JACKSONVILLE – A day later, Gus Bradley found a few things to like.
That didn't mean the Jaguars' head coach changed his overall assessment of a turnover-plagued loss to the Chiefs Sunday. He reiterated on Monday what he had said Sunday – that the Jaguars didn't go to Kansas City to "collect positives."
But Bradley said he did like the team's effort, particularly compared to a one-sided loss to the Titans in Nashville, Tennessee, 10 days before.
"The team did not flinch," Bradley said after the Jaguars – now 2-6 – lost to the Chiefs, 19-14, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
That was particularly true defensively.
The Jaguars' defense on Sunday allowed just 221 yards and 10 first downs, with four of the Chiefs' five scoring drives covering 25, five, five and 23 yards. The defense held Kansas City to 1 of 14 on third downs and twice held the Chiefs to field goals after Jaguars turnovers in Jaguars territory.
The defense also held the Chiefs to a field goal after a 36-yard punt return gave Kansas City possession at the Jaguars 30.
The Jaguars, after trailing 10-0 and 19-7, rallied to within five points with a fourth-quarter touchdown, then took possession with a chance to win with 3:07 remaining.
"I thought the defense may have played their best game overall," Bradley said. "They played very well and kept us in the game to where were had chances at the end."
Bradley said he was particularly impressed how the defense responded after Ivory's lost fumble, forcing a punt after three plays. The offense followed that with a 61-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Bortles to running back T.J. Yeldon.
"They went out there and I think they played with even more energy" after the Ivory fumble, Bradley said. "All of those things are great signs – all of them. We're not sitting here talking about a team saying, 'This is two games in a row now [with bad losses] …' I give them all sorts of credit for that. The character that we talk about … we challenged them and it showed up."
Bradley also said the offensive performance was cause for optimism. In Nathaniel Hackett's first game as offensive coordinator, the Jaguars produced 449 total yards. That included a season-high 205 yards rushing on 32 carries.
"We got the run game going, and the play pass was a little better," Bradley said. "We didn't execute nearly as well as we'd like, but we saw some good things. But we're not after good. We're after great. We need better. I think these guys all need to look in the mirror and say, 'What can I do rather than looking at each unit?'
"If we get a team that takes personal responsibility and says, 'These little things are showing up,' then I think there are players in that room who can play at a high, consistent level where we can do some really good things. We have to learn to do that.
"Do I have any doubt that this team can do this? I have no doubt. We have a lot of work to do, but they feel the same way."
Bradley said he remains confident the team can "get hot."
"I understand we have to take care of this game and we have to win one to get hot," Bradley said. "I understand that. But I just think this team can get on a roll."
Bradley said while the team remains frustrated in the wake of a third consecutive loss he didn't sense any division within the locker room.
"It was hard Sunday," Bradley said, adding of his post-game press conference in Kansas City. "There was a little anger. That part was hard. There was anger for maybe the things that have happened, but I think today you kind of get out of it and hope you have courage for the things that could happen and you attack it that way.
"You feel bad for the players, the fans, this organization because what a great win that would have been: a hostile environment, on the road, maybe people were counting you out. For this team to show the character to come back and get a win would have been pretty cool. There's frustration with that. There's frustration with our team, but never where the team's fragmenting. That's not this team."