It’s most definitely a career kind of half for Samuel. And it’s definitely one that Lawrence is going to stick away in his brain somewhere never to remember again. However, the NFL record will show that no other QB had this kind of playoff first quarter in the Super Bowl era of the league.
With 3 minutes, 50 seconds to go in the first half, Lawrence was up to four interceptions, with the triple shot from Samuel. And the Chargers took a commanding 27-0 lead.
Here’s one of the Asante Samuel picks. He grabbed them all while playing zone as Lawrence threw crossing route after crossing route. Note that linebacker Drue Tranquill nabbed the first interception. Then Samuel finished with the next three.
And at this point, Lawrence had only four completions to his own guys for a combined 30 yards. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert had 15 completions.
The Jaguars did manage to score in the half, with Lawrence throwing a touchdown to Evan Engram with 24 seconds to go. That cut the score to 27-7. The TD jump-started the crowd at TIAA Field.
In previous playoff games, dating back more than half a century, no other quarterback had ever thrown more than two picks in the first quarter of a post-season game. So Asante Samuel helped Lawrence break the record on the cornerback’s second pick of the opening 15 minutes.
Both Samuel and Lawrence came to the league in 2021. The Jaguars selected Lawrence with the first pick of the draft. The Chargers then picked Samuel in the second round.