Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley was left in shock after watching the Jacksonville Jaguars dig out of a 27-point hole to win their AFC Wild Card Round game Saturday night 31-30.
The Chargers only scored three points after it looked like they were going full steam ahead in the first half. Austin Ekeler had two touchdowns and Justin Herbert found Gerald Everett for a 9-yard TD pass early in the second quarter. Things were looking up.
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Until they weren’t.
Trevor Lawrence had four interceptions in the first half, but then turned around and threw three of his four touchdown passes in the second. He helped turn the game around for the Chargers and led the Jaguars to their first playoff win since the 2017 season.
The Chargers are still looking for their first playoff win since the 2018 season.
«Any time you’re up 27-7 at halftime and you have four points and you end up winning the point margin (5-0), it’s going to be deadly,» Staley said. «I ache for everyone in that locker room. It’s a special group of guys, and this is the hardest way you can lose in the playoffs and certainly with the way we started the game.»
JAGUARS OVERCOME 27-POINT DEFICIENCY, TREVOR LAWRENCE’S ALL FOUR PICKS FOR AN UNLIKELY WIN OVER CHARGERS
«That’s the team I know we’re capable of being, and in the second half, we just didn’t finish the game.»
The frustrations boiled over and costly penalties hurt the Chargers. Los Angeles had seven penalties for 42 yards and in 69 plays didn’t hit a single shot on fourth down, something Staley has been known to do. Joey Bosa lost his temper and threw his helmet to the ground. He picked up his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and gave Jacksonville a better chance for a two-point conversion attempt late in the game.
«I think he was frustrated,» Staley said. «There was a lot of stuff that built up throughout the game. And he tried to talk to the refs. But we can’t lose our composure like that. We need to make sure we stay on the high side of things. And you can’t hurt the team that way.»
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Los Angeles now returns home and ponders what to do after a 10-7 season.
Associated Press contributed to this report.