DETROIT, Michigan – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Jaguars' 26-19 loss to the Detroit Lions Sunday – with an emphasis on the emotional day of Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith
"HE MEANS THE WORLD TO US"
The emotions were real and lasting.
Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith sat facing his locker for 10-to-15 minutes in the wake of Sunday's loss to the Detroit Lions, head down and motionless.
His teammate, middle linebacker Paul Poslusnzy, sat at his side, arm around his teammate.
"It shows his character and the type of man he is that he was even able to be at the game," Posluszny said moments later.
Smith, the Jaguars' emotional leader, had flown to Detroit Saturday night after attending the funeral of his brother. Brian Moore had died in a shooting in Valdosta, Georgia, the previous Sunday.
Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon also played Sunday following a death in his family.
"I give him [Smith] and T.J. credit," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said. "Both of those guys are fighting through some things."
Smith, who gave an emotional pre-game speech Sunday that many Jaguars players credited with the spirited effort the team showed against the Lions, did not talk to the media after the loss. Posluszny spoke and talked of the pride he felt in how his friend had played in "extremely tough circumstances."
"It says the world about him," Posluszny said. "It speaks a lot about how strong a person Telvin is. I think the world of him. He's such a great person. It's two different teams when he's here and when he's not here. You can feel that in the locker room and on the practice field. He has that type of presence for us and for the Jaguars."
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson said Smith's message was about playing hard and giving 100 percent effort, and that every game could be a player's last opportunity. Jackson was asked if he had ever heard a pregame speech so emotional. He said he had not.
"He does his job," Jackson said of Smith. "We all come out here and we have jobs to do. That's the hard part about this business – whatever's going on outside, whatever feelings you have going on, you have to leave it all behind and play hard-nosed football for 60 minutes. He did that today.
"We wanted to get that win for him, but things just didn't go our way. We're going to keep working. He's a tough kid, so he's going to be alriight."
Posluszny said he attended the funeral with Smith just to "be there and just to listen."
"Because of how strong a person he is, when you see him going through a tough time, you know it's not just tough; it's really, really tough," Posluszny said. "Everybody feels for him because you want nothing but the best for him."
The Jaguars' defense turned in one of its best performances of the season for three quarters Sunday, but Posluszny said it wasn't enough. That was because the defense failed to stop the Lions on a seven-minute, 57-second drive that took 15 plays and covered 69 yards. The drive ended with a 43-yard field goal by kicker Matt Prater that gave the Lions a seven-point lead with 22 seconds remaining. "That's unacceptable on our part," Posluszny said. "It felt like defensively we played well all game, but at the key time in the fourth quarter we have to find a way to get off the field and get the ball back to our offense. That's not the way we want to finish a game."
Wide receiver Marqise Lee continued to emerge as perhaps the Jaguars' best offensive player Sunday, catching four passes for 52 yards and catching his first touchdown of the season. Lee's 29-yard reception down the left sideline late in the third quarter was a play of remarkable athleticism, and his three-yard touchdown reception two plays later showed similar body control and awareness. "He's piling up some good games for us," Bradley said. "He's been a warrior for us. He battles. He's playing extremely well."
"The game's four quarters. There are plays throughout that game that were going to look at and wish we had back. We all just need to take a look at it, because there are plays throughout that need to get corrected."
"I told them in there, 'I know we have the right guys in this room.' If you ask me how do I know, I know because they're always fighting. They fight back. They fight every day. These guys are hurting. It's a tough locker room right now, but there's not a doubt in my mind this group will bounce back this week."