Lawrence leads Jags from 27-0 hole in epic rally

Lawrence leads Jags from 27-0 hole in epic rally

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Trevor Lawrence was bad. Then he was really good. Then he was clutch.

And now he and the rest of the Jacksonville Jaguars are playing another week

Lawrence rebounded from an awful first half in which he threw four interceptions to throw four touchdown passes in the game’s final 31 minutes, leading the Jaguars to a 31-30 come-from-behind victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday night.

“You couldn’t write a better script to win a game like that tonight, so it makes it more special, but don’t want to do that again,” Lawrence said. “Got to take care of the ball. That’s where it starts.”

The Jaguars’ rally from a 27-0 deficit was the third-largest comeback in playoff history, trailing only the Buffalo Bills’ 32-point comeback against the Houston Oilers in 1992 and the 28-point comeback by the Indianapolis Colts against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013. It was also the third time this season the Jaguars have rallied from a 17-point deficit to win a game. They’re 3-2 in that situation in 2022, and the franchise had been 1-116 from 1995 to 2021.

After throwing four first-half interceptions, Lawrence threw touchdown passes on four consecutive drives — and ran for a two-point conversion — to cut the Chargers’ lead to 30-28. He then led the Jaguars on a 10-play, 68-yard game-winning drive that culminated with Riley Patterson’s 36-yard field goal as time expired.

Lawrence threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns and had a passer rating of 144.5 in the second half.

“I played with one of the greatest quarterbacks ever in Brett Favre,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said. “There were times when he didn’t have a great first half [and] came back in the second half and could light it up. That’s what I love about Trevor and his demeanor and his aggressiveness and the ability to just forget and move on. But he’ll be the first one to tell you that it’s not about him. The guys around him, too, made plays. Protection was good. Receivers doing a nice job being where they needed to be.

“But from an individual standpoint, this is really a great performance by our quarterback.”

At one point, the Jaguars’ win probability Saturday night dropped to as low as 1.5%, while their live odds to win reached as high as 28-1 at Caesars Sportsbook.

Lawrence could have packed it in after what he called “definitely the worst half of my football life,” but he didn’t flinch. He kept talking about getting back into the game one score at a time, maintained his poise and reminded teammates that they’ve trailed in games before and won, so they could do it Saturday night.

“Let me tell you something, man. I think from playing football, watching football, I know a lot of quarterbacks would’ve folded in that situation that he went through,” said receiver Zay Jones, who caught eight passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. “That’s tough for anybody at any level. And for him just to be as poised and composed as he was, it showed another side of who we have on this team. I mean, that guy right there, standing right there, that’s a special man. And I’m proud to be a part of a team that he’s on, and I am glad that 16 is leading us.

“He was like, ‘All we’ve got to focus on is the now.’ Those are his words, and I have never been a part of anything like that before. That was something truly special. That was a miracle.”

Lawrence hooked up with Evan Engram on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds remaining in the first half, then threw TD passes to Marvin Jones Jr. (6 yards), Zay Jones (39 yards) and Christian Kirk (9 yards) on the Jaguars’ next three possessions. He ran in the 2-point conversion after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Joey Bosa on the TD throw to Kirk put the ball at the 1-yard line.

At that point, the Chargers led 30-28 with 5:30 to play.

A Roy Robertson-Harris sack of Justin Herbert was the key play in the defense forcing a three-and-out, and Lawrence took over with 3:09 remaining. Nine plays later, which included a 25-yard run by Travis Etienne on fourth-and-1, Patterson hit the field goal as time expired and Lawrence had the fourth game-winning drive of his career.

“We’ve been in that situation before. Not that many points [behind], but, you know, similar situation,” Lawrence said. “It’s really cool to see what can happen when everybody believes. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did today and what the offense was able to do the second half to bounce back — also the defense — if we didn’t believe in one another. Threw four picks in the first half and those guys beside me on offense and the guys on the other side of the ball never lost faith.”

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