INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – This was impressive.
It felt right and good, and much of the fourth quarter felt like the making of a memorable moment for quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars' offense.
That wasn't enough in a 34-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday. And there were no smiles in the postgame locker room. But there were acknowledgments that a go-ahead drive was perhaps a key moment in the development of a young quarterback – and a young offense.
"That's what we needed," running back Travis Etienne said.
The Jaguars' offense, which had failed in three previous games this season with late chances to take the lead, drove 84 yards in 18 plays in the fourth quarter Sunday. They took possession with 12:47 remaining, trailing 26-21.
When quarterback Trevor Lawrence passed four yards for a go-ahead touchdown to wide receiver Christian Kirk, the Jaguars led 27-26 with 2:44 remaining.
"It was really good to see us go down and get that touchdown, the go-ahead score there," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "I put a lot on Trevor, and he made some big throws, and just good to see. Something we can learn from with him and keep building.
"Just continue to work at it, but that was good to see."
Lawrence completed five of five passes for 33 yards on the drive and converted an early 3rd-and-13 with an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Zay Jones. The Colts drove 66 yards on 11 plays on the ensuing possession, with quarterback Matt Ryan's 32-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce giving the Colts the final margin of victory with :17 remaining.
"A bunch of guys on the defense came up to me and were apologizing," said Lawrence, who completed 20 of 22 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown Sunday with no interceptions and two rushing touchdowns. "I was like, 'Man, there has been plenty of times where I wasn't able to get it done and you guys put me in a position to go win the game.' We're a team.
"That's the beautiful thing about this game, is that it's a team game and you got to have everybody. Whoever plays the better, compete game wins the game. That's the thing. I really believe in the guys we have and love our team, and just we fought to the very last second. Didn't go our way today, but I am really confident in who we have and how we'll responsibility."
The Jaguars produced eight first downs on the drive, three times converting third downs and converting 4th-and-1 from the Colts 42 with a two-yard sneak by Lawrence.
"We have to do what's required," Etienne said. "At that time in order to win the game, we had to score a touchdown. That's what we did and as professionals, we have to expect that from ourselves. If we don't expect that, who will? We expected that, we did it and we have to continue to find ways to get better."
Said Kirk, "That's the offense we are. We've shown it early. We have moments where we can put 14- and 15-play drives together. Doing that in the NFL is hard. It takes a lot of guts. It takes hard work and physicality and toughness. To go down and finish is big.
"If there was one bright spot from the game, that's definitely one of them."
Etienne rushed for a career-high 81 yards on 10 carries Sunday. He did so in his first NFL start, which he learned he was making as the team walked through the tunnel shortly before the game. "I actually didn't know until we were walking out," Etienne said. "Coach said, 'You know you're up right?' I was like, 'Oh [expletive].' But I feel like that's what you expect as a player, as a competitor. We have great backs here, but obviously just being a competitor, you go out and you want to put the work in each and every week to show you are the guy. It's on me to be ready at all times."
Kirk: "Our standard doesn't fall. We've got the guys to make sure that doesn't happen. A lot of us were brought here to change the culture and make sure we don't hang our heads and let this carry over. We start fresh next week."
Jaguars cornerback Shaq Griffin: "A lot of our mistakes came from mental errors and penalties that we caused on ourselves. We had multiple times to get off the field and we didn't. That's the part we just can't have."