INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Senior writer John Oehser examines Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson's postgame press conference following a 34-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday
1.Pederson remains resolved – and confident. The Jaguars' loss Sunday was their third in as many games following a two-game winning streak that had them leading the AFC South at 2-1. The Jaguars since then have lost to the Philadelphia Eagles (29-21), Houston Texans (13-6) and the Colts. As has been the case with all four losses this season, Sunday's loss was decided in the final minute – with Colts quarterback Matt Ryan passing 32 yards to rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce for the winning touchdown with :17 remaining in the fourth quarter. The play capped an 11-play, 66-yard drive and marked the fifth consecutive drive on which the Colts scored. "This is one of the things we talk about a lot, is the finish," Pederson said. "Credit them. Our guys battled for 60 minutes. We just got to find a time, a place, a play somewhere that we can win these games. It's obviously an opportunity to do that, and our guys will be better. We'll be better for it as we go. Great opportunities to teach." Added Pederson, "We keep talking about it's about us, and focusing on our jobs and what we do, players and coaches. We're all in this thing together. We're going to learn from it and we're going to fix it. One thing I like about this team is there is no quit in these guys. They battle for 60 minutes. They don't shut it down at all. They play hard. They play fast. We're going to end up – whenever that is, whether it's through time or what – we're going to come out ahead on most of these as we go."
2.Big change. The Jaguars had their best defensive day of the season in Week 2, shutting out the Colts – 24-0 – and registering a season-high five sacks and three interceptions. The Jaguars did not register a sack Sunday and finished without a takeaway for a second consecutive game. "Their game plan today obviously was not to huddle as much and try to play a little tempo and get the ball out quickly – try to eliminate some of your pass rush that way," Pederson said of the Colts. "They did a good job with that."
3.Encouraging stuff. The Jaguars' loss Sunday marked the fourth time this season the Jaguars had possession late with a chance to take the lead. The difference Sunday was they did take that lead – and did so with one of their more impressive drives of the season: 18 plays, 84 yards, 10:03. Lawrence completed five of five passes for 33 yards on the drive, capping it with a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Christian Kirk that gave the Jaguars a 27-26 lead with 2:44 remaining. "It was really good to see us go down and get that touchdown for the go-ahead score there," Pederson said. "I put a lot on Trevor, and he made some big throws, and [it was] just good to see. Something we can learn from with him and keep building. Just continue to work at it, but that was good to see."
4.ETN improving by the week. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. has emerged in the last two games as perhaps the Jaguars' most explosive offensive skill players. The second-year veteran rushed for 71 yards on seven carries in a Week 5 loss to Houston. He followed that Sunday with 86 yards on 10 carries and two receptions for 20 yard in his first NFL start. "I thought Travis did a really nice job for us today – some nice explosive runs in there," Pederson said. "He's getting better. He's getting better within the offense and what we're asking him to do. I thought the run game was good. We've just got to find a way to finish."
5.Learn from it. The Colts, after struggling offensively through the first five games, hurt the Jaguars Sunday with a no-huddle scheme and crossing routes to wide receivers – particularly Michael Pittman, who caught 13 passes for 134 yards. Running back Deon Jackson also caught 10 passes for 79 yards, with Ryan completing 42 of 58 passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns. "That's one thing about this league is until you stop something, you're going to continue to see it," Pederson said. "We've got to evaluate the tape obviously, making sure we're doing the right things as coaches to put our players in position to win those battles. But, yeah, it's something we'll look at [Sunday night] on the way home."