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Justin Herbert's Chargers Mocked by Twitter for Blowing 27-0 Lead in Loss to Jaguars

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 15, 2023

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) makes the catch for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL wild-card football game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
AP Photo/Chris Carlson

A 27-0 lead went up in smoke Saturday as the Los Angeles Chargers saw its four-score edge evaporate en route to a 31-30 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday in the AFC Wild Card round.

Jacksonville Jaguars @Jaguars

FOR THE WINNNNN<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IWATJ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IWATJ</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LACvsJAX?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LACvsJAX</a> <a href="https://t.co/86kFzbaKaa">pic.twitter.com/86kFzbaKaa</a>

The Chargers amassed four interceptions of Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the first 22 minutes of the game, including three from cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. alone.

NFL @NFL

ASANTE SAMUEL JR'S THIRD INT OF THE HALF! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SuperWildCard?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SuperWildCard</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LACvsJAX?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LACvsJAX</a> on NBC<br>πŸ“±: Stream on NFL+ <a href="https://t.co/LG9lf52l9m">https://t.co/LG9lf52l9m</a> <a href="https://t.co/fCECWjNCsl">pic.twitter.com/fCECWjNCsl</a>

L.A. parlayed those turnovers into a 27-0 edge thanks to a pair of Austin Ekeler touchdowns, a Justin Herbert nine-yard toss to Gerald Everett and two Cameron Dicker field goals.

The rest of the game proved disastrous for the Chargers, who were gashed on the ground (20 carries for 109 rushing yards for running back Travis Etienne) and through the air (288 passing yards and four touchdowns for Lawrence).

The Jags scored a late first-half touchdown courtesy of a nine-yard pass from Lawrence to tight end Evan Engram. They then proceeded to score on all four of their second-half drives with three touchdowns and a game-winning 36-yard field goal from Riley Patterson.

Oddly enough, the Bolts didn't find themselves having too much trouble moving the ball in the second half on three of their four drives. L.A. got the ball to start the second half and moved all the way down to the Jacksonville 38-yard line before stalling out. The Chargers then had field goal attempts on their next two drives, with Dicker making one from 50 before missing one from 40.

However, a costly three-and-out on their final possession led to the Jags' game-winning field goal.

The events leading up to that final moment will be remembered all offseason.

Four-time Pro Bowler Joey Bosa took off his helmet and threw it on the field after apparently getting angry on a no-call for a hold during the play where Lawrence found Christian Kirk for a nine-yard score to make it a 30-26 game. Head coach Brandon Staley was seen handing the helmet back to Bosa, who proceeded to smash it on the sidelines.

Bosa got called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the first helmet toss. The Jags opted to take the penalty on the point-after attempt and went for two, where Lawrence reached over the goal line for the score.

After getting the ball back following a three-and-out, the Jaguars faced a 4th-and-1 from the Bolts' 41-yard line with Bosa on the bench. Etienne then ran around the right edge for 25 yards, and Riley Patterson ended this one with a 36-yard boot.

And with that, the Chargers found themselves on the wrong end of the third-biggest playoff collapse in NFL postseason history despite winning the turnover battle 5-0.

L.A. had difficulty moving the ball on the ground (23 carries, 67 yards) although they found more success through the air (25-of-43 for 273 yards and one touchdown for Justin Herbert). But the Bolts could have used the services of Mike Williams, who played in Week 18 against the Denver Broncos despite that matchup having no significance on the team's playoff seeding. Williams suffered a fracture in his back and missed the playoff game.

Ultimately, this was nothing short of a cataclysmic loss for the franchise prone for inexplicable regular-season and playoff losses in its history, as noted by Twitter.

John Henson @Johnhenson31

Chargers with the choke of the year 🀣

Joe Reedy @joereedy

This brings Chargering to a whole new level.

Chris Hassel @Hassel_Chris

An all time charger-ing

Jimmy Durkin @Jimmy_Durkin

The ultimate Chargeringℒ️

Ry @JustRyCole

Peak Chargers.

Antwan V. Staley @antwanstaley

Chargers gon charger 🀣🀣

John McClain @McClain_on_NFL

What a choke job by the Chargers. Who do they think they are? The Colts?

Doug Kyed @DougKyed

This is pretty incredible.

Chris Vannini @ChrisVannini

........ <a href="https://t.co/nITyDJclJY">https://t.co/nITyDJclJY</a>

Steve Wyche @wyche89

The Chargers have a certain dubious history of not closing out games. This might enter the top 3 of most dubious - and that ain't good.

Jeff Kerr @JeffKerrCBS

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Chargers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Chargers</a> had a higher dropback percentage (75%) than the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Jaguars?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Jaguars</a> (70%) after taking a 27-0 lead.<br><br>Anatomy of a comeback. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BoltUp?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BoltUp</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DUUUVAL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DUUUVAL</a>

Rich Eisen @richeisen

Playoff teams to be up in turnover differential by 5 or more are now 26-1 in such games.

Daniel Popper @danielrpopper

FINAL: Jaguars 31, Chargers 30<br><br>An epic, cataclysmic collapse on the biggest stage. <br><br>I have no words. But I'll find them.

Chris Simms @CSimmsQB

This is why the run game is so important. When you have a big lead, you can lean on it.<br>After going up 27-0, the Chargers called 25 pass plays and just 8 run plays.

The Bolts have now made 15 playoff appearances since 1979 without ever making the Super Bowl.