In the wild-card game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, two of the league’s top young quarterbacks made their playoff debuts.
Three of the four interceptions Lawrence threw in the first half were caught by Asante Samuel Jr. The Chargers led 27-7 at halftime as a consequence of Herbert being given a short field to work with.
Then, a 13-yard touchdown run by Austin Ekeler gave Los Angeles a 7-0 lead.
The Jaguars elected to go for it on fourth-and-7 from the Chargers’ 33-yard line on their next possession, and Samuel Jr. intercepted Lawrence.
After a 10-play, 57-yard drive by Herbert and the Chargers, Cameron Dicker’s 22-yard field goal raised the score to 10-0.
Samuel again intercepted Lawrence on the Jaguars’ next possession, bringing the Chargers back to the red zone at the 16-yard line. The score was increased to 17-0 by Ekeler’s six-yard touchdown run.
Herbert added his first postseason touchdown pass, connecting with Everett for a nine-yard score with 7:12 left in the half to increase the Chargers’ lead to 24-0.
Samuel picked Lawrence for the Chargers’ following drive, but their offence was unable to capitalise. The Chargers quickly took control of the ball at the Jacksonville six-yard line when the ensuing punt hit Jaguars player Chris Claybooks in the helmet. To increase the lead to 27-0, Dicker later made a field goal from 23 yards out.
Herbert completed 15 of 24 passes in the first half for 139 yards and a touchdown. Ekeler picked up 35 yards and two scores on eight carries. Keenan Allen led the Chargers with four catches for 44 yards while Mike Williams, the team’s best wide receiver, is out with a broken back from the team’s last regular-season game.
Lawrence made a nine-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram late in the second, trimming the Jaguars’ advantage to 27-7. Lawrence completed only 10 of 24 throws for the Jaguars’ meagre 107 total offensive yards in the first half.
The Chargers, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2018, won four straight games after a 6-6 start to finish with a 10-7 record and the top wild card slot in the AFC. After ending 3-14 the year before, the Jaguars went on a five-game winning streak to close up the regular season, winning the AFC South with a record of 9-8 and securing the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
Jacksonville’s most recent postseason appearance came in the 2017 season, when it made it to the AFC Championship Game. It’s just the sixth time in franchise history that the Jaguars have hosted a playoff game. They are 3-1 in their home postseason games.
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