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Moving forward


Now is no time to bask in the past.

Jack Del Rio said that's true even if it's the recent past, and even if that recent past had a whole lot of positives in which to bask.

So, while the Jaguars' head coach Tuesday said many good things obviously occurred in a 12-7 nationally-televised victory over the Baltimore Ravens Monday – particularly on defense and special teams – the week is too short and the season too long to spend much time savoring.

Up next: the Houston Texans.

That, Del Rio said, was the focus Tuesday.

"For us we needed the next one bad and that was the next one," Del Rio said Tuesday, a day after the Jaguars held the Ravens to 148 total yards and 11 first downs in an emotional prime-time victory at EverBank Field.

"Now, we're on to the next one that's down in Houston. We needed that last one last night. We got it. . . There's a lot of football left for us. We just need to be able to win. We got one last night.

"We need to win some more. It's just about getting back into the grind."

The Jaguars coaches did as much Tuesday, putting in the game plan on an off day for players. The players will return Wednesday to begin full preparations for Sunday.

On Monday, the Jaguars not only snapped a five-game losing streak, they surprised many around the nation by outplaying a team that many believed the best in the AFC. The Jaguars did not allow Baltimore to score until 2:02 remained, and they allowed just 16 first-half yards with no first downs.

The effort further solidified the Jaguars' status as one of the NFL's top defenses.

After ranking 28th in the NFL in total defense last year, the Jaguars now rank No. 6 in the NFL defensively – 10th against the run and sixth again the pass.

The Ravens entered the game ranked No. 3 in the NFL defensively.

"For our guys defensively, they got tired of hearing about how great Baltimore's defense is," Del Rio said. "We're doing some good things here, and it was an opportunity for us to get out there and get after them ourselves and make some plays and make our own statement."

In the last six quarters, including the second half of a 17-3 loss to Pittsburgh, the Jaguars have allowed 203 total yards and seven points.

"We've played well in spurts this year," Del Rio said. "We played pretty darned well in our opener against Tennessee until they got kind of a fluke play on us late in the game to make it interesting. We've had stretches. We've had moments when we've played very, very well. I thought Monday night we started fast, and I thought that was important as a football team because of the way they've been jumping on people in the first quarter.

"We needed a fast start to not let that occur and we got that. Then, we finished strong. We probably did the best job thus far of sustaining the focus, the energy and the intensity for 60 minutes."

And while the last six quarters have been impressive, Del Rio said the reality is the Jaguars have played well defensively much of the season. They have held five of seven opponents under 300 yards total offense, and have held four of seven opponents to 17 points or less.

"I felt very strongly this would be a very good solid defense this year," Del Rio said. "We're nearing the midway point and I think it's obvious it is, that it has been. We're going to need to be even better the second half of the season.

"There's room for growth and there's room for improvement. We're going to need that."

The Jaguars (2-3) enter Sunday's game against Houston (4-3) two games behind the Texans for first place in the AFC South. And while the Jaguars in the past at times have lost games following emotional victories, Del Rio said Tuesday, ""The biggest thing for us is not to be historians of the negative.

"For us, we want to play good football, build on the positives, correct the negatives and move forward." Del Rio said, adding of the players, "They've bought into the idea of working hard, getting better, staying the course.

"We have continued to prepare hard and go out and fight hard each and every ball game," he said. "We know as a football team we're going to get better. We know our best football is in front of us."

Also Tuesday:

*Del Rio said one reason the victory was important was the Jaguars have been working well and doing things necessary to win – even during a five-game losing streak. "Certainly doing things the right way gives you a chance," he said. "The alternative – not staying together, not working hard, not working on the preparation you need to put yourself in position to play well – not doing those things guarantees you're not going to pull yourself out of it. We're doing the right thing. It was nice to see some fruit for the labor. It was nice to see a little validation for all the hard work guys are putting in."

*Del Rio said defensive ends Aaron Kampman, John Chick and Jeremy Mincey played well against the Ravens. "I thought the front was pretty good," he said.

*Del Rio praised the defense, but he also praised the special teams, which benefitted from the return of running back Montell Owens and wide receiver Kassim Osgood and from a 4-for-4 performance field goal kicking by Josh Scobee. "Outstanding job there," Del Rio said. "Having Montell and Kassim back was big for us."

*Del Rio discussed the play of rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who completed 9 of 20 passes for 93 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions. "There were some plays that he'll make going forward that we weren't able to hook up on last night, but the one thing he didn't do was he didn't turn the ball over," Del Rio said. "Going into this game we knew this was a football team that kind of feasted on the opponent making mistakes and turning the ball over. That was Goal No. 1, was not turning the ball over, and he did a good job with that."

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