A tale of two halves in Chargers-Jaguars comeback victory Saturday night – The Denver Post


In the first playoff games of their career, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Herbert got off to very different starts during Saturday night’s game.

But it’s not about how you start a game, it’s how you finish it.

Lawrence threw three interceptions in the first quarter as the Chargers led 17-0. He threw four interceptions in total as the Jaguars trailed 27-0 in the second quarter. But none of that mattered as Jacksonville railed to defeat Los Angeles 31-30 in the AFC Wild-Card Round, the third-biggest comeback in NFL history.

Not only did the Chargers lead 27-7 into halftime, but they also won the overall turnover margin by five. Lawrence not only finished 28-of-47 for 288 yards with four touchdowns, but he also helped guide the drive that set up Riley Patterson’s 36-yard game-winning field goal.

As he showed when he won a national championship at Clemson, Lawrence was at his best when the lights were bright and the game was pressured-packed. When Jacksonville selected Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, it was for moments like Saturday night. Not only did Lawrence deliver, but now the Jaguars will play at the Chiefs in the divisional round next Saturday.

“I played with one of the greatest quarterbacks ever in Brett Favre and there were times he didn’t have a great first half and came back in the second half and could light it up,” Doug Pederson said.

“That’s what I love about Trevor [Lawrence] and his demeanor and his aggressiveness and the ability to just forget and move on. But he’ll be the first one to tell you that it’s not about him, it’s the guys around him, too. [They] made plays, the protection was good, 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.”

Conversely, Herbert completed 25 of 43 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown. However, the Chargers offense only scored three points on four possessions after halftime.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley and Joey Bosa received most of the blame for Saturday night’s debacle and deservingly so. Staley is usually a guy who is very aggressive early in games, but that’s not how he coached on Saturday night on both sides of the ball.

On 4th and 3 in the third quarter, Staley sent Cameron Dicker to attempt a 40-yard field goal. Dicker missed the kick to the left, which gave the Jaguars even more momentum as they drove down the field and scored.

Bosa’s behavior also didn’t help the Chargers case, as he was called for three penalties in the loss. First, he was flagged for being in the neutral zone, which would have resulted in a Lawrence sack before it was called back. Jacksonville eventually found the end zone after Bosa’s penalty.

Then later, Bosa got called for two unsportsmanlike penalties. First, Bosa received a penalty after saying something to the referee and then when he threw his helmet in frustration after a Jaguars lineman was not called for a false start. The Jaguars went for two points after Bosa’s second personal foul as Lawrence reached his arm over the goal line, making it 30-28.

Bosa’s antics changed the complexion of the entire game.

“I think he was frustrated,” Staley said. “I think he felt like there were a bunch of things that kind of accumulated throughout the game and tried to talk through it with the officials. But we can’t lose our composure like that. We need to make sure that we stay on the high side of things, and we can’t hurt the team that way.”

Lamar Jackson didn’t travel with Ravens

Even when a leader is out due to injury, they’re often seen on the sideline supporting their teammates, especially during a playoff game.

That was not the case with Lamar Jackson on Sunday night as he did not travel with the Ravens in their 24-17 loss to the Bengals.

On Thursday, Jackson ruled himself out as he announced on Twitter that he had a “PCL grade 2 sprain” in his knee. The Ravens officially ruled Jackson out Friday afternoon, but that didn’t preclude him from traveling with the team.

Jackson and the Ravens appear to be heading closer and closer to a divorce. The two sides tried to work out a new long-term contract before the start of the 2022 season. But after reaching an impasse, Jackson ended all negotiations at the beginning of the season as the situation has lingered over the franchise the entire year.

After injuring his knee against the Broncos on Dec. 4, Ravens coach John Harbaugh initially said Jackson would be week-to-week. However, Jackson missed 18 consecutive practices to end the season as Tyler Huntley started against the Bengals.

During a road game against the Steelers on Dec. 11, Jackson was seen on the sideline with his teammates despite not playing. Now after being absent on Sunday, it is fair to wonder what’s ahead for Jackson’s future this offseason.

Jackson will enter the offseason without a contract as the Ravens can franchise tag to retain him for another year. They could also franchise-tag Jackson and work out a trade with another team.

Several teams, like the Jets, Raiders, Titans, and Panthers, have quarterback questions this offseason. One of them may be willing to give Jackson the fully guaranteed contract he has been seeking for the last year.



Source link