There is no time quite like the NFL Wild Card Round. Every game has been one heck of a battle; that must be why they call it Super Wild Card Weekend.
Saturday started with the Seattle Seahawks playing great football in the first half before the San Francisco 49ers took care of things in the end. Game one was fun, but all eyes were on Saturday night between the No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers (10-7) and No. 4 Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8).
Los Angeles had a higher record in the NFL standings, but Jacksonville ultimately won the division. Saturday night’s game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville was all about history. Unfortunately, somebody has to be on the wrong side of it. Let’s take a look at the Chargers vs Jaguars recap.
Betting Trends Before Kickoff
Public Loving LA
When the NFL matchups were determined for Super Wild Card Weekend, the closest game was projected to be the Los Angeles Chargers vs Jacksonville Jaguars. The battle between the No. 4 and 5 seeds should be the closest, and the NFL odds showed just that.
Lines opened with the Chargers -2.5 (-110) on the spread, but the lines quickly changed. Money kept flowing on the Jaguars were closing as 1-point underdogs at home and as the higher seed.
A lot of that had to do with the NFL injury report and the status of Mike Williams for the Chargers. The wide receiver was expected to potentially miss the entire playoffs after exiting Week 18’s game.
Finally, the odds right when kickoff occurred had the Chargers back to where they started, favored by -2.5. This game was–by nearly all NFL picks–projected to be a coin-flip. It was an up-and-down week with the odds, but they were expected to win in a shootout.
A Tale of Two Halves
Los Angeles Charging into the Endzone
What a phenomenal first half it was for the Los Angeles Chargers on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars. You really could not have written it better; it was almost picture-perfect. That is until it wasn’t.
Jacksonville received the opening kickoff and had all the momentum with a roaring home crowd. Two plays later, they no longer had the ball. Trevor Lawrence threw an interception on their own side of the field. It was not the start the second-year QB in his Playoff debut wanted.
The first two plays for the Chargers went much differently. They quickly scored and had a 7-0 lead courtesy of the TD machine Austin Eckler.
Now that Lawrence got the Playoff jitters out of his system, he was finally ready to show his home crowd something worth cheering for. The very next drive had the Jaguars in a situation where Doug Pederson decided to go for it on 4th & 7. Lawrence fired a pass to Zay Jones, but it was intercepted yet again. That is two drives and two picks for the young QB. The Chargers eventually settled for a field goal, now leading 10-0.
Good and Bad News
Okay, Jags fans, we have some good and some bad news. The next drive resulted in a 3-and-out with a punt. With a brutal start like Jacksonville had, you have to take away some positives.
The defense of the Jaguars forced a punt and gave the ball back to Lawrence. Fifty-six seconds of game time later, Lawrence was intercepted again, deep in his own territory. In case you were not counting, that is now three for the 23-year-old.
Of course, the Chargers scored with their great field position thanks to another rushing TD from Eckler, making the score 17-0 late in the opening quarter.
Jacksonville got the ball back and had another 3-and-out leading to a Los Angeles touchdown. Gerald Everett caught a 9-yard pass from Justin Herbert for yet another touchdown. Halfway through the 2nd quarter, LA led 24-0.
Four Interceptions in the First Half of a Game
It is time for another 3-and-out for the Jaguars but in an even worse way. On the third play of the drive, Lawrence threw his 4th interception of the game. Asante Samuel Jr. collected his 3rd interception, which was the most among a player in his postseason debut.
Looking back at NFL player stats from the regular season, he had more interceptions in this game alone than in the entire regular season. Lawrence became the 3rd quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw four interceptions in the first half of a playoff game.
If you thought it could not get worse for the Jaguars, you were wrong. Their defense forced a 3-and-out, and the Chargers punted it. This time, it was not Lawrence giving the ball away.
Chris Claybrook muffed a punt which was recovered by the Chargers in great field position. At this point, many Jags fans were heading to the exits. LA kicked a field goal giving them a 27-0 lead. Remember that score throughout this Chargers vs Jaguars recap.
Late in the 2nd quarter, the Jaguars put together a great 7-play, 47-yard drive. It ended in an Evan Engram touchdown pass for 9 yards and an extra point. With only 24 seconds left, that was virtually the end of the first half, with the Chargers leading 27-7.
Do Not Turn That TV Off
Once the 2nd half began, things started to get fun. Finally, the Chargers vs Jaguars recap becomes a little entertaining. If you are a Chargers fan, you may want to close your eyes.
In a grueling 18 weeks of football, you see a lot of crazy things. Even then, I do not think many people predicted this outcome. Everyone making Los Angeles Chargers predictions did not have this on their bingo card. We know the guy who bet $1,000,000 certainly did not expect this.
The Jaguars had four drives in the second half, and they scored on all of them. Heading into the 4th quarter, the score was 30-20 in favor of the Chargers.
Los Angeles held the ball for the first six minutes of game time in the 4th quarter. They ran 14 plays and ended up sending out Cameron Dicker for a field goal. Dicker, the Kicker, missed a 40-yarder, keeping the game at 30-20 with 8:47 remaining.
Everybody Expected a Shootout
Looking at the NFL team stats, everybody expected a shootout. We finally got that in the 2nd half. Lawrence drove his team down the field and connected with Christian Kirk for a 9-yard touchdown.
With a score of 30-26, Pederson decided to go for two. Joey Bosa of the Chargers was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moving the ball up a yard. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft successfully completed a QB sneak to cut the deficit to 30-28. What a gutsy play call by the Jags. Bosa potentially cost his team the game.
With the game on the line, the Jaguars forced a 3-and-out, and they got the ball back with 3:09 left. Eventually, it was 4th & 1 at the LA 41 (not quite field goal range), and Travis Etienne casually rushed for 25 yards.
The clock continued to tick, and everyone at TIAA Bank Stadium and at home were on the edge of their seats. Riley Patterson kicks the 36-yard field goal, and it is good. The Jaguars win the game 31-30 at the buzzer.
The guts of Trevor Lawrence is unreal. After he led the Jacksonville Jaguars to the comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers, the rest of the NFL schedule in the playoffs should be scared.
Saturday night’s 27-point comeback was the third-largest in postseason history. After four interceptions and three punts in the first half, Lawrence ended up throwing for 288 yards and four touchdowns.
He certainly deserved that post-game Waffle House. It was a tale of two halves when you look at the Jacksonville Jaguars stats.
Emotions Hurt the Green Bay Packers
You have to keep your emotions in check during games with this much significance. We saw emotions greatly hurt the Green Bay Packers in their Week 18 loss against the Detroit Lions, and now Joey Bosa has a lot of people questioning him. He had two key penalties, and perhaps the most significant of his career when it mattered most.
Lastly, rewind to when Cameron Dicker attempted a 40-yard field goal halfway through the 4th quarter. Dicker was signed off the Carrie Underwood fan club to replace Dustin Hopkins, who was suffering an injury. Everybody loves Dicker the Kicker, but would Hopkins have missed that field goal? Had it gone in, the Chargers would have likely won the game.
The Jaguars head into Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs next week. Their NFL team stats or NFL player stats may not wow you, but they have so much confidence right now.
Los Angeles vs Jacksonville was historic, but the NFL Playoffs are just getting started.