First on the ground, then through the air, the San Diego Chargers took a big step toward ending their six game losing streak Monday night by building a 24-14 halftime lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Philip Rivers took advantage of the Jaguars weak secondary, throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Brown and a 35-yard scoring pass to Vincent Jackson on the final two drives of the first half. Both scores came against cornerbacks who were not on the active roster for most of the season.
Ryan Mathews ran for 56 yards in the first quarter alone as the Chargers built a 10-0 lead. The Chargers had lost six straight games and the way they were playing looked like it was going to end soon. Mathews did not touch the ball in the second quarter, which belonged largely to Rivers.
Maurice Jones-Drew, the one offensive star for Jacksonville (3-8) who leads the AFC in rushing, caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert to cap a 79-yard drive at the start of the second quarter. The Jaguars managed only 27 yards in the opening quarter.
After a three-and-out by the Chargers, Gabbert and Jones-Drew hooked up on a 48-yard shovel pass. It was a beautifully executed play, with Gabbert flicking the ball five yards with his right hand to Drew, who had the middle of the field all to himself and ran down to the 4-yard line.
Cornerback Antoine Cason broke up a potential touchdown pass to Jarrett Dillard, but on third-and-goal from the 5, Gabbert found Cecil Shorts III in the back corner of the end zone to give the Jaguars a 14-10 lead.
The Jaguars lost 14-38, but in defeat it was arguably Blaine Gabberts best performance of his career with the Jaguars. That is the Jaguars second consecutive home game loss and hopefully against the Tampa Bay, the team can rebound and come out with a win.