JACKSONVILLE – The process continues.
And if the Jaguars' offense through six games of the 2022 season isn't quite where players and coaches want, it's absolutely improving and showing signs.
And it may have taken a big step this past Sunday.
"Collectively, we're putting pieces together," wide receiver Zay Jones said.
Jones spoke Monday afternoon, a day after the Jaguars' 34-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. He and Head Coach Doug Pederson each spoke that day of a Jaguars offense that played efficiently in multiple areas in the loss, and one that put together perhaps its best drive of the season in one of the game's most critical moments.
The Jaguars drove 84 yards in 18 plays on a possession that lasted 10:03 and ended when quarterback Trevor Lawrence's 4-yard pass to wide receiver Christian Kirk gave them a 27-26 lead with 2:44 remaining.
"I think it was a step in the right direction, to be able to do that in a time where we needed something in that second half," Pederson said.
The Jaguars, who have produced at least 331 yards in all games except a loss to Philadelphia played in cold and rain, produced 377 yards Sunday. They scored touchdowns on three of three red-zone possessions Sunday.
They rank 11th in the NFL in total offense (357.8 yards per game) and are 16th in points (23.0) after ranking 27th in yards (305.4) and 32nd in points in 2021 (14.9).
"I'm proud of us, but ultimately we didn't get the job done in winning," Jones said. "That's the greatest statistic that counts. We're trying to find where we can excel more as an offense."
The Jaguars moved efficiently throughout the second half Sunday – scoring a touchdown on a 75-yard drive to open the third quarter, moving 49 yards before being stopped on fourth-and-1 from the Colts 42 late in the third quarter and moving 84 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"We knew what was at stake," Jones said of the final drive. "To have that type of result was really good for us a unit. Now we can go back on the film and have a piece, a stepping stone, that shows it can be done – and moving forward, just executing like that continuously."
Said Pederson, "It just gives the offense confidence, the fact that when it's crunch time, they can do that. It just kind of shows you, shows us, too, this is what we're capable of doing if we just do our jobs and focus on one play at a time."
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 20 of 22 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions and two rushing touchdowns Sunday. He completed five of five passes for 33 yards on the final drive, including an 18-yard pass to Jones to convert third-and-12 from the Jaguars 18.
"Trevor really set the tone," Jones said. "You could see in his eyes the intensity he had to finish. Encouraging. Voice inflection. Everything he was speaking was really authentic and raw. Some guys can give fake rah rah, but he really set the tone for that last drive. Everyone was in one accord, just working together.
"Truly we felt like we were going to finish in the end zone. That moment I think was a step for us as a team, in that space, in that situation."
- The Jaguars allowed touchdowns on four of the Colts' final five possessions Sunday with Colts quarterback Matt Ryan completing 42 of 58 passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns. After sacking Ryan five times and intercepting three passes in a 24-0 Week 2 victory over the Colts, the Jaguars did not sack or intercept him Sunday as the Colts utilized a no-huddle tempo heavy on crossing routes to beat the Jaguars' defense in man coverage throughout the game.
- "I definitely expect to see tempo at some point in the game moving forward," Jaguars linebacker and captain Foye Oluokun said Monday. "We saw some tempo a little bit earlier in the season, but we'll be able to have a gameplan for it. Whether we have a certain set of calls in different formations or different personnels that we're in, I'm sure that's what we'll get to Being able to rattle off some pressures if we need it, or man-to-man, or get into different zones, whatever we need. Everybody just being on the same page and getting that communication out quickly, that's really all it is to it."
- Oluokun also addressed the crossing routes the Colts used effectively Sunday: "I think we knew the plays that we were in, I don't think we knew that they were going to hit crossing routes the whole game. Obviously, when they started doing it the whole game, there are adjustments that we should've had. Whatever coverage you're in, they show us a specific formation, especially when they're doing hurry-up, they only have so many plays that they can do. That's something we see on film, and we know we can adjust to now, but it's a learning thing."