EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Senior writer John Oehser examines Head Coach Doug Pederson's press conference following the Jaguars’ 19-3 victory over the New York Jets in a 2022 Week 16 game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Thursday
- This was a proud head coach. Pederson has made clear his belief and pride in this team throughout the 2022 season, and that belief and pride again was evident late Thursday. The Jaguars went on the road on a Thursday night – something considered very difficult in NFL circles – and beat a team fighting to keep its playoff hopes alive. They also beat a team with one of the NFL's best defenses in windy, wet conditions to win for a third time in 12 days. "We set out two and half weeks ago, we had three games in less than three weeks, and we just had to take them one at a time," Pederson said. "That's what you've seen from this group. There's no quit in them. They stick together. They hang together. They encourage one another. That's what it takes. I'm proud of our guys."
- Short turnaround, big victory. The Jaguars not only won on the road on a short week, they did so after an emotional 40-34 come-from-behind victory over the Dallas Cowboys this past Sunday. "I think it's a start," Pederson said. "It's a mark of a team that's beginning to play good football, meaningful football at the end of the season. We've talked about that a lot, having meaningful games down the stretch. These guys are battling through a lot. They're battling through their own injuries. My hats off to those guys. It's just a sign of our team coming together at the right time."
- Pederson liked a lot about the offense Thursday. The Jaguars scored "only" 19 points Thursday after scoring 36 and 40 in the last two weeks. But the Jaguars turned in one of their best possessions of the season with a 16-play, 96-yard drive late in the first and early in the second quarter – and they produced six drives of at least 40 yards. The Jaguars finished with 365 yards and 19 first downs offense. "Did you see the weather?" Pederson said with a laugh. "That was a challenge. The weather was a challenge, obviously. Listen, that's a good defense. Hats off to our guys, the offensive line. It was going to be one of those days. It was going to be physical. It was going to be tough. We were going to have to run the football because throwing it was going to be hard. We were efficient, I think, in the passing game. We made some plays in the passing game. It's just one of those deals. I'm just really proud of the guys."
- Smart and efficient. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 20 of 31 passes for 229 yards with no touchdowns Thursday. While those numbers didn't match many of Lawrence's recent games, Pederson afterward praised the second-year veteran's presence, patience and poise against a strong defense in difficult weather. "I thought his decision-making was good," Pederson said of Lawrence, who did not throw an interception Thursday. "For the most part, I thought he did a nice job of controlling and managing what we asked him to do. The weather was obviously a challenge with the wind and the rain, but I thought he played tough again, played physical. It was really good to see out of our quarterback."
- Two to go. The Jaguars' victory Thursday moved them to 7-8 for the season, a half game behind the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans. The Jaguars control their postseason destiny and will win the South with victories over the Houston Texans on the road next Sunday and over the Titans in Jacksonville in the Week 18 regular-season finale. But the Titans can clinch the South before that game if they beat the Texans and Dallas Cowboys at home in the next two weeks, and if Jacksonville loses to the Texans in Week 17. "The message is just that we haven't done anything," Pederson said. "We haven't clinched anything. We haven't won anything. We've still got two games left, we've got two division games left. I do want them to enjoy the holidays and enjoy Christmas with their families and friends. It's time to heal and get healthy for this final two game stretch. I also want them to come back with the right frame of mind next week and get ready for a [Texans] team that beat us a couple of months ago."