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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Gavino Borquez

Instant analysis of Chargers’ stunning loss to Jaguars in wild-card round

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The Chargers fell victim to the third-largest comeback in NFL playoff history as the Jaguars came from behind 27 points to win 31-30.

To recap the AFC wild-card bout between Los Angeles and Jacksonville, here is everything to know.

It was over when ...

… Riley Patterson made the 36-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

Game notes

  • It was a tale of two halves. It seemed like the Chargers were a lock to advance to the divisional round from their showing in the first half, as they picked off Trevor Lawrence four times and found the end zone three times to get off to a 27-0 lead.
  • The Jaguars scored a touchdown before the half, and it was all uphill from there. Jacksonville had back-to-back-to-back touchdowns to cut its deficit to two points after a successful two-point conversion, and Patterson’s field goal as time expired sealed the deal.
  • On the other hand, Los Angeles managed a measly three points in the second half. Their other three offensive possessions resulted in two punts and a missed 40-yard field goal.
  • Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson made precise adjustments, and his team executed. Chargers HC Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, on the other hand, fell completely flat, and the outcome showed.
  • Following the game, Pederson said that he probably would not have gone for the two-point conversion in the fourth quarter had it not been for the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on edge defender Joey Bosa that moved the ball up to the Chargers’ 1-yard line.
  • Quarterback Justin Herbert finished the game 25-of-43 passing for 273 yards and a touchdown. He looked solid in the first half, but after left tackle Jamaree Salyer went down to an ankle injury and the Jaguars began to generate pressure and clean up their coverage, Herbert was hot and cold.
  • Running back Austin Ekeler compiled two rushing touchdowns, but the Chargers were far from impactful on the ground as he and Joshua Kelley totaled just 55 yards on 20 carries (2.75 yards per carry).
  • Tight end Gerald Everett led the team in receiving, with six catches for 109 yards and a TD. WR Keenan Allen had six catches, with a few being on third down, for 61 yards.
  • The Chargers scored 20 of their 30 points off turnovers.
  • Mike Williams’ absence was felt. After Williams’ injury, only four healthy receivers were available. Once DeAndre Carter was ruled out with an ankle injury, the only receivers available were Allen, Josh Palmer and Michael Bandy.
  • Cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. was a bright spot on the defense. Samuel had three interceptions in the first half to help the Chargers jump to a 27-7 halftime lead. He also defended three other passes, bringing his total number to six.
  • Rookie Ja’Sir Taylor replaced Michael Davis, who was in and out with a pectoral injury, and the Jaguars homed in on him. Taylor also had a bad missed tackle of Marvin Jones and a pass interference penalty that kept Jacksonville’s drive alive in the fourth quarter.
  • Safety Derwin James had his fair share of rough moments in coverage, as he was responsible for a 39-yard reception to Zay Jones. Additionally, Christian Kirk won a few reps against James.
  • The Chargers committed seven penalties for 42 yards.

What's next?

After finishing 10-8, the Chargers head into the offseason with many questions surrounding the state of the team, but the biggest one is: Will Staley still be the head coach next season? Could they also be looking for a new general manager?

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