Wild, wacky, error-filled ending for Chargers, Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Of all the wild and wacky ways to win or lose a football game, this one has to be high on the list.
The Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars delivered one of the strangest finishes in the NFL this season, maybe in years.
They followed a mistake-filled final two minutes of regulation with more miscues in overtime.
They made poor decisions and questionable plays on both sides of the ball.
The Jaguars (6-3) ended up winning 20-17 on Josh Lambo’s 30-yard field in the extra period. The victory was Jacksonville’s third straight and ended a six-game losing streak to the Chargers (3-6).
But getting to that point was a roller-coaster ride of ridiculousness, a closing stretch in which neither team looked like it wanted to win.
“Crazy!” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “We had the ball twice under two minutes and with a lead and didn’t end it. That’s the part that hurts the most.”
It started right after the two-minute warning:
— Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles throws into double coverage on a second-and-4 play. Safety Tre Boston intercepts the tipped pass, and the Chargers (prematurely) start to celebrate.
— Trying to pick up a first down and run out the clock on the ensuing drive, Rivers takes a delay-of-game penalty on first down.
— On the next play, rookie Austin Ekeler — who’s subbing for starter Melvin Gordon — fumbles in the backfield. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson delivers the hit, and safety Tashaun Gipson picks up the loose ball and runs for an apparent 35-yard touchdown. Officials review the play and rule Gipson was touched down.
— Chargers safety Trevor Williams gets flagged for pass interference on the ensuing play, putting the Jaguars in field-goal range.
— Two plays later, Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee gets flagged for taunting. Lee thinks the defense was getting called for unnecessary roughness, and he reacts by dancing in the direction of the defenders. Instead, his 15-yard penalty knocks the Jaguars out of field-goal range.
“I probably celebrated a little bit too much,” Lee said. “At the end of the day, I’m not changing any type of emotion in this game. That’s a fact.”
— On the ensuing play, Bortles overthrows Lee down the field. The ball lands in Boston’s hands for his second interception in five plays. Boston inexcusably runs out of bounds at the Chargers 10-yard line. He has plenty of green grass in front of him, but steps out and starts celebrating. Jacksonville has three timeouts remaining, plenty of chances to stop the clock and get the ball back.
“That was one of the dumb things,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “Never seen it before.”
— Gordon runs three straight times, fails to pick up first down and Chargers punt with 1:08 to play.
— Bortles completes consecutive passes to Allen Hurns and Jaydon Mickens. Hurns injures his right ankle on the 6-yard catch and smartly crawls out of bounds to avoid a 10-second runoff with about 30 seconds remaining.
“I think it speaks to not only his toughness but how smart of a football player he is,” Bortles said. “He was able to recognize the situation that we were in, knowing that we had no timeouts.”
— Bortles throws incomplete on the next play, but Joey Bosa gets flagged for roughing the passer with 24 seconds remaining. The 15-yard penalty turns what could have been a 50-plus-yard field goal into essentially an extra point. Lambo drills a 34-yarder three plays later to send the game into overtime.
— Jacksonville punts to start the extra period, but Rivers gives it right back when A.J. Bouye wrestles a deep pass away from Travis Benjamin. It’s Jacksonville’s first interception against Rivers since 2010.
— Bouye returns the interception to the 2-yard line, but fellow cornerback Aaron Colvin gets called for taunting. Instead of a chip-shot field goal for the win, Lambo has to line up for a 35-yarder.
“I put an O-lineman on his (butt) on that play and I was just talking trash,” Colvin said. “I didn’t feel what I did was that bad, but I can’t do that. I essentially could have cost my team the game. It won’t happen again.”
— As Lambo lines up for the winning kick, the Chargers try to make the Jaguars jump. Instead, the Chargers are flagged for delay of game. That makes Lambo’s final kick 5 yards shorter.
“I’m exhausted right now,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “I’m shot. I’m shot. ... I’m living and dying on every single play with every call that we have. So after the game is over, I’m shot.”