Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley was left shellshocked after he saw the Jacksonville Jaguars climb out of a 27-point hole to win their AFC wild-card round game on Saturday night 31-30.
The Chargers only scored three points after it appeared they were clicking on all cylinders in the first half. Austin Ekeler had two touchdowns and Justin Herbert found Gerald Everett for a 9-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. Things were looking up.
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 on the Chargers and lead the Jaguars to their first playoff victory since the 2017 season.
The Chargers are still looking for their first playoff victory since the 2018 season.
“Anytime you’re up 27-7 at halftime and you’ve got four takeaways and you end up winning the takeaway margin (5-0), it’s going to be a killer,” Staley said. “I’m hurting for everybody in that locker room. It’s a special group of guys, and this is the toughest way that you can lose in the playoffs and certainly with the way we started the game.
“That’s the team that I know that we’re capable of being, and in the second half, we just didn’t finish the game.”
Frustrations boiled over and costly penalties hurt the Chargers. Los Angeles had seven penalties for 42 yards and in 69 plays didn’t go for it once on 4th down – something Staley has been known to do. Joey Bosa lost his temper, slamming his helmet to the ground. He picked up his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and gave Jacksonville a better opportunity for a two-point conversion try late in the game.
“I think he was frustrated,” Staley said. “There were a bunch of things that kind of accumulated throughout the game. And he tried to talk through it with the officials. But we can’t lose our composure like that. We need to make sure that we stay on the high side of things. And you can’t hurt the team that way.”
Los Angeles now goes back home and ponders what to do next after a 10-7 season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.