The Chargers placed on an unforgettable efficiency Saturday evening.
That’s proper, strive as they may, they’ll by no means have the ability to wash away this reminiscence.
In a single recreation that basically ought to have counted as two, they adopted a near-perfect first half with a near-historic collapse.
They noticed a 27-point lead float off into the frigid Florida air, and staggered off the sphere after a 31-30 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars to the mantra of “Duuuval,” a haunting chorus in reference to the native county that absolutely echoed of their heads all the way in which again to the West Coast.
Chargers coach Brandon Staley already was underneath heavy scrutiny for taking part in his starters deep right into a meaningless finale at Denver, a transfer that value the crew star receiver Mike Williams. Some have reported that Staley’s job is in jeopardy, and his crew’s efficiency within the wild-card recreation was going to be instructive as to the group’s plans for the long run.
Absolutely, extra can be revealed within the coming days.
“I’m hurting for everybody in that locker room,” Staley stated. “It’s a special group of guys. This is the toughest way to lose, in the playoffs.”
It’s laborious to defend what transpired on this unseasonably chilly evening, when the guests nearly regarded like helpless bystanders because the Jaguars went from doom to future, chipping away at a 27-0 deficit whereas the Chargers might muster not more than a discipline aim within the second half.
“You couldn’t write a crazier script,” stated Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who adopted 4 interceptions with 4 landing passes.
“I knew it was going to take a lot to turn it around. But I told the guys in the huddle, ‘There’s no 27-point plays. It’s going to be one play at a time.’ That’s what it took. One play at a time, all the way down the field. Just again and again and again.
“All we can do at this point is just try to score every drive.”
From the top of the primary half, the Jaguars’ final 5 drives ended: landing, landing, landing, landing, discipline aim.
The Chargers’ final six drives ended: punt, finish of half, punt, discipline aim, missed discipline aim, punt.
Late within the first half, Lawrence had a Blutarsky-like passer score of 0.0, and Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. had three interceptions.
In line with ESPN, Samuel is the primary participant to have three interceptions within the first half of a playoff recreation, and Lawrence was the primary quarterback within the postseason to be picked off thrice within the opening quarter.
Then once more, who cares?
These are merely footnotes in the case of the Jaw-dropper in Jacksonville. The underside line is, the Jaguars are transferring on — in all probability to face Kansas Metropolis — and the Chargers are left to sift by the rubble of one other collapse, the third greatest in NFL postseason historical past.
It appears that evidently 38-10 win by Jacksonville at SoFi Stadium in Week 3 was no fluke, though the Chargers seemingly flipped the script on this one.
“We worked so hard to get here,” stated Lawrence, whose crew completed the common season with a five-game profitable streak after having misplaced 5 in a row earlier within the season.
“We talked about it all week: ‘Let’s not miss this opportunity.’ And it was close — we were close to letting it slip. Just to see the guys stay in here and fight, keep battling. Didn’t matter what the score was. That’s why we had a chance to win it.”
It truly is unbelievable — but in some way on model — that the Chargers allowed this one to slide by their fingers.
In the meantime, two short-yardage performs can be perpetually frozen within the recollections of the Jaguars and their followers.
The 6-foot-6 Lawrence jutting his proper arm throughout the aim line for a two-point conversion that put his crew in place to win the sport with a discipline aim. The Jaguars moved to the one-yard line on the play after a pissed off Joey Bosa, who incessantly complained of being held by Jacksonville blockers, took off his helmet and slammed it to the turf in frustration following a landing. He was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Jaguars operating again Travis Etienne operating across the edge for 25 yards on a fourth and one on the profitable drive. His crew was in a sneak formation however obtained the ball to him on the skin for an enormous achieve. That arrange the clinching 36-yard discipline aim.
The primary half was as thorough a throttling as we’ve seen in a very long time. The Chargers have been on their strategy to the group’s greatest blowout victory within the playoffs since a 51-10 thrashing of the Boston Patriots in 1963.
The Jaguars had 5 turnovers within the first half, three of these inside their 20-yard line.
The once-raucous crowd was silent.
The sport was a goner. Besides that anybody acquainted with the historical past of the Chargers and their potential to burn up leads needed to understand it was removed from over.
“We’re going to learn a lot from this,” Staley stated.
Maybe. However they may want to overlook extra.