JACKSONVILLE – Once again, Gus Bradley expects resilience.
The Jaguars' head coach said as much Monday – a day after a fifth consecutive loss dropped the team to 2-8 and assured the franchise a ninth consecutive non-winning season.
Bradley said while players were disappointed and frustrated in the wake of a road loss at Detroit, he has no doubt how they will respond.
He has seen it before, and what he has seen gives him confidence.
"They've shown it before," Bradley said Monday, a day after the Jaguars' 26-19 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. "These things that are showing up – they feel those things, too. But they'll come to work Wednesday.
"We've had good weeks of practice. When you watch this team go through a couple of losses like we have, maybe people who aren't around them wonder how they're going to show up."
Bradley said effort is not an issue with this team.
"It's more making some decisions – some critical decisions at the right time," he said.
The Jaguars, after back-to-back one-sided losses to Oakland and Tennessee, have lost three consecutive games against contending teams with winning records. They have lost those three games by five, three and seven points despite outgaining their opponent in each game.
The Jaguars on Sunday held a lead for the first time since a Week 6 victory over Chicago, a span of four games. They outgained the Lions, 285-277, and held Detroit to 14 yards rushing on 21 carries while allowing the Lions just one offensive touchdown.
But the Lions scored on a punt return of 55 yards in the first half and safety Rafael Bush returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown 58 seconds into the second half.
Bush's touchdown marked the second time in as many games an interception thrown by Jaguars quarterback Bortles has been returned for a touchdown. Each touchdown gave the Jaguars' opponent a seven-point lead, and the final margin was seven points or less in both games.
Bortles also threw a late-game interception and running back Chris Ivory lost a second-quarter fumble. The Jaguars on Sunday forced two takeaways – their first forced turnovers since a Week 4 victory in London – but their turnover ratio of minus-15 is the worst in the NFL.
"Turnovers," Bradley said. "That's the common denominator that keeps popping up. Is it penalties? We knocked that down from double digits to single digits. I know we had that conversation before. It is penalties. It is penalties. Not all the time. You can be high in penalties and still win games and you can be low in penalties and still lose games. Turnovers are the big factor."
Bradley said the other factor in the 2-8 record is simple.
"We're not making enough plays at critical times," he said. "I think you analyze every game and you see it."
Bradley reiterated his thoughts from Sunday that all three phases of the team were responsible for the loss. He also said while the inability to finish with a winning record is disappointing he doesn't expect it to be a factor in day-to-day preparation this week.
The Jaguars play the Buffalo Bills (5-5) at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York.
"Obviously, you have objectives," Bradley said. "You have certain goals and you write them down and put them away and then you go to work. I think for us we'll evaluate it at the very end and see what took place. Now, our focus is on getting this team healthy, addressing the issues we had in the game and getting ready for Buffalo."