Oh boy, that was horrendous, wasn’t it?
At least there were some bright spots in the game (which made the end situation worse). The main positive out of the game was rookie Austin Ekeler, and this is the drive he scored the first of his two touchdowns.
The Jaguars lead 6-0 after a fake punt for a touchdown. After another Jaguars punt, the Chargers have 3:46 left on the clock before halftime. This is their 6th drive of the match, with all the previous five ending in a punt, three of them after not getting a first down. Due to a penalty by Rayshawn Jenkins on the punt return, which is becoming a bit of a theme, the Bolts are backed up to their own 13.
1st and 10 at LAC 13
Whisenhunt sends out an extra lineman, Sam Tevi, on the left side for the first play. Hunter Henry and Derek Watt are also lined up at fullback in front of Melvin Gordon. Keenan Allen is the solo Wide Receiver. Rivers fakes a play action to Watt, and then throws quickly to him, once he’s beyond the offensive line. The line did an OK job of protecting their quarterback. The two tackles did get bull rushed back but Rivers had enough time and space to deliver the ball. This was Watt’s first reception of the season, and he sure made the most of it. After the catch, he shrugs off Jaguars safety Tashaun Gibson, and then a diving Tevin Smith before being pushed out of bounds by A.J. Bouye for 12 yards.
1st and 10 at LAC 25
The Chargers have McGrath motion to the left side of the field to form a ‘trips left’ formation. The middle of those receivers is Tyrell Williams, who from the slot, runs a slant against the Jags zone defense. Williams runs straight past ‘Backer Paul Posluszny, finding the soft spot of the zone between Posluszny and the Safety. From a reasonably clean pocket, Rivers doesn’t quite throw to Williams in stride, but the receiver shows good concentration to make the catch. Williams still manages to get some yards after the catch before being tackled for a 30-yard gain.
1st and 10 at JAX 45
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. This is going far too swimmingly. Right on cue, Rivers fumbles the snap from under center. Luckily for the Chargers, Rivers is able to recover.
2nd and 12 at JAX 47
Oh. No. Robert. Meachem. Flashbacks.
Just as Williams showed good concentration no more than two plays ago, he drops an absolute stinker…a simple go-route on the left sideline. The safety comes from center field as Williams beats the corner. The ball flies over the safety and hits Williams straight in the chest. Brutal. It should be 7-6, but instead, it’s just the two-minute warning.
3rd and 12 at JAX 47
A huge third down, potentially game-changing if, you know, the Chargers had actually held on, but let’s leave that topic for another day. Chargers were only 1/6 on third downs at this point. Rivers takes the snap from the gun, which he did on every snap of this drive, since the fumble. Allen runs an intermediate dig route, to get in behind the linebackers. The Jaguars get pressure round Michael Schofield and Rivers delivers the ball to Allen just before the defender can get to him. A very well-designed play by Whisenhunt as a drag route by Gates, from the opposite side, occupies the defender that was shadowing Allen, allowing him the space behind the ‘backer.’
1st and 10 at JAX 30
After a number of passing plays, the Chargers mix it up with a run from the gun. Gordon takes the handoff and bounces it to the outside, only to be met by Myles Jack. A two-yard run.
2nd and 8 at JAX 28
Like he did for a lot of the day, Austin Ekeler replaced Gordon in the backfield. He runs a flat route into the right side. With a nice two-step cut out of his break, he gets a few yards on Tevin Smith. The pass is delivered in stride and he breaks down the sideline. Mike Williams does just enough to hinder Jalen Ramsey and Ekeler breaks through his arm tackle. The running back shows unbelievably good body control and balance to stay in bounds and breakthrough for the touchdown. 28 glorious yards.
–Thomas Herd is a Staff Writer and covers the Los Angeles Chargers for cover32.com/Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @chargers_uk