Typically, Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin's best press conferences are those the day after a tough loss. Today's was among his top five.
"There are two ways to play: You get pressure or you cover. I don't think either one of our versions was very good," Coughlin said of his pass-rush and his pass-defense in Sunday's 39-36 loss in Baltimore.
It is one of the most bitter losses in Jaguars history, largely because the Jaguars held leads of 17-0 at the end of the first quarter, 23-7 at halftime, and 36-32 with 1:42 to play and the Ravens 75 yards away from the Jaguars end zone.
"That should've been an extremely tough job to contend with at that point in time," Coughlin said.
However, Ravens quarterback Tony Banks needed less than a minute to move his team to the winning score, which would come on a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Shannon Sharpe, who had eluded linebacker Kevin Hardy's coverage.
It "gives me a very bad feeling today in the pit of my stomach," Coughlin said of the loss.
To a man, his players said the same. Feeling the worst had to be young running backs Chris Howard and Stacey Mack, whose fumbles at the Jaguars 14 and 12-yard lines provided the opportunities the Ravens needed to overcome the Jaguars' quick start.
"They understood the role," Coughlin said of Howard and Mack, who were replacing Fred Taylor in the starting lineup. "They knew we couldn't turn it over and they did turn it over. There's no excuse for it. We know how to win around here, and that's not how you win."
Asked if he wanted his players to wrestle with the hurt of the defeat, Coughlin said, "You bet I do. You should win the ones you should win. You're ahead 23-7; you should win."
Coughlin said one of his most major concerns is his defense's lack of a pass-rush. He even agreed with a reporter who observed that the Jaguars are not blitzing as much as they did a year ago.
"It's not as much, and when it is … we have to address that. Our pressure game isn't what it's supposed to be. We have to look at that," he said, then adding: "It's very difficult having your quote, unquote pass-rusher on the sideline."
Coughlin was referring to defensive end Tony Brackens, who took himself out of the game with a slight knee sprain during the Ravens' game-winning drive.
"The positives are hard to think about right now. That was a tough one to swallow. We had it won and gave it away," quarterback Mark Brunell said.
It marked the first time the Jaguars had lost to a team other than Tennessee since Jan. 10, 1999, when the Jaguars were beaten by the Jets in the playoffs.
"Should I feel good about that? It wasn't Tennessee, at least," Brunell semi-joked.
"We put some numbers up, but what does it matter if you can't win the football game? You don't want to (throw 50 passes), but you understand that, over the course of the season, there are games you're going to have to," Brunell added. "They beat us. They made the plays they had to make to win."
Offensive tackle Tony Boselli said, "We'd rather grind it out," referring to a running game that was nearly non-existent. "We gave them 14 points offensively. If we don't do that, we win the game."
The Ravens also scored a field goal off a Brunell interception.
Meanwhile, Taylor did not provide any strong signals of hope that he's on the verge of returning to action. Of course, the Jaguars open their home season this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I would like to play, but if I'm not ready to play, I won't play," he said, when asked if he'll be ready for the Monday Night Football clash with the Colts on Sept. 25.
"I'm going to try some other things this week; some cutting," he said of his sprained left knee. "I'm going to try to go this week and see how it feels."