NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Jaguars' 36-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium Thursday – with an eye on HC Gus Bradley's reaction afterward
"IT WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH"
Gus Bradley put it succinctly.
"There's not a lot to be said," Bradley said in the wake of a 36-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium Thursday.
Bradley, in his fourth season as the Jaguars' head coach, talked of the team playing with anxiety, and he answered questions about his job security. He searched for answers and didn't find many.
"Did we play some anxiety?" Bradley said. "I can say I felt like maybe we pressed too much, but some of the plays that weren't being made had nothing to do with anxiety. I don't know if it's focus … we have a high standard and didn't meet that standard.
"It wasn't good enough. Obviously."
The Jaguars trailed 3-0 after a quarter, then trailed 27-0 after a second quarter dominated by the Titans. Tennessee outgained Jacksonville 354-60 in the first half.
"My talk at halftime was to rally together and come out and show your spirit," Bradley said. "When you're talking like that you know you didn't play with great effort. It's challenging. It was more just focus and making the plays you're capable of making."
The Titans turned their first-quarter lead into a 17-0 lead with two touchdowns in the first five minutes of the second quarter. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota passed 36 yards to wide receiver Kendall Wright with 14:53 remaining in the second quarter – and rookie running back Derrick Henry scored on a six-yard run with 10:36 remaining in the second quarter.
"We didn't respond very well," Bradley said. "We talk about, 'Quickly recover,' but we just didn't get into a rhythm offensively or defensively. I can't deny that after that we looked like we got punched in the mouth. We didn't adjust real well.
"All of us take responsibility. There were some coaches' things. There were some players' things. I think we all need to take responsibility. There should not be a lot of blame game. I think we all need to look at ourselves and see what we can do."
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles completed 33 of 54 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions on Thursday, but he completed just eight of 16 passes for 64 yards and no touchdowns in the first half. It was the second consecutive game in which Bortles had less than 75 yards passing at halftime. "I'm frustrated for sure," Bortles said. "Confidence isn't an issue. I believe in myself and this team 100 percent. It's a broken record. It's a lack of execution."
Thursday's loss came three days after Jaguars Owner Shad Khan met with players and coaches at EverBank Field. Bradley said the meeting was positive, but added "It's a results league. It's the NFL. We all know. Everybody in that locker room knows we have to be successful. It's how are they going about doing it? I know they care for each other. I know they care for what's taking place here. Obviously, when the owner comes, in it hits home. It's very important. Message sent, message received. So what happened [Thursday] … I don't know. I don't know if they played tight. It sure seemed like it, but I'm not putting it solely on that. It's a combination of things."
"There are always solutions. This period right here, it happened and we have to take a hard look at it. It's not something we're going to brush over. It's not something where we're going to talk about as a team and move on quickly. I think there's some soul-searching. We need to find out, 'What's the issue?' It's a high-character room. We're just not playing the way we're capable of playing.''
"It's very surprising and very frustrating, too. Coming into this year nobody saw this coming. We thought we would be a high-powered offense and no one would be able to stop us. The most frustrating thing is we don't know what's going on. There are no answers for us. The most frustrating thing is not having the answers."
--Jaguars WR Allen Hurns