JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley didn't like this. Not even close.
And the Jaguars' first-year head coach, who largely has remained positive throughout the early part of the 2013 season, strayed further from that mood Sunday afternoon following a 24-6 loss to the San Diego Chargers than he had at any time previously.
Bradley has emphasized improving and positive building throughout the early part of his tenure.
And thus the reason for his tone Sunday:
This wasn't improvement, and Bradley wasn't in much mood to be positive.
"We talk about getting better, and we completely missed an opportunity," Bradley said after the Jaguars fell behind 14-0 and never got close than 11 points again in front of 59,550 at EverBank Field.
"That's not what getting better looks like."
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was one reason for the San Diego victory. He completed his first 14 passes, and finished completing 22 of 26 passes for 285 yards and a touchdown.
"I give a lot of credit to San Diego, and I mean that from my heart," Bradley said.
Bradley said the Chargers played remarkably well considering they were playing three time zones from home, and considering they were playing six days after a Monday night game.
"I give a lot of credit to them because that's tough to do," Bradley said.
But the theme of his postgame remarks centered more on his own disappointment that the Jaguars seemed flat from the start and didn't improve following a 35-19 loss to Denver last week in which the team played perhaps its best game of the season.
"We had one of those days – it was very, very disappointing, especially on the defensive side of the ball," Bradley said.
The Chargers outgained the Jaguars 434-353, with the margin 239-95 in the first half. San Diego had 18 first downs to seven for the Jaguars in the first half, finishing with a 27-18 advantage. Chargers running back Ryan Mathews rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Chad Henne made a second consecutive start at quarterback for the Jaguars, completing 23 of 36 passes for 318 yards and no touchdowns with an interception. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 37 yards on nine carries, and wide receiver Mike Brown caught five passes for 120 yards.
Bradley cited penalties, missed tackles, missed assignments, a lack of spirit, a lack of effort, a lack of toughness, a lack of enthusiasm and a lack of playing smart.
"I don't know what the reason was," Bradley said. "I told them that if you're looking to place blame we have two options. Blame yourself or you blame me as the head coach. I did not have them ready today. That's what's disappointing on my end.
"That one really hurts. That's not who we are."
PAIN, NOT BLAME
Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III winced in the post-game locker room.
Slowly, gingerly, he pulled his T-shirt over his head, favoring his right shoulder enough that a reporter remarked that it was painful to watch. And yes, Shorts said, he was in pain.
"I was hurting," Shorts said.
At the same time, Shorts said the sprained SC joint that he played through Sunday had nothing to do with two dropped passes he said could have and should have resulted in touchdowns. One play came in the first half on third-and-3 from the San Diego 12-yard line, and the other came on fourth-and-1 from the Chargers 22-yard line in the fourth quarter.
"It's still no excuse," Shorts said. "I should have made those two slants. They're routine for me. I've made them 100 times in practice and 100 times in my career. I'm not sure what happened. They're easy catches that I messed up. That's 12 points on the board right there.
"That's on me. I'm not going to hold my head down. I was very upset with myself. I was near crying, but that's part of the game. I've got to bounce back."
Asked if the pain had nothing to do with the plays, Shorts held his hands in front of him.
"That's not my shoulder," he said.
The Jaguars reported no immediate significant injuries Sunday. Wide receiver Ace Sanders (concussion), defensive end Jeremy Mincey (concussion), wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion) and quarterback Blaine Gabbert (hamstring) were declared inactive before the game.
- Bradley: "I felt it right from the start, right from the very first play. I didn't think we played with the same spirit we demonstrated before."
- Bradley: "It's time. We have to fix those things. We challenged our team to take the next step. We felt like we were ready to do that, but we weren't. It didn't show up."
- Bradley: "To the fan base, if they said today didn't feel good, I'd say, 'You're right; I'm with you.' We talk about being in this all together, but we have to earn that. We have to earn that with our fans. If they felt that way, how could I argue with them?"
- Henne: "It (the passing game) is getting better, but obviously we need to capitalize in the red zone. When we're down there, we have to make those throws and make those catches. Those are precious points for us."
- Jaguars wide receiver Mike Brown: "We have to go back and review the film and try to correct things and get better this week and do it right next week."
- Bradley said he believed late in the first half that a play involving San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen would be reviewed by officials in the replay booth because the play occurred in the final two minutes. On the play, Allen appeared to perhaps have been touched down by a Jaguars defender, but ran to the Jaguars 5-yard line where he was tackled by linebacker Geno Hayes. "Everything told me it was going to be reviewed, then I saw they weren't going to review it," Bradley said. "I ran down the sideline to get a timeout. They didn't see me, I guess." Asked if the officials should have been looking for him, Bradley said, "Something must have caught their attention."
- Jacksonville has been outscored 89-11 at home this season.
The Jaguars will play the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, England.