A putrid performance by the Jaguars allowed the nearly flawless San Diego Chargers to clinch the team's sixth-straight win over Jacksonville on Sunday.
The 38-14 loss was an overall disaster from the start for the Jaguars. Quarterback Blake Bortles committed three turnovers in the first half and the defense allowed the Chargers to produce big play after big play. Every time the Jaguars seemed to gain some momentum, the squad would step on its own cleats.
Stops by the defense were followed by turnovers from the offense. Big plays from the offense would lead to eventual stalled drives or a missed field goal. The Jaguars weren't able to match the Chargers' urgency or cohesion until it was too late.
Adding injury to insult, starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum was driven out of the stadium and taken to a hospital with a concussion.
The Chargers were on point for most of the game. Quarterback Phillip Rivers was able to find multiple options in the passing game and hit the likes of Antonio Gates and Travis Benjamin for big plays and touchdowns.
River was also aided by the stellar performance of running back Melvin Gordon, who produced 120 total yards and a touchdown on 27 touches. Rivers finished the game 17-of-24 for 220 passing yards and four touchdowns. His main target was Benjamin, who caught six passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
San Diego cornerback Casey Hayward also produced two interceptions.
Bortles finished 31-of-50 for 329 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Chargers. He was also sacked twice by Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram.
Tight end Julius Thomas and wide receiver Allen Hurns served as Bortles' top targets on the day. Thomas produced four catches for 71 yards and Hurns added five catches for 64 yards.
On defense, defensive end Dante Fowler produced the first two sacks of his career. Fellow defensive end, rookie Yannick Ngakoue, also produced his first career sack and forced a fumble.
The Chargers started off very fast after taking on the game's first offensive possession. An eight-play, 75-yard drive led to a three-yard rushing touchdown by running back Melvin Gordon. San Diego featured the running game heavily in the first possession, as Gordon and Danny Woodhead sliced through the Jacksonville defense. Following a successful extra point attempt, the Chargers led 7-0 with 10:14 remaining in the first quarter.
The Jaguars didn't follow suit on their first possession of the game. A false start penalty set the Jaguars up for a third and 18. Despite connecting on a pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis, Blake Bortles was unable to keep the drive alive. Lewis only picked up 13 receiving yards and the Jaguars were forced to punt.
Following a positive showing from the Jaguars defense on a San Diego three and out, Jacksonville tried to establish its own running game. However, after two runs by T.J. Yeldon for six yards, Bortles threw a pass to wide receiver Marqise Lee. The ball was tipped and intercepted by Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward.
The Chargers took advantage of great field positioning and drove 34 yards for another touchdown. The seven-play drive was an easy one for San Diego. It finished with Rivers hitting wide receiver Travis Benjamin on a crossing route for a seven-yard touchdown. After another extra point, the Chargers led 14-0 at the start of the second quarter.
After allowing the Chargers to take a two-score lead, Bortles and the offense started to click. Bortles hit wide receiver Allen Hurns for a 19-yard pass and then Yeldon gained some momentum on the ground with a 15-yard carry. However, the Jaguars were forced to settle for a 54-yard field goal that kicker Jason Myers missed.
The Chargers offense got the ball back and immediately went back to the air. Rivers hit Benjamin for a 43-yard reception to put the Chargers in the redzone. San Diego stalled a bit in the redzone, but went for it on fourth down and a neutral zone infraction by the Jaguars gave them a fresh set of downs. With first and goal at the three-yard line, Rivers hit tight end Antonio Gates on a screen for a touchdown. A successful extra point put the Chargers up 21-0 with 9:54 remaining in the half.
The Jaguars offense continued its poor play after the third Chargers score. Bortles was sacked by Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram on third and 13 and San Diego was able to pick up the ball on the Jacksonville 18-yard line.
The Chargers were able to get deep into Jaguars territory but - after multiple penalties by both teams - were situated at the five-yard line when Jaguars rookie defensive end Yannick Ngakoue got a strip sack on Rivers. The ball was recovered by safety Johnathan Cyprien at the seven-yard line.
After being bailed out, the Jaguars offense got some space with a 14-yard pass interference call on the Chargers defense. With the added space, Yeldon took over the offense, as he was consistently involved in the drive. A big throw and catch from Bortles to tight end Julius Thomas moved the ball into Chargers territory.
However, on the next play Bortles threw downfield and the ball was picked off again by Hayward. The interception shut down any momentum gained by Yeldon and the defense. The turnover also gave the Chargers another opportunity.
The Chargers went conservative on the next possession and punted with a minute left in the half. The Jaguars were unable to score before halftime.
Despite the need to start fast, the Jaguars offense went three and out to begin the second half. Following a punt by Brad Nortman, the Chargers were able to start the team's first drive of the second half on its own 45-yard line. A pass interference call on Jaguars cornerback Davon House allowed San Diego to get into Jacksonville territory.
Following the penalty, the Chargers kept on pushing. Rivers hit second-year wide receiver Tyrell Williams for a completion that led to a 44-yard touchdown. The extra point was good and brought the Chargers lead to 28 midway through the third quarter.
The Jaguars and the Chargers traded punts on the next three possessions. San Diego then went back on the attack, aided by two penalties from Jacksonville defensive end Jared Odrick.
The Jacksonville defender was called for defensive offsides and then unsportsmanlike conduct, which led to a 20-yard gain for the Chargers. Rivers followed up the penalties with a 45-yard strike to Benjamin for another touchdown. The Chargers took a 35-0 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter.
Just before the end of the third quarter, play was stopped for several minutes, as Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum appeared to suffer a head injury. He was taken out of the stadium on a field vehicle with a concussion and transported to a local hospital.
The Jaguars offense finally came alive in the fourth quarter with the team's first scoring drive. Bortles led a 12-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown pass. The quarterback hit Lewis for a short pass and the tight end took it upfield for four yards and the score. The extra point was good by Myers and the Jaguars trailed 35-7 in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
Not content on keeping their 28-point lead intact, the Chargers decided to add to the score. Riding Gordon the entire drive, San Diego scored again on a 11-play, 36-yard series. A 25-yard field goal by Josh Lambo put the Chargers up 38-7 with 7:04 remaining in the game.
After stalled drives on each side, Bortles led the Jaguars to a second score. The quarterback hit running back Corey Grant for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:04 remaining in the game. The extra point was good and established a 38-14 score.
Following a failed onside kick by the Jaguars, Chargers quarterback Kellen Clemens took a knee and clinched the win for San Diego.
Jaguars Player of the Game
Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas had a nice day with all things considered. He finished the contest with five catches for 71 yards. His output was definitely needed given the ineffectiveness of Allen Robinson throughout the first three quarters of the game.
Jaguars Play of the Game
On second and goal from the Jaguars five-yard line, Rivers dropped back for a pass and was sack-stripped by rookie defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The ball was recovered by safety Johnathan Cyprien and bailed out the offense for giving the ball back to the Chargers in Jacksonville territory on the previous possession. It was the first career sack for Ngakoue.
The Jaguars were without starting cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and running back Chris Ivory (general medical issue) due to injuries.
Jaguars defensive end Jared Odrick injured his elbow on the first drive of the game and returned to the game in the second quarter. Nose tackle Roy Miller injured his left hand but returned.
The Chargers entered the game without defensive end Joey Bosa due a hamstring injury. Running back Danny Woodhead suffered a knee injury on the Chargers' third offensive possession.