Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

Simply stunning: Jaguars rally from 27 down to edge Chargers

todayJanuary 15, 2023


By Hays Carlyon

The Jaguars have believed all season.

That belief has evolved into not only thinking they can do the improbable, but the near impossible.

Doubt them at your own peril.

I thought the game was over. I was wrong.

The Jaguars trailed the Los Angeles Chargers 27-0 late in the second quarter on Saturday night at TIAA Bank Field. They had committed five turnovers.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw four interceptions. At one point, Lawrence was 4 of 16 passing for 30 yards with no touchdowns and four picks for a passer rating of 0.0.

Literally. Zero. Point. Zero.

Most quarterbacks making their playoff debut, in just their second season, would have folded. Imagine the scrutiny Lawrence would’ve faced this offseason. Imagine the embarrassment doing this on a national stage.

Lawrence did what he’s done all season. He overcame.

Lawrence threw four touchdowns and ran for a two-point conversion to lead the Jaguars to a thrilling 31-30 win over the Chargers in the wild-card round. Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson connected on a walk-off 36-yard field goal to send the fourth-seeded Jaguars (10-8) to the AFC Divisional Round where they will likely travel to top-seeded Kansas City.

“Definitely the worst half of my football life, of a lot of people’s football life, too,” Lawrence said. “Some type of history probably in that stat.”

Instead of becoming a punchline, Lawrence threw touchdowns to four different players. After his 4 of 16 start, Lawrence finished the game completing 24 of 31 passes for 258 yards with four touchdowns and no picks.

Legendary moxie.

“Once we got the momentum back, felt good about that we’ve been in that situation before,” Lawrence said. “Not that many points but similar situations. That’s the thing, just the belief in this team. It’s really cool to see what can happen when everybody believes. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did today and what the offense was able to do in the second half to bounce back, also the defense, if we didn’t believe in one another. I threw four picks in the first half, and those guys beside me on offense and the guys on the other side of the ball didn’t ever lose faith in me, and that’s one thing that makes it easier, when you know you’ve got guys that believe in you, no matter what the circumstances are.”

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson didn’t hesitate when asked about Lawrence’s special resilience. He went straight to comparing Lawrence to one of his former teammates, Green Bay icon Brett Favre. Pederson served as Favre’s backup for seven seasons with the Packers. Favre won 199 games (including playoffs) in his Hall of Fame career.

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

Lawrence gave this franchise a belief that will never fade as long as he’s the quarterback. The 70,250 electric Jaguars fans in attendance witnessed history. The comeback was the largest in franchise history in either the regular season or playoffs. It was the third largest comeback in NFL playoff history.

It was also the first time ever a team was minus-5 in turnover margin and won a playoff game. There had been 26 previous occurrences.

Lawrence has helped direct comebacks five times this season when the Jaguars were down at least nine points.

We knew he had talent.

We knew he was mentally tough.

Now we know he’s clutch.

Lawrence’s performance Saturday night was more impressive than if he had thrown seven touchdowns with no picks.

This wasn’t his night.

But he wasn’t going to let the season end like that.

“It’s a special one,” Lawrence said. “Definitely one I’ll never forget. First playoff win. Like we talked about, obviously, the ups and downs of the game. It’s special, and there’s something about this team, just the way we’ve been able to stick together, it’s really honestly kind of leaves you speechless sometimes. I’ve said it a million times, but just the belief, it’s really cool. I’m proud to be a part of it. It’s just the beginning for us.”

I was shocked after the game. It was the greatest game I’ve ever covered. I’m still somewhat stunned as I write this.

The Jaguars, who won four games combined over the previous two seasons, are now three wins away from the Lombardi Trophy.

Lawrence proved Saturday night that the Jaguars are a championship contender for as long as he is the quarterback.

I’ll never doubt again.

(You can email Hays at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon).

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