By Tim Peterson
(Inglewood) – The Chargers were down by just nine at halftime but were outscored 22-3 in the second half and went on to fall to Jacksonville 38-10 before 67, 964 Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert’s status was unclear after he suffered a rib injury in last week’s game against Kansas City. The Chargers decided at game time that Herbert would play and he went on to complete 25 of 45 for 297 yards and a touchdown with one interception. Despite a gutsy effort by Herbert it wasn’t enough on a day when the Chargers had only 26 yards rushing.
The Chargers were down by just six points early in the third quarter but the Jaguars scored twice in the next ten minutes to pull away to a 31-10 advantage.
Both teams had the ball twice in the first quarter but were unable to score.
The Jaguars broke through on the first play of the second quarter on a 22-yard field goal by Riley Patterson.
On the next possession Herbert’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Jaguar linebacker Devin Lloyd and returned to the Chargers five yard line. The Chargers defense was able to hold however and Jacksonville settled for 23-yard field goal by Patterson for a 6-0 lead with 13:52 left in the second quarter.
The Chargers turned it over again on the next possession when Herbert fumbled after being a hit by Dawauane Smoot. Foyesade Oluokun fell on the loose ball at the LA 28 yard line.
The Jaguars cashed in when Trevor Lawrence hit Zay Jones on a 14-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-0.
The Chargers responded with a 9-play, 75-yard drive. Herbert hit Mike Williams in the endzone for a 15-yard touchdown with 6:10 remaining in the second quarter to cut the lead to 13-7.
Jacksonville again marched down into the red zone and again the Chargers held stopping the Jags at the five yard line. Patterson booted a 23-yard field goal to increase the lead to 16-7 with 1:02 left in the second quarter.
The Jaguars took the nine-point lead into the half.
On the first series of the third quarter the Chargers drove down to the Jacksonville seven yard line highlighted by a 54-yard pass from Herbert to Jalen Guyton. But they were halted there and Dustin Hopkins kicked a 25-yard field goal to get the Bolts within six.
On the very next possession James Robinson broke through the Chargers front line and raced 50 yards for a touchdown on a fourth and one play and just like that the Jaguars were up 23-10.
Later in the quarter the Jaguars burned over 8 minutes off the clock with a 14-play, 60-yard drive for a score. Lawrence hit Christian Kirk on a 4-yard touchdown pass to finish it. Evan Ingram then hauled in a pass for a two-point conversion for a 31-10 Jacksonville lead with 1:15 left in the third quarter. The Jags took that advantage into the fourth.
In the fourth quarter the Jaguars pieced together another 14-play drive, this one for 68 yards to burn another 9:10 off of the clock. Lawrence capped it with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones to make it 38-10 with 4:54 left.
The Chargers marched down deep into Jacksonville territory late in the fourth quarter but a pass into the endzone was ruled incomplete.
For the Chargers Joshua Palmer was Herbert’s favorite target as he had six catches for 99 yards and Guyton had two for 64. Austin Ekeler added eight receptions for 48 yards but the lack of a running attack hurt the Chargers offense.
For the Jaguars Lawrence completed 28 of 39 for 262 yards and three scores with no interceptions. Zay Jones had 10 receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown while Kirk caught six balls for 72 yards and a score. Marvin Jones hauled in four receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Robinson led the Jacksonville rushing attack with 100 yards and a score on 17 carries.
The Jaguars improved to 2-1 with the victory while the Chargers fell to 1-2.