The LA Chargers did not waste much time getting things going in the team's first playoff game in four years. Los Angeles got out to a red-hot start against the Jacksonville Jaguars, picking off Trevor Lawrence and quickly scoring a touchdown before fans could find their seats.
That hot start for the Bolts bled into the rest of the first quarter. The Jaguars were able to drive down the field and get into field goal range in their second drive and opted to go for it on fourth down. Instead of getting three points, Lawrence threw his second interception of the game, this time to Asante Samuel Jr.
The Bolts turned that into three points of their own and forced the Jaguars to punt on the ensuing drive. After punting the ball back to the Jags, the Chargers made sure to make it a first-quarter hat trick, picking off Lawrence for a third time. It was Samuel's second INT of the first quarter.
Chargers' Asante Samuel Jr. picked a great time to own Trevor Lawrence
Update: Asante Samuel Jr. picked off Trevor Lawrence for a THIRD time in the second quarter.
Chargers fans know that Asante Samuel Jr. has been really good for the team all season. This has been a big breakout season for the second-year corner, who many thought should have been a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Instead, Samuel went 47th overall and is dominating the quarterback who went first overall in his draft class. Not only did Samuel pick Lawrence off twice in the first quarter, he also recorded two pass break-ups.
That is four highly impactful plays for Samuel in only 15 minutes of game action. Considering the stage, it is worth asking where this one quarter of action ranks compared to other great quarters that defensive backs have turned in.
It definitely has to be the greatest quarter of coverage in a player's first playoff quarter in league history. It is very common for young players to crater when the stage grows in the playoffs and Samuel has done the opposite. He has been balling out at an incredible level.
Brandon Staley has been fantastic with this defense since the bye week and this start against the Jaguars not only gave Samuel a chance to shine but is putting Staley's defensive IQ on full display.