JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If you needed a sign that this had the potential to be a special season for the Jacksonville Jaguars, all you had to do was check out the final two minutes of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
There were plenty from which to choose -- and there was some good fortune, too.
Like Josh Lambo's 30-yard field goal in overtime to give the Jaguars a 20-17 victory at EverBank Field. The kick was tipped at the line of scrimmage but still got through the uprights to give the Jaguars their third consecutive victory for the first time since 2013. To win in the NFL, it’s not enough to be talented. Teams need luck, too, and that’s what happened in the final two minutes and overtime.
"Yeah, the thing about it is, we’re confident of everybody in this locker room," defensive end Calais Campbell said. "Nothing went our way, at all; we had so many plays that went against us, balls that didn’t bounce our way. At the end of the day, we found a way to get a W against a very good team."
The Jaguars somehow managed to follow each significant screw-up in the fourth quarter with a bit of good fortune.
Blake Bortles threw an interception. The defense forced a fumble.
Bortles threw another interception. The defense forced a three-and-out.
A taunting penalty pushed the Jaguars nearly out of field goal range. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty put the Jaguars back into field goal range.
All that, and then a backup long-snapper delivered a solid snap so Lambo could hit a 34-yard field goal to force OT.
Lambo’s game-winning kick and the drama in the final two minutes overshadowed the Jaguars’ inability to get anything going on the ground and Bortles' terrible fourth-quarter performance, as well as his inability to put the team on his shoulders.
The Chargers bottled up Leonard Fournette (17 carries for 33 yards), and though Bortles led the Jaguars to a game-tying touchdown late in the third quarter, he made two terrible decisions on throws in the final two minutes that should have cost the Jaguars the game.
Instead, the Jaguars (6-3) somehow managed to keep pace with Tennessee (6-3) in the AFC South. It’s the kind of victory that can bring a team together -- winning when it didn’t even play close to its best -- and one the Jaguars have not been capable of capturing in a long time.
"It’s one of those things, it builds grit, it builds character," defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. "We need wins like this to reference when we get deep into January and February. Reference back to this and be able to say we’ve been in this spot, we’ve pulled it out, we have the dogs to take this and win this game and we can do it."
With games against Cleveland, Arizona and Indianapolis in the next three weeks, the Jaguars have a chance to take control of the division. Thanks to a little luck.