Jaguars complete historic comeback, move on in NFL playoffs

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Trevor Lawrence’s assurance someway ne'er wavered. Not aft the archetypal interception. Or the second. Or the third. Or adjacent the fourth.

The generational backmost simply delivered a generational comeback.

The No. 1 wide prime successful the 2021 draught followed 4 interceptions with 4 touchdown passes — 1 of the astir improbable turnarounds successful NFL postseason past — and rallied the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 31-30 triumph implicit the Los Angeles Chargers connected Saturday night.

Lawrence engineered the winning drive, highlighted by Travis Etienne’s 25-yard tally connected a fourth-and-1 play, and enactment the Jaguars successful presumption for Riley Patterson’s 36-yard tract extremity connected the last play. It capped a 27-point comeback, the largest successful franchise past and the 3rd largest successful playoff history.

“You couldn’t constitute a crazier script,” Lawrence said. “We said successful the locker country that’s benignant of however our season’s going. We’re ne'er retired of the fight. ... I’m benignant of speechless, honestly, conscionable to spot what content tin bash and to spot erstwhile a squad believes successful each different what you tin accomplish.”

Patterson’s footwear hardly stayed wrong the close upright and acceptable disconnected a raucous solemnisation for a franchise that had won a combined 4 games implicit the erstwhile 2 years. The Jaguars (10-8) won their sixth consecutive crippled and 5th consecutive astatine location — each 5 successful come-from-behind fashion.

Nonetheless, nary 1 could person seen this 1 coming. Maybe not adjacent Lawrence. But helium was the dependable manus successful complaint aft a debacle of a archetypal half. He finished 28-of-47 passing for 288 yards, a shocker considering the mode helium started.

Lawrence was downright dreadful to statesman Jacksonville’s archetypal playoff crippled since losing successful the 2017 AFC rubric game. He became the 3rd backmost successful the Super Bowl epoch to propulsion 4 interceptions successful the archetypal fractional of a playoff game, joining Detroit’s Gary Danielson and Denver’s Craig Morton.

Trevor Lawrence

Jacksonville Jaguars backmost Trevor Lawrence (16) leaps for a two-point conversion against the Los Angeles Chargers during the 2nd fractional of an NFL wild-card shot game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, successful Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)AP

But helium bounced backmost arsenic good arsenic anyone successful NFL history. Jacksonville’s comeback goes down successful postseason lore down lone Buffalo’s rally connected Jan. 3, 1993 (32 points against Houston) and Indianapolis’ connected Jan. 4, 2014 (28 points against Kansas City).

“I didn’t person a choice,” Lawrence said. “These guys person sacrificed mode excessively overmuch for maine to beryllium the crushed we suffer an opportunity.”

The Jaguars, who besides turned the shot implicit erstwhile a punt deed Chris Claybrook’s helmet, became the archetypal squad to triumph a playoff crippled with a turnover differential of minus-five oregon worse. Teams with that turnover shortage had been 0-19 successful the Super Bowl era.

“Let maine archer you something, man. I deliberation from playing football, watching football, I cognize a batch of quarterbacks would’ve folded successful that concern that helium went through,” Jaguars receiver Zay Jones said. “For him conscionable to beryllium arsenic poised and composed arsenic helium was, it showed different broadside of who we person connected this team. I mean, that feline close there, lasting close there, that’s a peculiar man.”

He wasn’t early. Lawrence misfired connected 12 of his archetypal 16 throws and started getting booed agelong earlier halftime. His assurance seemed shot. His swagger appeared gone. All the advancement helium made successful his archetypal play with manager Doug Pederson looked similar it would beryllium flushed successful the team’s finale.

But Lawrence ne'er gave up. He connected with Evan Engram, Marvin Jones, Zay Jones and Christian Kirk for touchdowns that progressively raised the team’s content successful its backmost and its comeback.

Lawrence added 1 of the biggest plays erstwhile helium jumped for a 2-point conversion with 5:25 to play that made it 30-28 — and enactment the Jaguars successful presumption to triumph alternatively of tie.

Jacksonville’s defence responded by sacking Justin Herbert and past forcing a punt. Lawrence took implicit from there, with a important assistance from Etienne — and Peterson’s bold play call.

“I consciousness similar the moving back, erstwhile it gets to that constituent of the game, you’re expected to beryllium the closer,” Etienne said. “Coach believed successful maine connected that fourth-and-1, to springiness maine the ball. I had to marque thing hap for my teammates.”


Jacksonville Jaguars spot kicker Riley Patterson, apical right, and his squad observe his game-winning tract extremity against the Los Angeles Chargers during the 2nd of an NFL wild-card shot game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, successful Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville Jaguars won 31-30. (AP Photo/John Raoux)AP


Herbert threw for 273 yards and a touchdown without an interception, but the Chargers’ discourtesy was mostly ineffective aft a 62-yard TD thrust that made it 24-0 midway done the 2nd quarter. Los Angeles (10-8) finished with 320 yards of discourtesy and 18 archetypal downs, and it produced lone 3 points connected 4 second-half possessions.

“Anytime you’re up 27-7 astatine halftime and you’ve got 4 takeaways, and you extremity up winning the takeaway borderline (5-0), you know, it’s it’s gonna beryllium a killer,” Chargers manager Brandon Staley said. “I’m hurting for everybody successful that locker room. ... We conscionable didn’t decorativeness the game.”

Staley surely volition beryllium questioned for being excessively conservative, some connected defence and discourtesy — helium opted for a tract extremity connected fourth-and-3 midway done the 4th fourth that Cameron Dicker missed — and for not trying to tally the shot more. LA had 23 rushing attempts for 69 yards, a 2.9-yard average, portion Herbert threw 43 times.

“I needed to execute better,” Herbert said. “I’ve got to springiness them much than 3 points successful the 2nd fractional and truthful I consciousness horrible for the defence for the unthinkable effort they enactment up determination today, but gotta beryllium amended arsenic a team.”


Chargers receiver DeAndre Carter and near tackle Jamaree Salyer near the crippled with ankle injuries. Chargers cornerback Michael Davis near with a pectoral musculus injury. Lawrence chopped the extremity of his near thumb successful the 4th but wrapped it up and played on.


Chargers: Will person a pugnacious offseason dealing with this loss. Staley could look questions astir his occupation security.

Jaguars: Await their roadworthy divisional opponent, which apt volition beryllium top-seeded Kansas City adjacent weekend. The Chiefs won their regular-season meeting.

Mark Long of The Associated Press wrote this story.

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