Jaguars beat Chargers in OT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars blew two chances to tie the Los Angeles Chargers, but they didn’t squander a third.
The Jaguars survived two interceptions by quarterback Blake Bortles in the final two minutes while trailing and still pulled out a 20-17 victory in overtime on Sunday at EverBank Field.
Kicker Josh Lambo connected on a 34-yard field goal with three seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 17 and send it to overtime. He then ended the Chargers’ chances for a fourth victory in five games by hitting the winning 30-yard field goal in overtime.
Lambo kicked for the Chargers before being cut at the end of the preseason. He hit a game-winner last year for the Chargers over Atlanta.
The Jaguars signed Lambo on Oct. 17. The game-winner Sunday was tipped at the line by Chargers safety Adrian Phillips, but still had enough to go across at a low trajectory.
“They sure did (block it), but it doesn’t matter how they go through, just as long as they do,” Lambo said. “They all count the same.”
The Jaguars (6-3) remain tied with Tennessee atop the AFC South and have a three-game winning streak.
“I’m exhausted right now,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. “I’m shot. ... We grinded one out. Our focus was the third quarter (of the season), to try to get off to a good start with a win. We were able to do that.
“We’ll make the corrections and obviously we know there’s a lot of them out there, and we’ll move on.”
Los Angeles fell to 3-6.
“We’ve lost some close games this year, but that’s the first time that we’ve lost one like that,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. “That was inexcusable.
“We had opportunities to win that game on the road and we didn’t finish plays. We had a couple of guys do some dumb things.”
Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye intercepted a pass by Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in overtime after Jacksonville opened the extra session with a punt to the Los Angeles 10-yard line.
Rivers threw deep and Bouye out-fought receiver Travis Benjamin to grab the ball and return it 51 yards to the Los Angeles 2-yard line.
The interception was the first that Rivers has thrown against the Jaguars in his last five meetings.
“I thought we had a shot at it,” Rivers said. “Obviously, I didn’t think it was going to be an interception or I wouldn’t have thrown it.
“Worst-case scenario, if that did happen, it’s like a punt. I thought we had a real good chance, and it was close. Travis is fighting for it like crazy. He’s caught a lot of contested passes, but the guy made a good play.”
A taunting penalty by cornerback Aaron Colvin pushed the ball back to the 17. The Jaguars ran three times and sent in Lambo.
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler caught two touchdown passes from Rivers. However, he lost a fumble on first down with 1:48 left in the game.
Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson forced it and free safety Tashaun Gipson recovered.
Chargers safety Tre Boston intercepted Bortles twice in the final two minutes of regulation.
On Boston’s second pick after Ekeler’s fumble, he started moving sideways in celebration instead of running upfield from the 10-yard line. The lost field position ended up costing Los Angeles. The Chargers punted from their 16 and the Jaguars had one final chance at their own 48-yard line with 58 seconds left.
“That was one of the dumb things,” Lynn said. “Instead of advancing the football, because they’re still in the game with all three timeouts. Never seen it before.”
The Chargers also shut down Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette. The fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft was held to 33 yards on 17 carries.
Ekeler’s second touchdown from 22 yards gave the Chargers a 14-6 lead with 10:29 to play in the third quarter.
The Jaguars answered when Bortles connected with receiver Marqise Lee for a 6-yard touchdown pass.
“It was a great pass by Blake as far as getting it away from the defender and putting it in a nice spot so I can make a play,” Lee said.
The Jaguars went for two and Bortles and Lee again hooked up for the conversion to tie the score with 2:03 left in the third quarter.
Los Angeles took the lead 17-14 on a 50-yard field goal by Nick Novak with 10:35 to play in the game.
The Jaguars opened the scoring with some trickery. Marrone called for a fake punt from his own 44-yard line. Upback Corey Grant took the snap and broke a tackle, then weaved through the Chargers’ return team for a 54-yard touchdown run.
“It’s something we have been working on all week,” Grant said. “It was a weakness we found in their punt return team.
“We went out on the first punt to see what they would give us. On the second time, the coach called it and everyone executed it perfectly. From there, we took it to the house.”
The special teams surge was short-lived, as Lambo had his extra-point attempt blocked.
The Jaguars led 6-0 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
Rivers started to heat up late in the first half. He guided the Chargers 87 yards in seven plays, finishing the drive with a 28-yard screen pass to Ekeler for a touchdown with 47 seconds left in the second quarter.
The score allowed the Chargers to take a 7-6 lead into halftime.
NOTES: Former Jaguars coach Gus Bradley returned to EverBank Field. Bradley was fired after going 14-48 from 2013 to 2016. Lynn hired him to be the Chargers’ defensive coordinator. ... The Jaguars are 1-1 in overtime games this season. They lost 23-20 at the New York Jets on Oct. 1. ... Both teams were without their starting right tackles. The Jaguars made Jermey Parnell (knee) inactive, and Joe Barksdale (turf toe) missed the game for Los Angeles. ... The Chargers were also without LB Hayes Pullard (neck), their leading tackler with 58. ... Los Angeles did get LB Denzel Perryman (ankle) back for the first time this season. He was activated after a stint on injured reserve. Perryman had a team-high nine tackles. ... The Jaguars ran into problems in the second half when long snapper Matt Overton suffered a shoulder injury on a punt. He couldn’t return, which left the Jaguars with LG Tyler Shatley taking over the field-goal duties. FB Tommy Bohanon handled the snaps on punts. Bohanon’s snap was good enough on the first punt, but punter Brad Nortman only hit a 30-yarder. ... The Jaguars also lost special teams core player Arrelious Benn to a knee injury early in the game.