Jaguars don’t want to lose confidence after losing to Broncos in London

There have been far too many long Sundays this season for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6), especially this week across the pond in London, UK, against the Denver Broncos (3-5). It was Jacksonville’s fifth loss in a row, their fifth loss in a row by one loss.

All six of the team’s total losses this season have been on one possession, including Week 1 against the Washington Commanders when Jacksonville lost 28-22. These are the kinds of games Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson expected ahead of the season, he said in the postgame.

However, it has become Groundhog Day for Jacksonville, a rut they can’t get out of.

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“Honestly, nobody likes to lose, right? That’s the nature of the game. But if I had to choose, I’d rather pick these kinds of games than blowout games where you lose,” Pederson said in postgame.

“I think you learn more from losses like this as a team, where we are with the culture of our team, than in a knockout loss.”

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson watches his team during the NFL football game between Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium London, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The team is trying to learn how to win “the hard way,” Pederson told Jaguar digital reporter Ashlyn Sullivan after the game. Jacksonville has been unable to get away with a win for over a month after winning two games early in the season, two head-to-head against the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers.

Pederson continues to see Jaguars fight through heavy losses, he said in his post-game press conference: “They are fighting their tails off.” In the end, Pederson said they can’t make excuses and have to keep working to figure out how to win.

“We just keep plugging. We just keep plugging, and we keep practicing and we keep learning and we keep teaching, and we keep scratching and fighting,” Pederson said.

“I really believe that good things are going to happen for this football team. We are here after eight games, obviously not where we want to be, but for every man there, no one will hang their head. No one will feel sorry for us.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) and Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) chat after the NFL football game between Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, October 30, 2022. Denver Broncos won 21-17.( AP Photo/Ian Walton)

This week has been on repeat all season, but the Jaguars didn’t seem to lose a single fight on the field. Trailing 14-10 late in the game, the Jaguars rode off the field to secure a late lead, something they often struggled with in the fourth quarter this season.

That drive followed a standout performance from the Jaguars defense that forced the Broncos to kick three times in a row after already turning in a nine-play 98-yard TD drive to give Denver the lead.

Both units showed that they could overcome adversity late, but not late enough. It’s battle after battle that Jacksonville struggled with on Sunday.

Trevor Lawrence understands he has to ‘play better’ for team success

The Jaguars’ battle started early in the attack. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence collected just 148 passing yards for one touchdown and two interceptions. Lawrence also screwed up football after a strip sack by Broncos defender Nik Bonitto. However, it was recovered by Jaguar’s attacking lineman Tyler Shatley.

Lawrence found some success early on, throwing a beautiful 22-yard pass to Evan Engram, who made his way to the end zone during the first quarter. But after that, Jacksonville struggled to at least get the ball through the air.

Lawrence and the Jacksonville offense scored five straight goals after taking a 10-0 lead over Denver early in the game. They only accumulated 103 yards on those runs. Three of the rides ended in Jacksonville territory. Even with success in the early game, Lawrence’s play left a lot to be desired for the rest of the game.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) leaves the field after the NFL football game between Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, October 30, 2022. Denver Broncos won 21-17.  (AP Photo/Ian Walton )

The final interception marked the end of Jacksonville’s victory hopes with 1:36 left in the game, trailing 21-17. A second pick, thrown earlier in the game on the team’s third possession, is part of a two-play capsule that Lawrence wished he had back.

“It’s hard to be the quarterback and have a shot at winning the game and you can’t do it,” Lawrence said of his efforts. “That’s really disappointing and frustrating, and I have to look in the mirror and I have to play better. There’s that and then there’s the goal line interception. There are some plays I really want back, but you don’t get them back at this point.”

During his first INT, Lawrence tried to hit the ball at veteran WR Marvin Jones Jr. which was open in the back of the end zone. But Lawrence eventually missed the target.

“I had Marvin in the back of the end zone. I just threw him too low and the safety made a great move,” said Lawrence, noting that he didn’t think the decision was bad.

“The thing you look back and say is you put it in a place where only your man can get it, and if he catches it, great, touchdown; if not, it’s incomplete. Probably obviously not the best location for it.” the ball there.” “

Those are the kinds of plays that crush a transgression. It’s one of the reasons Jacksonville hasn’t been able to win these close matchups. Lawrence noted that he looks at the band and understands what they are going to do in defense, but he just needs to play cleaner and not make a bad game worse.

The Jaguars had a total of 305 net yards on 65 offensive plays. They were one of three in the red zone, scoring a field goal during a single possession that came to rest on the Denver 19-yard line, along with the touchdown to Travis Etienne and the aforementioned interception.

Denver Broncos linebacker Josey Jewell (47), sercond right, tackles Jacksonville Jaguars who defeated Travis Etienne Jr.  (1) during the NFL football game between Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, October 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)Travis Etienne’s performance is encouraging

The only bright spot from the Jaguars’ attack on Sunday came back from the second year, Etienne. Just six days after the team traded former bell cowback James Robinson to the New York Jets, Etienne eased the stats against Denver, rushing to a career-high 156 yards on 24 attempts.

Etienne’s 156 rushing yards were the most in one game by Jaguars running back since Leonard Fournette rushed 225 yards against the Broncos in 2019.

Etienne’s touchdown came late in the fourth quarter, giving Jacksonville a 17-14 lead.

“I feel like I’m just a competitor, it sucks,” Etienne said. “I feel like when you have an L in the stats it doesn’t matter. Although we did some good things there, we didn’t come out with a W, so that’s why I didn’t do enough to win the title to win.” game.”

Etienne made a total of 24 rushing attempts in his career, the most of any Jacksonville RB so far this season. He ran vigorously and seemed to get away with the game’s most explosive moves, including both teams’ longest scrimmage, a 49-yard rush.

“I feel like I was getting better and better throughout the game just to get into that zone,” Etienne said of his post-game workload, making sure to give credit first to his attacking line leading the way. job in today’s game. “I feel great now. I’m pretty sure I’ll wake up a little bit, but that’s just football.”

Still, the second year back would rather win every day than stats, adding that the team has to keep fighting or everything will fall apart.

“We can’t lose faith. We just have to keep believing in it. Like we watch movie, just like you watch the game. We know we’re doing great things out there. We know we’re so close. As a I’m excited In these matches, we have to get closer because that’s the only way we’re going to make it.”

Dawaune Smoot sees defensive progress, but need for finish remains

The Jaguars’ defense was not without mistakes on Sunday, but apart from three key Denver possessions, they were able to seal off the Broncos’ attack. However, sometimes it only takes three possessions to lock up a team, especially a team like Jacksonville that had a tough attack.

The Broncos forced to punt six of the team’s 11 true drives on Sunday, and the Jacksonville defense appeared to be hitting a groove. They came away with three sacks, including one from Arden Key, 1.5 from Dawaune Smoot and a half sack from first-overall pick outside linebacker Travon Walker.

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker (44) celebrates after a play during an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

Jacksonville also ended its turnover drought, registering an early interception on Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, the first turnover Jacksonville has had since Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Cornerback Tyson Campbell got away with the football, and after four drives, resulting in three punts and a turnover to go along with just 10 total net yards allowed, it looked like Jacksonville was headed for domination.

Still, the team allowed a 98-yard touchdown drive to the Broncos in the third quarter of the game, giving Denver a 14-10 lead at the end.

“We just can’t think of a way to get over that bump, but it’s just those two or three plays that we just miss,” Smoot said after the game on Sunday. “They’re going to go the other way and eventually they’re going to win those plays. We just have to find a way to wrap up those plays and come out on the right side.”

After the 98-yard scoring run through Denver, it looked like the Jaguars defense got back on track and forced three straight kicks.

That wasn’t the case, however, and Jacksonville allowed another TD at a pivotal point in the game with the team leading 17-14. In the end, it became Denver’s game-winning drive, a seven-play 80-yard scoring drive that began with a long 47-yard pass from Wilson to receiver KJ Hamler. The drive ended with a two-yard TD run by Latavius ​​Murray.

Denver Broncos Run Back Latavius ​​Murray (28) jumps over Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Darious Williams (31) during the NFL football game between Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Ian Walton )

The defense is close, but not close enough.

“We come back to work every day, every Wednesday, every Thursday we come to work. It’s war every day. We make sure we do those things so we can win, and we just come up short. That’s all .”

Demetrius Harvey is the Jacksonville Jaguars reporter for the Florida Times-Union. You can follow him on Twitter at @Demetrius82.

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