quarter drive, and credit Tyler Shatley and Tommy Bohanon for filling in when long snapper Tommy Bohanon went out with an injury. But mostly credit a defense that has been stifling much of the season with making the key plays in as memorable a game as has been played at EverBank in a long time.

Sexton …

  1. The Jaguars won one they wouldn't have the past few years. When your quarterback throws two interceptions in a span of 27 second – both inside two minutes to play down a field goal – you're not supposed to win. The Jaguars did because the defense didn't stop playing hard, head coach Doug Marrone had all three time-outs left and the offense never quit working. This is a tough game to wrap your head around because your heart was pumping so hard for about 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon. Wins like this can propel a team. It reminded me of the 1996 game in Baltimore that also ended in an overtime win…
  1. I was prepared to write that Blake Bortles made a huge jump forward after his third quarter touchdown drive. Bortles was six of ten on the offense's only touchdown drive of the game. I was incredibly impressed watching an offense that had zero working to that point in the game but found a rhythm despite their struggles. His touchdown pass to Marqise Lee displayed vision and patience, and an incredibly precise pass to Lee who was barely in front of the coverage. Same thing with the two-point conversion. Those interceptions won't help him with his detractors, but you have to give him credit for keeping his head in it on the game-tying drive with throws to Allen Hurns and Jaydon Mickens to set up the 34-yard field goal. He isn't perfect but… he found a way.
  1. The Jaguars aren't the same when they can't run the ball.

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