The aggression Sunday was real.
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said without question he entered Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers wanting to take advantage of opportunities if situations called for it.
They did, and Marrone followed through.
"I was thinking about it coming in, about being more aggressive," Marrone said shortly after the Jaguars' 39-29 loss to the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
Marrone on Sunday went for two-point conversions following two second-quarter touchdowns – and went for two three times in the game. The Jaguars converted the first attempt, with running back James Robinson following his three-yard touchdown run with a successful run to cut the Chargers' lead to 16-8 midway through the second quarter.
The Jaguars cut the lead to 16-14 shortly thereafter, with quarterback Gardner Minshew II following a nine-yard touchdown pass to Robinson with an incomplete conversion pass to tight end James O'Shaughnessy.
The Jaguars successfully went for two to take a 29-22 lead when Minshew passed to tight end Ben Ellefson following a 28-yard third-quarter touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Conley.
"Anytime a coach puts faith in you like that you want to reward him," Minshew said. "We did at times today and we didn't at times. But anytime a coach puts up that kind of confidence it kind of resonates with the team."
The Jaguars also went for first downs on fourth down four times Sunday, including a 4th-and-1 from the Chargers 29 in the second quarter and a 4th-and-2 from the Jaguars 46 in the third quarter. Defensive end Joey Bosa stopped Robinson for a two-yard loss on the 4th-and-1 play and safety Rayshawn Jenkins stopped Minshew scrambling for a one-yard gain on the 4th-and-2 play.
The Chargers took a 22-21 lead six plays after the Minshew when quarterback Justin Herbert passed 26 yards to tight end Virgil Green.
"I kind of switched up and I wanted to try to do something to give this team a spark, get them going and try to get up by two scores," Marrone said. "We weren't able to execute. I felt good about the play. I felt good about who was handling the play. When it doesn't get run well, it's easy to point to one person.
"Like I told everyone in that locker room: 'That's on all of us.' You've got to take advantage of those situations, the game-changing situations. When you're not able to do that, it's going to be tough."
The Jaguars went for first downs on fourth down twice late in the fourth quarter, converting one to keep the drive alive then turning the ball over on downs on a late incomplete pass from Minshew to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.
Marrone following the game also addressed not only pregame reports that Minshew could have been benched had he struggled Sunday but his own job security in the wake of a six-game losing streak. Of Minshew, Marrone said: "I wasn't thinking about that." Of his job status, he said: "Any time you're losing like this and you're not performing well on Sundays … it can happen. I just come to work and do the best job I can for the coaches and players. I know those questions come. You guys know me. I understand that and this is what this game is. You work as hard as you possibly can. At the end of the day, you've got to hold your head up high knowing you did everything you possibly could to try to win games and at the same time you did the best for the coaches and the players."
Robinson rushed for a season-high 119 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries Sunday. The yards and attempts were season-highs for the undrafted free agent, who now has 481 yards and four touchdowns on 107 carries this season. Robinson also caught a nine-yard touchdown pass Sunday. "He battled his tail off," Minshew said. "He really carried the load today. He caught the ball, ran the ball. I couldn't be more proud of how hard he's playing and working. I expect him to continue to do that and get better and better."
The Jaguars sustained several injuries Sunday, with Dakota Allen – playing for injured starter Myles Jack – not returning after a first-quarter ankle injury and cornerback Sidney Jones IV leaving with a back injury after being cleared following examination for a concussion. Jaguars running back Devine Ozigbo sustained a fourth-quarter hamstring injury and wide receiver Dede Westbrook sustained a what appeared to be a serious knee injury on a third-quarter kickoff return. "It seems to be pretty significant," Marrone said of Westbrook's injury.
Chark Jr. caught a season-low one pass for 26 yards Sunday and was targeted seven times. Chark, a Pro Bowl selection last season, has 26 receptions for 291 yards and three touchdowns while playing six of the first seven games this season. "We need to make an effort to get him the ball, because we know how dynamic he can be," Minshew said. "I know he's frustrated. He just wants to help the team win. We have to give him the opportunity to do that. Whatever we have to do – the bye week will be a good opportunity to take a look at that and get him back to the Pro Bowl level he really is."