LA Chargers Defeat Jaguars 45-10
Eliminated From Playoff Spot
December 12, 2019
One of the things that has been missing in the 2019 Los Angeles Chargers offensive attack has been the big play. They have lacked the explosive plays of the past, offensive plays of 20 yards or more. That ended on Sunday in Jacksonville. The Chargers found their offense and looked like the 2017 & 2018 Chargers, winning in convincing fashion against the Jaguars, 45-10.
The Chargers exploded for 525 yards of offense and a season high 45 points. They had nine offensive plays of 19 yards or more, which accounted for 326 of the 525 yards in total offense for the Chargers. Three of the nine "big plays" were touchdown passes from quarterback Philip Rivers, who was celebrating his 38th birthday on Sunday. The veteran quarterback had his best day of the season, completing 16 of 22 passes for 314 yards.
Rivers also posted the highest quarterback rating of his career (154.4) for a single game. He threw an 84-yard touchdown pass to running back Austin Ekeler, which was the longest completion for a touchdown in his 16-year career. Ekeler finished with 213 yards on 12 touches. He had a career-high 101 yards rushing on just eight carries and had 112 yards receiving on four catches. He had runs of 27 yards, 23 yards and 35 yards.
Rivers connected with tight end Hunter Henry for a 30-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and found wide receiver Mike Williams for a 44-yard touchdown reception in the 3rd quarter. For Williams, it was his first touchdown catch of the season. He had ten touchdown receptions in the 2018 season. The degree of difficulty on the touchdown catch is becoming commonplace for Williams, who has made a habit of acrobatic catches.
Rivers was impressed, stating: "What a catch, too, just to kinda add to his big-play list this year, and he extended his yards per catch average, so he'll stay in the lead on that one... Just his big-play ability, and the catches in traffic are awesome. He reminds me a little bit of Vincent (Jackson) and a little bit of Malcom (Floyd) at times, but he's Mike Williams."
There have been whispers around the NFL about Rivers being done, that maybe he should retire. The game in Jacksonville proved otherwise. In addition, the Chargers are on a pace to have the first trio of wide receiver with over 1,000 yards in receiving since 2008. Keenan Allen, Williams and Ekeler are all on a pace for over 1,000 yards in receiving. That has only happened five times in NFL history.
The Chargers produced the first 1,000-yard trio, consisting of John Jefferson, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner. That trio was led by Charger Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts in 1980. Winslow and Joiner are also in the Hall of Fame. The fact that the current Charger trio is flirting with joining this elite group is a testament to their quality of play. It is also illustrates that Rivers is still a very effective quarterback.
The defense again contributed with a very solid performance, holding the Jaguars to 259 yards and just ten points. Linebacker Drue Tranquill had eight tackles, seven solo and defensive end Joey Bosa had two sacks, three tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, and four total tackles. The defense has looked very good the past two weeks and the return of defensive backs Derwin James and Adrian Phillips, has been a big part of the improvement the past two weeks. They combined for 11 tackles on Sunday.
The win improved the Chargers to 5-8 for the season and ended a three-game losing streak. The Jaguars, with the loss, fall to 4-9 for the season. There were some individual milestones from the game. Fullback Derek Watt scored the first touchdown in his four NFL seasons and his first on the ground since he was playing high school football in Wisconsin, on a one-yard touchdown run in the 2nd quarter. Allen caught the 500th pass of his career in the 2nd quarter, an eight-yard pass from Rivers.
The Chargers return home to ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park next Sunday, December 15th, to face the 9-4 Minnesota Vikings. Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. PT. The Vikings are one game behind the Packers in the NFC North division and are currently in the final wild-card playoff spot in the NFC. The Chargers can play spoilers and help their cross-town rivals, the Los Angeles Rams, who are one game behind the Vikings for the final wild card spot in the NFC. They will need more "big plays" to defeat the Vikings.