Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw four interceptions and the Jaguars lost another turnover on a punt as the Los Angeles Chargers built a 27-point lead in the first half of a Super Wild-Card Weekend game on Saturday night.
But Jacksonville came all the way back for a 31-30 victory sealed by a field goal on the final snap of the AFC playoff contest.
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When Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel got his third interception and Los Angeles’ fourth of the first half with 6:51 left in the second quarter, Lawrence had completed 4-of-15 passes for 30 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
But with the Jaguars trailing 27-0, Lawrence completed 24-of-32 passes for 258 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in the remainder of the game as Jacksonville rallied for its sixth consecutive victory.
“That’s what I love about Trevor and his demeanor and his aggressiveness and the ability to just forget and move on,” Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said. “But he’ll be the first one to tell you it’s not about him. It’s the guys around him, too, that made plays. The protection was good. The receivers were doing a nice job being where they needed to be.
“But from an individual standpoint, this is really a great performance by our quarterback.”
After Lawrence’s 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Christian Kirk cut Los Angeles’ lead to 30-26 with 5:25 to play, Pederson decided to go for a 2-point conversion when an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty against Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa put the football at the 1-yard line. Lawrence leaped the football over the goal line to cut the deficit to two points.
Los Angeles responded with a three-and-out, with Jacksonville regaining possession at its 21-yard line with 3:09 to play. Running back Travis Etienne converted a fourth-and-1 snap at the Los Angeles 41 with a 25-yard run with 37 seconds to play to set up Riley Patterson’s game-winning field goal of 36 yards.
“The strategy was just one play at a time,” Pederson said.
Six players from Alabama high schools and colleges got on the field during the Los Angeles-Jacksonville game:
· Josh Allen (Abbeville) started at weakside linebacker for the Jaguars. Allen made eight tackles, recorded one sack, had one tackle for loss and registered four quarterback hits.
· Gerald Everett (UAB/South Alabama) started at tight end for the Chargers. Everett caught six passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. Everett scored on a 9-yard pass from quarterback Justin Herbert with 7:12 left in the first half as Los Angeles took a 24-0 lead. In his first six NFL playoff games, Everett had three receptions for 54 yards. On Saturday night, he had the second 100-yard game of his career. Everett had 136 yards on seven receptions for the Los Angeles Rams in a 30-29 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 3, 2019.
· Chargers long snapper Josh Harris (Auburn) handled the snaps on five punts, four field-goal attempts and three extra-point kicks. Harris also downed a punt.
· Jaguars tight end Gerrit Prince (UAB) is on the practice squad and not eligible to play.
· Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (Alabama) is suspended by the commissioner and not eligible to play.
· Jaguars offensive tackle Cam Robinson (Alabama) is on injured reserve and not eligible to play.
· Chargers punter JK Scott (Alabama) averaged 40.6 yards on five punts, with a 39.8-yard net. Scott had a 39-yard punt downed at the Jacksonville 14-yard line, a 35-yarder that hit a Jaguars blocker on the helmet and was recovered by Los Angeles at the Jacksonville 6, a 34-yarder returned 4 yards to the Los Angeles 47, a 27-yarder for a fair catch at the Jacksonville 11 and a 49-yarder downed at the Jacksonville 21.
· Jaguars defensive end/outside linebacker Jordan Smith (UAB) is on injured reserve and not eligible to play.
· Jaguars safety Daniel Thomas (Lee-Montgomery, Auburn) played but did not record any stats.
· Jaguars safety Deionte Thompson (Alabama) is on the practice squad and not eligible to play.
· Jaguars cornerback Darious Williams (UAB) made three tackles.
· Jaguars center Darryl Williams (Bessemer City) is on the practice squad and not eligible to play.
· Jaguars wide receiver Seth Williams (Paul Bryant, Auburn) is on the practice squad and not eligible to play.
At 10-7, Los Angeles had a better regular-season record than Jacksonville, which went 9-8. That was good enough to win the AFC South, though, giving the Jaguars a home game against the wild-card Chargers in the AFC’s Super Wild-Card Round.
Jacksonville’s opponent in the Divisional Round will be decided on Sunday by the outcomes of the other AFC first-round games. The No. 7 Miami Dolphins visit the No. 2 Buffalo Bills at noon CST and the No. 6 Baltimore Ravens visit the No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals at 7:15 p.m. Sunday.
The fourth-seeded Jaguars will play the surviving team with the best seed while the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs, who received a first-round bye, will play the team with the worst seed.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.
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