Jags’ Pederson on Lawrence: ‘This is really a great performance by our quarterback’


That was the score after Los Angeles Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker made a 23-yard field goal with 4:25 left in the first half on Saturday night.

Before that kick, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw four first-half interceptions, and Jacksonville committed five first-half turnovers.

After that field goal, Jacksonville scored a touchdown before the end of the first half as Lawrence connected with Evan Engram on a nine-yard touchdown pass to make it 27-7 at the break.

In his first playoff game, Lawrence finished the first half 10/24 for 77 yards, one touchdown, and, again, four interceptions.

“For myself, obviously yeah, definitely the worst half of my football life, of a lot of people’s football life, too,” Lawrence said about the first half. “Some type of history probably in that stat.”

Fortunately for Jacksonville and Lawrence, there was another half of football, and they took full advantage of it.

Lawrence settled down in the second half and was 18/23 for 211 yards and three touchdowns, and he finished the game 28/47 for 288 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Ultimately, Jacksonville completed the third-greatest comeback in NFL postseason history when kicker Riley Patterson made a 36-yard field goal at the buzzer as they defeated the Chargers 31-30 at TIAA Bank Field.

With the win, Jacksonville moves on to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson played with a gunslinger in Brett Favre. The Hall of Famer had been known to bounce back from interceptions, so Pederson is very familiar with these types of performances from quarterbacks.

“I played with one of the greatest quarterbacks ever in Brett Favre, and there were times he didn’t have a great first half and came back in the second half and could light it up,” Pederson said. “That’s what I love about Trevor [Lawrence] and his demeanor and his aggressiveness and the ability to just forget and move on… But from an individual standpoint, this is really a great performance by our quarterback.”

According to Lawrence, he got more comfortable as the game went on.

“I felt like I was seeing it all right, and I just needed to settle in,” he said. “We didn’t get any momentum going, couldn’t get a drive going. Really just felt like we needed to settle in, and then our defense kept getting stops for us, and I knew once we get the ball and get rolling for that first score like we did at the end of the half. Once we kind of got that and got the momentum back, felt good about – we’ve been in that situation before, not that many points but similar situations. That’s the thing, just the belief in this team. It’s kind of – it’s really cool to see what can happen when everybody believes.”

Pederson says this win is one the greatest victories in his coaching career.

“My hats off to our guys, our team,” he said. “I told them after the game that other than obviously winning the Super Bowl a few years ago, greatest coaching victory as a team, this one is right up there with it. My hats off to our guys for just battling. As deep a hole as we dug in the first half, there was – you guys have been around our team; you know there’s no quit in our guys.”

This was a big win for Jacksonville, and fortunately for them, the Chargers cooperated, but credit to Lawrence for not giving up and credit to this team for fighting to the end.

Eagles again commit to run game but fall short against Chargers

After defeating the Detroit Lions 44-6 last Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles(3-6) were a confident bunch heading into Sunday’s showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers(5-3). After 30 minutes of action, Philadelphia had a 10-7 lead.

However, the Chargers would tie the game at 10 in the third quarter and ultimately take a 16-10 lead in the third. The two teams would go back and forth from there. In the end, it came down to who had the ball last, and fortunately for Los Angeles, they had it last as Justin Herbert led them down the field and Dustin Hopkins made a game-winning 29-yard field goal with two seconds left to give the Chargers a 27-24 win at Lincoln Financial Field.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts was solid on Sunday. He completed 11-of-17 attempts for 162 yards, 1 TD, and a 115.3 passer rating. Hurts also added 62 yards rushing, but all he could do was watch as the defense could not get the Chargers off the field.

“It was very tough,” Hurts said postgame about having to watch the Chargers score on their last drive. “I think for me, I always look at it like, ‘What could I have done better to change the outcome of the game?’ That’s how I look at it all the time…. Ultimately, in the end, we didn’t get the ball back and didn’t get an opportunity to go out there and score. It’s a really good football team we just played. I have a lot of respect for [Chargers QB] Justin Herbert, a guy that came out the same year I did. I have a lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for the team.”

After rushing for a season-high 236 yards against Detroit, Philadelphia had another strong performance on the ground and finished with 176 rushing yards against Los Angeles, including 71 yards from Jordan Howard and a touchdown.

“When you’re running the ball like that, again, there are different answers that defense has to come with,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said. “Because you just never, as a defense, want to get the ball pushed down your throat. So, they end up doing different things, which ends up naturally opening up some different avenues.”

Philadelphia appears to have committed to the run game, but the defense was a problem on Sunday; they allowed the Chargers to rack up 445 yards of total offense. Herbert was 32/38 for 356 yards and three touchdowns(one rushing). However, the defense did have two big stops on fourth down in the first half, which they can build on going forward.

Next week, the Eagles go on the road to face the Broncos, who defeated the Cowboys on Sunday, so we’ll see if Philly can bounce back in Denver.

Washington’s Rivera on Herbert: ‘He’ll be a formidable player for a long time in this league’

Much is expected out of Los Angeles Chargers second-year quarterback Justin Herbert in 2021. Last season, as a rookie, the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, threw for 4336 yards and 31 touchdowns. Herbert became the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4000 yards and set a rookie record for most touchdown passes in a season.

The 6-6 Herbert was named the NFL Rookie of the Year in 2020 and clearly looks like a player who could be an upper-echelon quarterback for years to come.

On Sunday, the Chargers travel to D.C. to face the Washington Football Team. Washington head coach Ron Rivera liked what he saw out Herbert last season and believes Herbert could be a special player.

“Well, when we looked at him, we really liked who he is as a football player,” Rivera said on Monday. “He has got a nice, strong arm, and he’s built for the position. He’s very athletic for a big guy. He’s got a tremendous arm. He sees the field very well. He’s a good decision-maker. I mean, you put the tape on from last year, you got an opportunity to watch him make all the throws, literally make all the throws. 

“It’s just one of those things that you draft who you think you need, and that’s what we did. But, I really think that this is a good football player. He’s a young guy who’s going to continue to develop and grow, and he’ll be a formidable player for a long time in this league.”

In the 2020 NFL Draft, Washington had a shot at Herbert but ultimately drafted DE Chase Young with the second overall pick. At the time, Washington had Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, and the hope was that he could be the team’s franchise quarterback. That never came to fruition, and Haskins was released near the end of last season. 

Passing on Herbert could come back to haunt Washington and the other teams that passed on him.

Fortunately for the Chargers, he will probably only get better in Year 2

Chargers, Rams to be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks

HBO Sports, NFL Films and the two Los Angeles-based NFL franchises are teaming up for an unprecedented and unfiltered all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES kicks off its five-episode season this summer. One of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV, the 15th edition of the 18-time Sports Emmy®-winning series debuts TUESDAY, AUG. 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with other hour-long episodes of the first sports-based reality series debuting subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 8 season finale.

HARD KNOCKS will have encore plays Wednesday nights and will be available to stream on HBO via HBO Max and partners’ platforms.

In an unprecedented programming move, the 2020 edition of the venerable series will spotlight both Los Angeles NFL teams: The Los Angeles Chargers of the AFC West and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFC West. The two franchises are set to share the spectacular new 70,000-seat SoFi stadium that is nearing completion in Inglewood, California.​

The arrival of HARD KNOCKS each August is a unique NFL tradition and NFL FILMS and HBO Sports are making plans for an all-new season of the most acclaimed serialized sports series on television.

One of sports television’s most successful and enduring partnerships, HBO Sports, NFL Media and NFL Films have reached agreement on a multi-year extension of the HARD KNOCKS franchise.

“The HARD KNOCKS franchise continues to excel as the preeminent sports reality series,” says Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports.  “Our partnership with NFL Films, which dates back to 1977, consistently produces groundbreaking television programming. We are grateful to the Chargers and Rams organizations to be able to present the 2020 training camp experience.”

“NFL Films cherishes the relationship we’ve had with HBO for over four decades, and specifically with the HARD KNOCKS franchise since 2001,” says NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover. “To be able to announce this extension as we embark on an unprecedented two team series this summer brings us incredible pride and only heightens our excitement for the return of football.”

Camera crews will head to southern California in the next few weeks to begin filming, with the action heating up in August when the cinéma vérité show focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches.

Under fourth-year head coach Sean McVay, the Rams are just a season removed from a Super Bowl appearance and have a roster featuring an intriguing mix of high-profile players, established veterans, and free-agent acquisitions.

After an injury-plagued 2019 campaign, the Los Angeles Chargers are looking for a return to the winning formula that helped them finish tied for the AFC’s best record in 2018. Led by fourth-year head coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers overhauled roster features young, rising stars on both sides of the ball, a new quarterback behind center and an influx of veteran talent added this offseason.

Both franchises will also be debuting new logos and uniforms when they open their new, state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium home later this year.

Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn said, “Having been part of Hard Knocks before when I was with the New York Jets, my biggest takeaway from that whole experience was that you get out of it what you put into it. There’s a reason that season was probably the most popular Hard Knocks ever. If you’re going to do a show, do it right. You can’t fake it. We didn’t have a problem providing access because we built a relationship with the crew. There was a mutual trust that exists to this day with those people, and many of them will actually be working on this year’s show. Broadcasting your internal business all over the world isn’t something you regularly want to do, but in a year with as many challenges as this one has had, I’m glad we can be part of bringing football back to the fans this summer.”

“We are looking forward to having Hard Knocks in our camp this year,” said Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay.  “Hard Knocks always offers a rare opportunity for our fans to see our players’ hard work to prepare for the season, as well as gives them a peek behind the curtain to observe these guys off the field, too.  This year will be special because the show will also get an unprecedented look at SoFi Stadium, Stan Kroenke’s vision for professional football in L.A.”