JACKSONVILLE – A day later, they looked for good amid the frustration.
The Jaguars didn't find it from the result of a strange, disappointing road loss to the New York Jets on Sunday. But players on Monday said perhaps a long-term positive could emerge.
The Jaguars rallied from a 10-point deficit.
They forced overtime in a game that early in the fourth quarter seemed lost.
That wasn't nearly as good as winning, but linebacker Myles Jack said it could bode well for the rest of the season.
"That was the biggest thing I took from the game, was how we fought back," Jack said Monday, a day after the Jaguars' 23-20 overtime loss at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. "We came together as a defense and locked in. It was night and day from then on. We started fighting, battling back and battling back – and ended up back in the game.
"That's definitely the big thing I took from the game."
The loss cost the Jaguars (3-13 last season) sole possession of first place in the AFC South. They are now 2-2, tied with the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. All three teams are 1-1 in the division, with the Jaguars having beaten the Texans (29-7), the Texans having beaten the Titans (57-14) and the Titans having beaten the Jaguars (37-16).
"We're absolutely making progress," middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "You can feel the attitude of the team, the feel of the team. We're definitely heading in the right direction. Now, we want to be better. We want to win more, and play at a higher level. That will continually be our goal."
The Jaguars will visit the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) at Heinz Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
"Tomorrow's Pittsburgh," Jack said, adding, "Two-and-two is still good. It's not where we wanted to be. I think we're right where we need to be and we can definitely take off. I think we're at a turning point in the season where we can take off and let it motivate or if we don't step up to the challenge … but I definitely believe we will.
"Pittsburgh's obviously very talented and we know what they bring to the table. To go in there and get a win there that would be very big for the confidence of this team."
Jaguars wide receiver Arrelious Benn, whose fourth-quarter holding penalty negated a potential go-head touchdown by rookie running back Leonard Fournette, on Monday called Sunday "the craziest game I've ever played in my career."
"It was just a see-saw type of a battle," Benn said. "There were a lot of things you question: 'Why were those calls made – not just the holding call I had. But it shouldn't come down to that. We just have to keep going, and that's that."
The Jaguars, after rallying from a 20-10 fourth-quarter deficit to tie it 20-20 with Jason Myers' 22-yard field goal with :46 remaining in regulation, drove to their 46 on their first overtime possession and the Jets' 43 on their second. They missed a chance to move into field-goal range on the second possession when wide receiver Marqise Lee dropped a third-down pass from quarterback Blake Bortles.
Lee later in overtime mishandled a 70-yard punt by Lachlan Edwards, forcing the Jaguars to start a drive at their 3. When the Jaguars were forced to punt on that possession, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Posluszny – the first such penalty of his career – gave the Jets a first down at the Jaguars 25 and led to Chandler Catanzaro's 41-yard game-winning field goal.
"That tears you up, because you feel like this is one you should have had," Posluszny said. "It was mistakes we made that cost us the game."
Around the Jaguars' locker room Monday:
*Posluszny reiterated what he said Sunday regarding his overtime unsportsmanlike conduct penalty – that while he believed he was hit illegally by Jets rookie Dylan Donahue, he shouldn't have reacted by yelling at Donahue. Posluszny was called for "taunting" Donahue. "I'm interested to see what the coaches say – illegal or not illegal," Posluszny said. "But either way, it's my fault for reacting the way that I did. I hurt the team. I have to handle my emotions better. …. I did something that hurt the team, and that can't happen." …
*The Jaguars allowed 256 yards rushing and 8.0 yards a carry Sunday. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said afterward much of the issue came from defenders getting out of gaps in the Jaguars' gap-control defense, and therefore allowing multiple long, gashing runs. Of the Jets' 256 rushing yards, 177 came on three runs – 75- and 33-yarders by Bilal Powell and a 69-yard run by Elijah McGuire. "It's just gap accountability, making sure we have all of our guys at the right spot at the right time," Posluszny said. …