Chargers end skid, hand Jaguars fifth straight lopsided loss

Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, center, and center Brandon Linder (65) celebrate with tight end Nick O'Leary, left, after O'Leary caught a 12-yard touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Stephen B. Morton/AP)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Philip Rivers threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns, including an 84-yarder to Austin Ekeler that was the longest completion of the quarterback’s 16-year NFL career, and the Los Angeles Chargers handled the Jaguars 45-10 Sunday to end a three-game skid.

It was Jacksonville’s fifth consecutive lopsided loss, all by at least 17 points. The 1986 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the last NFL team to drop five straight by at least 17.

Jacksonville’s last two have been embarrassments at home — both essentially settled before halftime.

The Chargers (5-8) scored on four of five possessions in the first half, picking apart Jacksonville’s beleaguered defence and taking a 24-3 into the locker room. It was a welcome cushion for a team whose eight losses each came by seven points or fewer.

It was more of the same for the Jaguars (4-9), who trailed by as many as 25, 32, 24 and 23 in their previous four blowouts.

It’s hard to imagine owner Shad Khan keeping Doug Marrone any longer, not following another lacklustre effort against another sub-.500 team. The Jaguars have now lost 19 of their last 25 games — 11 of those by double digits.

The latest one officially ended Jacksonville’s ultra-slim playoff hopes.

Now it could also be the end of Marrone’s tenure with the Jags.

Marrone benched veteran quarterback Nick Foles in favour of rookie Gardner Minshew, hoping to spark his team. But Minshew looked mostly ordinary, completing 24 of 37 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. He also missed DJ Chark running wide open down the left side in the second quarter.

Leonard Fournette ran for 49 yards.

Rivers got the fourth quarter off — a nice way to spend his 38th birthday. He completed 16 of 22 passes, including a 30-yard TD pass to wide-open Hunter Henry, a screen pass to Austin Ekeler that beat an all-out blitz and was the longest of his pro career, and a 44-yarder to Mike Williams.

Williams extended his streak to five games with at least one catch gaining more than 40 yards and found the end zone for the first time this season. It was an odd drought considering Williams had 11 touchdowns (10 receiving, one rushing) last year.

He celebrated by trying to dunk the ball over the crossbar. He came up short and was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Rivers has now thrown for 2,668 yards and 24 touchdowns in nine career starts against the Jaguars. He has 17 TD passes and an interception in his last five against Jacksonville.

Ekeler finished with 213 total yards, including 101 rushing and 112 receiving. Melvin Gordon added 55 and a touchdown on the ground.

KEY INJURIES

Jaguars receiver DJ Chark left the field in the fourth quarter with a left ankle injury. … Backup Jaguars linebacker Jake Ryan, who spent the first 12 weeks of the season on the non-football injury list, left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury.

UP NEXT

Chargers: Host Minnesota next Sunday. LA is 2-1 against the NFC North this season, allowing a combined 40 points against Detroit, Chicago and Green Bay.

Jaguars: Play at Oakland next Sunday, the final football game at the Oakland Coliseum. Should be a raucous crowd.

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