Chargers falter in giveaway to Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Los Angeles Chargers reverted to their old ways on the road Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Quarterback Philip Rivers, who was trying to push the ball down the field to Travis Benjamin in overtime, instead threw an interception to cornerback A.J. Bouye, who returned the ball to the Chargers’ 1-yard line.

Rivers made the tackle on the play, but Jacksonville wa penalized for taunting afterward, pushing the ball back to the 17.

Three plays later, former Chargers kicker Josh Lambo drilled a 30-yarder, handing Los Angeles a 20-17 overtime loss.

The Chargers led for most of the game but dropped to 3-6 on the year, and their playoff hopes appear to be on life support.

The latest loss continued a troubling trend of the Chargers faltering late in games. According to ESPN Stats ∓ Information, since the start of 2015 the Chargers have lost 11 games that have been decided by three points or fewer — most in the NFL

The Chargers are 8-17 since the start of last season. Of those 17 losses, 14 have been within one possession — also the most in the NFL in that span.

Entering Sunday, the Chargers had won six straight against the Jaguars and appeared to have this one put away in regulation.

The Chargers had possession with 1:51 left on a first-and-15 from their 37. However, undrafted Chargers rookie Austin Ekeler fumbled after Malik Jackson hit his helmet on the football. Tashaun Gibson recovered, but the Chargers managed to keep the Jaguars from scoring when Tre Boston corralled his second interception of the game.

Los Angeles could not get another first down and punted. And Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles managed to drive his team 36 yards on six plays, putting Jacksonville in position for Lambo’s 35-yard field goal to force overtime.

Despite the fumble, Ekeler finished with 119 total yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. He totaled five receptions for 77 yards — including touchdown catches of 28 and 22 yards — and added 42 rushing yards.

According to ESPN Stats ∓ Information, Ekeler became the first running back in the NFL with two touchdown catches of 20 or more yards in a game since Week 15 of the 2013 season when Jamaal Charles finished with three touchdown catches of 20-plus yards against the Oakland Raiders while still with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ekeler’s four touchdowns on the year ties him for second on the Chargers with Travis Benjamin.

Leave a Response