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Brandon Staley on Chargers' Collapse vs. Jaguars: 'Toughest Way That You Can Lose'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 15, 2023

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - JANUARY 14: Head coach Brandon Staley of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on prior to a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at TIAA Bank Field on January 14, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images)
Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

The third-biggest comeback in NFL playoff history went down on Saturday evening as the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30 after trailing 27-0 in the second quarter.

Afterward, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley summed up the pain of this playoff loss.

CBS Sports HQ @CBSSportsHQ

"This is the toughest way that you can lose."<br><br>Chargers HC Brandon Staley after the Chargers blowing a 27-point lead to the Jaguars. <a href="https://t.co/CHwvrpv09o">pic.twitter.com/CHwvrpv09o</a>

Nick Cothrel @NickCothrel

Brandon Staley on the loss: "Anytime you're up 27-7 at halftime and you've got four takeaways and you end up winning the takeaway margin, it's going to be a killer. I'm hurting for everybody in that locker room. ... This is the toughest way that you can lose in the playoffs."

The Jags won despite committing five turnovers, four of which came on Trevor Lawrence first half interceptions. Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. snagged three of them.

It appeared that L.A. was well on its way to an easy win after that all-time defensive performance, even after Jacksonville scored a late first half touchdown to cut the deficit to 27-7.

However, the Bolts struggled mightily on both sides of the ball in the second half. The Chargers never found the red zone (or end zone) on their four drives after halftime, with their only points coming on a 50-yard Cameron Dicker field goal.

On the flip side, Lawrence and the Jaguars' pass game caught fire, with the second-year pro leading his team to scores on all four of Jacksonville's second half drives (three touchdowns, one field goal). Lawrence started the game 4-of-16 for 30 yards and four picks but ended it 28-of-47 for 288 yards and four touchdowns.

The game ended after Riley Patterson hit a 36-yard field goal as time expired for the victory.

There aren't many tougher ways to lose than that in the NFL, especially when a team falls despite winning the turnover battle 5-0.

Rich Eisen @richeisen

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

But the Chargers left the door cracked open for the Jaguars, who bolted in and stole an AFC divisional round spot away after a sensational second half.