JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence’s confidence hasn’t wavered even one bit. Not after the first objection. or second. or the third. or even the fourth.
Quarterbacks from the previous generation have simply been back for generations.
The No. 1 pick overall in the 2021 draft came after four interceptions with four touchdown passes — one of the most unexpected turnovers in NFL playoff history — and rallied the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 31-30 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday night.
Lawrence engineered the winning drive, highlighted by a 25-yard Travis Etienne run on fourth-and-1, and put the Jaguars in position with a 36-yard Riley Patterson field goal on the final play. He capped off with 27 kickoff returns, the most in franchise history and the third most in playoff history.
“You couldn’t write a crazier script,” said Lawrence. “We said in the dressing room that this is kind of the way our season is going. We don’t go out to fight… in each other what you can achieve.”
Patterson’s kick barely stayed inside the right post and sparked a wild celebration for the franchise, which has won four games combined over the past two years. The Jaguars (10-8) won their sixth straight home game and their fifth in a row – all five on the upside.
However, no one could see that coming. Maybe not even Lawrence. But he was a solid hand in charge after a disastrous first half. He completed 28 of 47 passes for 288 yards, which is a shock considering how he started.
Lawrence has had an abysmal start to the playoffs for Jacksonville since losing the 2017 AFC title game. He became just the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to catch four interceptions in the first half of the game, joining Detroit’s Gary Danielson and Denver’s Craig Morton.
But he bounced back like no one in NFL history. Jacksonville’s playoff comebacks came behind Buffalo Raleigh on January 3, 1993 (32 points against Houston) and Indianapolis on January 4, 2014 (28 points against Kansas City).
“I had no other choice,” said Lawrence. “If we want to win this game and punch ourselves like that, you have to score a lot of points. By doing that, the midfielder has to play well. So obviously I didn’t really have a choice.”
“These people sacrificed so much for me to be a reason we missed out. That’s what I thought. I know I’m going to play games. I just need to get back on track. The guys around me make games. Not just me.”
The Jaguars, who also returned the ball when the ball hit Chris Claybrook’s helmet, became the first team to win a playoff by -5 or worse by a turnover margin. Teams with this turnover deficit have been 0-19 in the Super Bowl era.
Lawrence got it wrong early and often started getting booed long before half-time. He looked confident. His boasting seemed to be over. All of the progress he made in his first season with head coach Doug Pederson seemed to be thwarted when the team folded.
But Laurent never gave up. He connected with Evan Engram, Marvin Jones, Zay Jones, and Christian Kirk for touchdowns that increasingly boosted the team’s confidence as a quarterback and running back.
Lawrence added one of the biggest plays when he jumped in a two-point conversion with 5:25 remaining that made it 30-28 – and put the Jaguars in position to win rather than lose. tie.
The Jacksonville defense responded by sacking Justin Herbert and then forcing a punt. Lawrence took over from there with the help of Etienne – and the gutsy call from Peterson.
“A long time ago, when you get to this point in the game, you’re supposed to be closer,” Etienne said. “The coach believed in me on the fourth-and-one, to give me the ball. I had to do something for my teammates.”
Chargers break down
Herbert threw for 273 yards and a touchdown without an interception, but the Chargers offense was largely ineffective after a 62-yard TD drive made it 24-0 midway through the second quarter. Los Angeles finished (10-8) with 320 rushing yards and 18 first downs, and produced just three runs on four possessions in the second half.
“Anytime you’re 27-7 in the first half and you have four takeaways, and you end up winning by the takeaway (5-0), you know, it’s going to be fatal,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “I whine to everyone in this locker room. … We just didn’t finish the game.”
Staley sera certainement interrogé pour avoir été trop conservateur, à la fois en defense et en attaque – il a choisi un placement au quatrième et troisième au millieu du quatrième quart que Cameron Decker a rate – and pour ne pas avoir essayé de faire courir le ballon far. Los Angeles had 23 rushing attempts for 69 yards, for an average of 2.9 yards, while Herbert threw 43 times.
“I had to do better,” said Herbert. “I have to give them more than three points in the second half and so I feel bad defending the amazing effort they put in today, but I have to be better as a team.”
Chargers receiver DeAndre Carter and left tackle Jamaree Sayer left the game with ankle injuries. Chargers cornerback Michael Davis left with a pectoral muscle injury. Lawrence clipped the tip of his left thumb on his fourth thumb but just rolled it up and played it.
Chargers: You’re going to have a hard time dealing with this loss. Staley may face questions about his job security.
Jaguars: Wait for their opponent on the road, who is likely No. 1 seed Kansas City next weekend. The Chiefs won their regular season meeting.
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