By the end, the beginning was impossible to remember.
And with reason:
The Jaguars may have started very well on Sunday afternoon, and early on, they absolutely showed fight. A lot of it. For 40 minutes, there was hope and enthusiasm and a very real chance for what would have felt pretty close to season-turning victory.
When it all goes bad as quickly as it did, you don’t remember the beginning – or the positives.
When it all goes bad as quickly as it did, you get frustration in the post-game locker room, and after the Jaguars’ 41-3 loss to the Chicago Bears at EverBank Field, that’s just what you got from three-time Pro Bowl running back
“It is tough,” Jones-Drew said.
That’s how Jones-Drew started. He then talked about how turnovers hurt Sunday, and how the team has to execute better. He basically said all of the things Jaguars players and coaches have been saying the last few weeks – the things fans have long since wearied of hearing.
Then, a few questions into the post-game interview, Jones-Drew opened up a bit.
“It is tough because it has been going on for five years,” Jones-Drew said. “I’m just tired of losing. I’m tired of not being able to sleep at night and not being able to play with your kids after losses. It is the same routine over and over again.”
He then spoke for the entire locker room when he said, “It is embarrassing to lose like this.”
Elsewhere around the Jaguars locker room, there were variations on the theme – not as pointed or as poignant as Jones-Drew, perhaps, but saying much the same thing.
“Obviously, it sucks,” Jaguars tight end
“It is what it is. It’s the NFL. It happens. We’ll watch some film, get to the bye week and assess where we need to be. We’ll come back in the second half ready to roll.”
That was the theme throughout the locker room. Players talked of frustration, and about getting things fixed. They talked about the bye coming at a good time, and they talked of coming back after the bye and going back to work.
“I told the team that I wish I knew what I could say to them,” Mularkey said, adding that the team played very well for two and a half quarters. “To let it escalate out of control like it did is unfortunate. It is part of the process to learn how to do things here.
“Unfortunately, it’s a growing pain that we have to take and use as a positive somehow.”
How to do that? Well, that’s the task facing the Jaguars in the coming days, and really, the coming weeks and months. How to take what has happened and make it a positive?
We won’t sugarcoat it here and pretend like that’s an easy task, and at the same time, we won’t spend an editorial trying to spin what has happened in the first three home games as positive. The Jaguars have lost those games by a combined 75 points.
That wasn’t what this fan base wanted. This wasn’t what this team thought the first three home games would be, either, and 1-4 sure wasn’t what this team expected from September and early October.
Fans are frustrated, disappointed and angry, and that’s exactly what they should be.
Know this: the players and coaches are, too, but while fans will vent and stew, that’s not what the coaches and players will do. It’s the job of the coaches and players to find something to build on, and as bad as things went on Sunday, finding positives wasn’t impossible. You just have to look early.
That’s what happens when things explode in the fourth quarter and you throw two interceptions for touchdowns in the second half. It makes 40 minutes of good seem insignificant. The offensive line early played well and cornerback
The problem? Well, the problem is obvious.
And you know what? The players don’t, either.
“We’re the ones playing the game,” Jaguars cornerback
No, they’re not, not like they wanted to, and not like they thought they would. Now, they have the bye week, and that means two weeks to figure out how to turn what they want to do and thought they would do into post-games that aren’t so full of frustration.