JACKSONVILLE – Win and move forward.
Think the Jaguars spent Monday celebrating the end of a season-wrecking losing streak?
Think again. A day after winning for the first time in two months, the Jaguars on Monday were already preparing for a prime-time game against another division rival in three days.
“I think more than anything the mental preparation this week is going to be huge,” Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson said Monday.
The Jaguars on Sunday beat the Indianapolis Colts, 6-0 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. They will visit the Tennessee Titans (6-6) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday at 8:20 p.m.
The turnaround did more than limit time to celebrate the end of a seven-game losing streak. It meant a dramatic schedule change, with Head Coach Doug Marrone saying that Monday already is Thursday in terms of preparation.
“My mind’s on Tennessee,” Marrone said when beginning a Monday media availability that typically focuses on the previous day’s game.
Gipson said the mental aspect isn’t the only issue facing the Jaguars this week.
“Obviously, guys are banged up,” Gipson said. “So many guys played through so many injuries just getting through last week. This short turnaround is always tough. That’s why it’s ideal to play these Thursday night games early in the season when your body is very fresh, and you can endure a lot. We just have to push our bodies and go out and be who can be to help this team.”
The Jaguars on Monday did spend a few minutes discussing the previous day, which featured their best defensive performance of the season – and the seventh shutout in the 24-season history of the franchise.
The Jaguars, after allowing 29 points in the first half of a 29-26 loss at Indianapolis last month, became the first team to shut out the Colts with Andrew Luck at quarterback. Luck had thrown at least three touchdown passes in eight consecutive games, during which the Colts averaged 33.1 points a game.
“It’s refreshing,” Gipson said. “After so many close games, after so many ugly games in that time span – and so many games with us not looking like ourselves on the defensive side of the ball – for us to go out there and do what we did against one of the best offensives in the National Football League as of late is a huge moment for us.
“It’s a long time coming. You get that monkey off your back and guys go out and play football.”
The Jaguars limited the Colts to 41 yards rushing on 16 carries. Luck completed 33 of 52 passes for 248 yards, with the Jaguars intercepting him once and sacking him three times.
The Jaguars allowed the Colts seven plays of 20 or more yards in the loss to Indianapolis last month, including six on passes by Luck.
The Colts’ longest play Sunday: a 20-yard pass from Luck to tight end Eric Ebron with 1:03 remaining.
“I just thought it’s what their capable of doing,” Marrone said of the defensive effort Sunday. “There weren’t many mistakes on the defensive side. I thought they were doing a really good job communicating. You could see on film. When they do that, we know the type of players we have – they can play extremely well.”
Marrone called the victory “a credit all to the players.”
“They did a really good job sticking together, and I don’t think it was just defense,” Marrone said. “It was really good effort – maybe not the production you want – but I thought it was good effort across the board. … All three phases, I thought we played extremely hard.”
Players in the post-game locker room Sunday talked extensively of still being motivated for the final four games of the season. Gipson echoed the sentiment Monday.
“The best we can do is play a bunch of spoilers to a bunch of teams who are in the hunt,” Gipson said. “We want to end the season on a high note. We were playing football that wasn’t like us, that wasn’t up to our standard. The only thing we can do to salvage the season is put on what could have been and build on that momentum.
“We want to end the season in the right way. Who says we can’t win five out?”
Said Marrone, “We still have four games left. There’s still a lot of football out there.”