JACKSONVLLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell's press conference following a 26-11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in a 2021 Week 18 game at TIAA Bank Field Sunday
1. A day for pride. The Jaguars' victory Sunday was as decisive as it was surprising, with the Jaguars snapping an eight-game losing streak against a team that needed to win to qualify for the AFC playoffs. Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell talked extensively afterward of being proud of a Jaguars team that turned in one of the biggest upsets in franchise history just a week after losing 50-10 to the New England Patriots. "We're playing a divisional opponent that had a chance to get in the playoffs," Bevell said. "We want to be able to knock them out and have a sweet taste for us and a rough taste for them. I thought the guys responded. I told them just a few minutes ago that I was inspired. It's an inspiring game to see guys go out and play as hard as they did with as much heart, with as much spirit, with as much passion, and it really showed, and I couldn't be happier for all those guys."
2. Happy for the quarterback. Sunday not only marked the Jaguars' most complete game of the season, but it also perhaps marked rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's best game of the season. Lawrence completed 23 of 32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, completing his first 10 passes and 14 of his first 15. Lawrence was sacked just once. "Really happy for him because he really did stay dialed in this whole season," said Bevell, the Jaguars' offensive coordinator for the first 13 games of the season. "Tough season for everybody involved, but the way he did and the way everybody responded today, I couldn't be happier."
3. A day for celebration. Sunday's Jaguars post-game was giddy, and why not? They entered the game on an eight-game losing streak and had led just twice during that span. They also spent the season dealing with a slew of off-field issues leading to and resulting in the mid-December departure of former Head Coach Urban Meyer. So, was there celebrating afterward? Absolutely, Bevell said. "If you walk down the hallway, I think you can hear it," Bevell said. "The guys were ecstatic. They're all excited. They can go play a few more games, just because of what happened today. Anytime you win, anytime you play well, it gives you extra confidence, gives you that boost. We just were never able to get that momentum going this year, but again, just hats off to those guys today for the effort, for the passion, for everything that they showed and how hard they played against a really good football team that had a chance to get in the playoffs."
4. A day for a bonu$. Jaguars wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. earned a $500,000 bonus with his fourth reception of the game, a reception that gave him 70 for the season. Lawrence threw three times to Jones for 45 yards on the game's first drive, then threw the bonus completion – a six-yarder – to Jones on the first play of the Jaguars' first series. Did Bevell know about the bonus before the game? "We did want to target Marv, wanted to get him some opportunities," Bevell said. "When you get him going early in the game, then he can get hot. … Defense can dictate against it, but today it worked out well and we were able to get him those shots."
5. A day for an opportunity. With a 2-14 record entering the game, it was easy to assume the Jaguars might lack motivation Sunday. Bevell didn't see it that way. Bevell said he talked to players throughout the week about taking advantage of an opportunity to play. "We all love this game, and you think back to all the training that you go through in the offseason to be able to get to this point and you get 17 opportunities to play a game," he said. "That's one good reason to go out." Bevell added, "I can't even talk enough about how much these guys work, how hard it is and all the time that they put in and the time that people don't see. They see this out here on the field, the 17 games that they get to play, but all the hard work that they put in almost year-round nowadays to get themselves out there, and it's just -- that's something to play for. I think it just showed today, like you walk down the hall, go listen to what's going on in that locker room, you'll see that it was important to them."