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Coach Speak: Bengals 24, Jaguars 21

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Photo by James Gilbert / Jacksonville Jaguars

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Senior writer John Oehser examines Head Coach Urban Meyer's postgame press conference following the Jaguars' 24-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in a 2021 Week 4 game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Thursday

1. This was frustrating for Meyer. Really frustrating. This was evident throughout Meyer's post-game press conference in the wake of a fourth consecutive loss to start the season. The Jaguars not only lost a 14-0 halftime lead by allowing 24 second-half points, but the Bengals also scored on all four second-half possessions. They also lost despite rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence not committing a turnover after committing nine in the first three games. "It's devastating, heartbreaking," Meyer said. "Usually, I'm not wrong about stuff like that. I just see a good team in there. I see good guys. I see good hearts. I see guys that work. I told them, 'I'm not wrong. I'm not wrong on that stuff.' This team's going to win some games.'' Later in the press conference, Meyer punched the podium when discussing the Jaguars not winning despite Lawrence not having a giveaway. "It's heartbreaking," he said. "That's a heartbroken locker room. We'll take a few days off and get ready for Tennessee. There are good people in that locker room."

2. DJ Chark Jr.'s injury is serious. Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. sustained what Meyer said is a broken ankle on the third play of the game. "A tough one," Meyer called it. "I don't know the extent. I heard it's broken ankle." Chark, after missing all three preseason games with a hand injury, caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week. "He was starting to play well," Meyer said of Chark. "That's a big one." Meyer said the Jaguars didn't know the extent of an injury sustained by starting guard A.J. Cann, adding that the injury involved the medial collateral ligament.

3. High on Lawrence. Meyer has praised Lawrence throughout the early part of the 2021 season, and he reiterated that praise Thursday after what he called Lawrence's best game to date. Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 17 of 24 passes for 204 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran for his first NFL touchdown – a seven-yard run in the second quarter that gave the Jaguars a 14-0 halftime lead. "I thought Trevor played really well," Meyer said. "I thought it obviously was his best game. He took care of the ball. I thought he played great. He's coming alive. I love everything about that guy."

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4. No doubt. Meyer wasn't effusive on the topic, but he made clear going for a touchdown on 4th-and-goal from the 1 late in the first half was an easy decision. The Jaguars at the time led 14-0. Lawrence with :59 remaining in the first half tried to run over right tackle and was stopped by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. "No doubt," Meyer said of the decision, adding that he liked the Jaguars' situation leading 14-0 at halftime: "I felt like our defense was playing so well. And on offense, we were blocking, [running back] James [Robinson] was running the ball, and we were controlling the line of scrimmage. That's how you win games — take care of the ball and get first downs. I felt really good."

5. Turnover time. The last topic in Meyer's late-night post-game press conference: takeaways – or rather, the lack thereof by the Jaguars' defense. The Jaguars through four games have forced just one turnover, with that coming in a Week 3 loss to Arizona when safety Andrew Wingard intercepted Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. The Jaguars are minus-eight takeaways for the season. "That was an emphasis all the way through," Meyer said. "It's not happening. Turnovers are created by pressure on the quarterback and hats on the ball. The emphasis is there, but it has to happen."

6. "No breaks." Meyer on whether the team just needed a break to snap what is now a 19-game losing streak that dates to September 2020:

“There are no breaks. I mean no disrespect, but you have to make your own. We don’t look at it that way. I’ve said this from Day 1: the core of this team has good players. We’re getting better each week. It’s sickening we couldn’t win that game. I’m not wrong about those guys in that room. We’re going to keep swinging as hard as we possibly can.” Head Coach Urban Meyer

Check out these top action photos from the Jacksonville Jaguars Week 4, Thursday Night Football, matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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