JACKSONVILLE – The task is easily said if not easily done.
The come-from-behind Jaguars on Saturday will play their biggest game of the season – and Head Coach Doug Pederson on Thursday said one of the keys to the game is to not have to do what they have come to do very, very well.
"We'd love to start fast and finish faster," Pederson said as the Jaguars (10-8) prepared to play the Kansas City Chiefs (14-3) in a 2022 AFC Divisional Playoff game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
That means not playing as they have played in recent weeks.
The Jaguars, who overcame a four-game deficit with seven games remaining to win the AFC South, trailed in seven of their last eight victories. They rallied twice in the regular season from 17-point deficits to win before setting a franchise record for largest come-from-behind victory by rallying from a 27-0 second-quarter in a 31-30 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC Wild Card Playoff at TIAA Bank Field Saturday.
"It's good and it isn't," Pederson said. "I don't necessarily want to be behind, but it's good in a way that the guys never quit. Finally, the switch goes on and you start playing football, but it's obviously not the way we want to draw it up. It is a credit to the guys, though, for hanging in there."
The Jaguars trailed the Chiefs 20-0 late in the second quarter in Week 10, then cut the lead to 20-10 before losing 27-17. They have trailed in every game they have played this season except victories over Indianapolis (24-0) and the Chargers (38-10) in Weeks 2 and 3 – and Week 17 against Houston (31-3).
"You always try to go into every game and try to start fast," Pederson said. "It hasn't been that way, probably going back to the Houston game. Games like this, everything on the line, you don't want to get behind, especially against good teams. It's just not a recipe for success."
- Temperatures in Kansas City Saturday are expected to be between 37 and 29 degrees with a chance of snow/rain during the game. "You still have to go play," Pederson said. "You might switch a few things here and there, maybe some plays in your game plan. Other than that, you can't let the weather affect you. It's the same for them as it is for us. I guess the biggest thing would be the ball security, making sure you take care of the football."
- Pederson on Arrowhead: "It's a tough place to play. They're a good football team. The crowd is a great crowd. It's loud. They keep you pressing the envelope and trying to get the snap off from time to time. You're trying to stay out of penalties and things of that nature. It's tough to go in there and play. We understand that. We've prepared that way and we'll see what happens."
- Quarterback Trevor Lawrence practiced limited Thursday for a third consecutive day with a toe injury; he has played the last six games with the injury. Right guard Brandon Scherff (abdomen) and long snapper Ross Matiscik (back) practiced limited for a second consecutive day after missing practice Tuesday; both played the last three games with the issue. Wide receiver Kendric Pryor (shoulder), wide receiver Jamal Agnew (shoulder) and center Luke Fortner (back) all worked limited for a third consecutive day; Pryor was inactive against the Chargers Saturday, with Agnew playing through the issue and Fortner being added to the injury report this week.