JACKSONVILLE, FL—The Los Angeles Chargers played a wild card game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Stadium on Saturday, January 14. The Bolt’s seemed to have the game in hand before Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback Trevor Lawrence led a historic playoff comeback culminating in a Riley Patterson 36 yd game-winning field goal, 31-30.
It’s a gut-wrenching feeling Chargers fans have become accustomed to, but this was perhaps the most agonizing defeat in decades. A 27-point comeback is the third largest in NFL Playoff history.
Opening the game, the Chargers were in firm control on both sides of the ball when defense intercepted Lawrence four times in the first half. Including three by Asante Samuel Jr.
As for the offense, Austin Ekeler found the end zone twice and Justin Herbert was confident in his playoff debut. Tight End Gerald Everett also made several big plays.
This game was a tale of two halves. Jaguars’ first 27 minutes of play: INT, INT, punt, INT, punt, INT, punt. Jaguars’ last 27 minutes of play: TD, TD, TD, TD.
The Jaguars got back in the game. Scoring near the end of the second quarter and again early in the third quarter to cut the Chargers’ lead to 27-14. Lawrence hit Zay Jones for a long touchdown, but the two-point conversion was unsuccessful and the Chargers led 30-20.
The Chargers regrouped and drove down the field setting up a crucial 4th and 3. Head Coach Brandon Staley, who has rolled the dice often chose to go conservative and attempt a field goal. Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker missed a 40-yard attempt giving Jacksonville hope.
The Jaguars drove downfield and, with the help of a missed false start call, Lawrence hit Christian Kirk for a touchdown. Joey Bosa lost his temper once again, throwing his helmet after the missed call and drew a penalty.
That brought the ball half the distance to the goal line and the Jaguars went for it. That was a huge play because the Jaguars trailed by two points with plenty of time left. The Chargers had a quick three-and-out and punted.
With 3:09 remaining, Lawrence and Jacksonville faced fourth and inches near the 50-yard line.
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson cemented his reputation as one of the NFL’s most entertaining gamblers. Rather than a Lawrence sneak, Pederson called a wide sweep by Travis Etienne out of a clear QB sneak formation. The conversion put the Jaguars in position to win the game.
Pederson’s gutsy call was the play of the game, setting up an easy walk-off field goal allowing them to continue their season next week.