The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t make things easy on their fans this week but they ended up beating the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30. It certainly was a Wild Card Weekend when you take into account that the Jags were at one point trailing 27-0. This Jaguars franchise hasn’t been in meaningful games in a long time, so it was great to see them continue to exceed expectations.
The playoffs are going to put the best teams in the league against each other and the Jags showed they belong. Here are three things that stood out to me in Jacksonville’s jaw-dropping win in Super Wild Card Weekend.
3. The Jaguars continued to fight after early mistakes vs. the Chargers
This is an area that can cause teams to lose in a hurry. As fans found out early, it was going to be very difficult to move the ball. The Jaguars got away from the run game early and the fact that they were getting locked down by the Chargers’ secondary didn’t help matters. They were sitting on the quick shorter routes that the Jacksonville offense has been living on, which led to an offensive struggle in the first half.
All things considered, the Chargers coaching staff had a great game plan knowing that the Jaguars lack a significant deep threat. They often were challenging them to go deep.
Doug Pederson is a coach that is fully capable of scheming to get guys open. As he said at the half, they would likely have to go up-tempo in the second half. That was exactly the adjustment they needed to make to get things going offensively. After toting the rock eight times for 37 yards in the first half, running back Travis Etienne logged 12 rushes for 72 yards.
2. The Jaguars’ secondary found a bigger challenge vs. the Chargers
The Jaguars’ secondary hadn’t been challenged in a few weeks, facing some quarterbacks — Zach Wilson, Davis Mills, and Joshua Dobbs — who were not going to light up the scoreboard. However, the Chargers were going to present a significantly tougher challenge in the playoffs.
The Bolts have an offense that can move the ball at will and the Jaguars’ defense had to be on top of their game if they wanted to have a shot at slowing them down.
For most of the game, the Chargers were moving the ball down the field without much resistance. Although the defense was able to make a couple of stops in the first half for field goals, this game could’ve gotten out of hand if they were touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.
Chargers quarterback Justin Hebert finished the game with 273 yards and one touchdown. He was able to move up in the pocket to get some drive-sustaining throws. The secondary will need to tighten up next week if they want to avoid falling behind early once again.
1. The Jaguars beat the Chargers as a team in Super Wild Card Weekend
The Jaguars are continuing to find ways to win at the end of games. The playoffs are made up of teams that will take you to the brink. The match-up against the Chargers was no different.
The Tennessee Titans took the Jaguars all the way down to the wire as well in the finale and they were going to need a great week of preparation to have a shot at beating the Chargers. The physical play was proof that the offense can get the job done when it matters.
Trevor Lawrence hasn’t been playing his best games in the last three games. He hasn’t put the offense in very manageable positions. When teams are on the negative side of the turnover battle they lose more often than not. In the last three games, the Jaguars have registered three takeaways to eight turnovers.
This Jaguars team has been a team with no quit. They are somehow able to overcome these negative turnover ratios., rallying together when it matters most.
The conclusion from the Jaguars’ 31-30 win vs. the Chargers
This is an exciting time to be watching the Jaguars. Meaningful games like the playoffs are where this team is going to make statements about becoming relevant in the league. Teams that can find ways to win games can be very dangerous in the playoffs. Momentum can change everything. This is the third-largest deficit comeback in playoff history, and the Jags were on the right side of it.