JACKSONVILLE – This one could matter moving forward.
Winning a game this past Sunday was important for the young and improving Jaguars. The feeling they got was good – and the circumstances mattered, too.
As Head Coach Doug Pederson sees it, the feeling could be a foundation.
"It's good for the whole team to be able to finish the game," Pederson said Monday, a day after the Jaguars rallied in dramatic fashion for a 28-27 victory over the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens at TIAA Bank Field.
"We talk about it all the time, but learning how to finish – learning how to win a game – goes a long way for everybody's confidence."
The Jaguars (4-7) through 10 games this season lost six games by a score or less. They had possession in five of those losses in the final minutes with a chance to take the lead, and they had lost five games in which they had led or been tied in the fourth quarter.
"It's a strange year for us," Pederson said. "You look at a lot of different things and you're thinking, 'This should be different.' But you know what? I'm just amazed by the guys. Regardless of what happens, the outcome, they're either happy or they're mad, but they learn to put it behind them and get focused on the next challenge.
"That's what I've seen. That's what's encouraging and as we move forward. Then a win like we did [Sunday] and it only enhances the process."
Pederson on Monday discussed extensively the positives of such a victory, emphasizing the poise shown with the lead changing seven times – four times in the second half and three times in the fourth quarter.
"It's a step in the right direction," Pederson said. "Your team kind of feeds off the coaches, too. If there's panic on the sidelines from us, the players are going to feel that and understand that. That's one of the things I've been impressed with about our staff. In moments of what seems like chaos on the field, there's a lot of calm.
"I think the players feel that and we kind of coach through that."
Pederson, too, on Monday discussed beating a contending, established franchise such as the Ravens in a late-season game. Baltimore in 14 seasons under Head Coach John Harbaugh has had two losing seasons with nine postseason appearances and a Super Bowl title following the 2012 season.
"It's one of the things we talked to our team a little about this past week – the culture that Coach Harbaugh has established there for so many years, and how they have built that team," Pederson said. "There's a true identity with that team. They know exactly who they are. We're trying to get all that established here and learned.
"That's a well-coached team, a disciplined group. That's the type of game … chances are they pull that game out and win that game. Looking at Baltimore and what Coach Harbaugh has established there is kind of a model from a culture standpoint for what we're trying to get done here."
Pederson, too, said a game such as Sunday's gives a feeling that a solid core is being established.
"You've got the right leadership," he said. "You've got the right guys. You've got the right coaches. You have a lot of support within the organization. That can set you on a path that you hope leads to more of those."
- Pederson on Monday lauded the Jaguars' offensive line playing on Sunday against what he called a strong Ravens defensive front. The Jaguars rushed for a season-low 38 yards on 20 carries with quarterback Trevor Lawrence being sacked four times. "They played good," Pederson said. "We would like to get more out of the run game, but you're playing a really good run defense. Sometimes you have to do what works and throwing the football was the deal. Not perfect, but at the same time they battled and really kept the pocket clean. They [the Ravens] can present some problems and I thought our O line did a nice job handling that."
- Pederson: "The guys have believed all along that they're a good football team. It's just one little thing here or there that's kept us from winning some of these games, but I believe that they believe in themselves. I remind them of that, but I don't have to remind them all the time. They believe that. [Sunday] was a great example: The excitement on the sideline, the enthusiasm on the sideline there at the end is what you want. It's something, again, that can propel you into the rest of the year."