JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley stayed on message Sunday.
At the same time, although the Jaguars' first-year head coach continued to do what he did following the first three games of the 2013 season – emphasizing the positives of a one-sided loss – he spent equal time Sunday on another subject:
Because although Bradley said he continued to see growth despite a 37-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday afternoon, he said the penalties and other mistakes contributing to a 0-4 start can't be tolerated.
He also said competing isn't just "trying," but it also has to be about competing the right way to yield results.
"We must continue to emphasize competing," Bradley said after the Colts outgained the Jaguars 437-205 in front of 59,695 at EverBank Field Sunday afternoon.
"But competing is not just in effort. I want our team to understand that. Yes, we have good effort. But that's not all competing is about. We have to compete in all areas. I know our players want to. It falls on me to teach our players how to. We have to do a better job of that."
Of the loss, Bradley said: "It stings, because we have high expectations."
The Colts had 26 first downs to 14 for the Jaguars, and also held a 36:38-23:22 time of possession advantage, pulling away from a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter. Cornerback Darius Butler returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown and Trent Richardson ran 1-yard for another touchdown as the Colts scored 17 second-quarter points.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck completed 22 of 36 passes for 260 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns. He threw one interception. That came from cornerback Will Blackmon, and the Jaguars turned it into a 53-yard field goal by Josh Scobee for a 3-0 first-quarter lead.
"There is lot of good taking place – a lot of small victories, as I've said before," Bradley said. "But I think there are some things we have to be stubborn on – I really do. There are a lot of things that have been really positive with our culture and I'm going to stay strong on that. I'm going to stay stubborn to protect that, but there has to be flexibility. We can't keep banging our head against the wall in some other areas."
Bradley talked on Sunday of adding pressure to the competitiveness. He has often talked about pressing players, but not adding stress. The Jaguars committed nine penalties for 65 yards, with defensive end Jason Babin committing three for 25.
Babin now has six penalties this season.
"Today I think we need to talk about pressure," Bradley said. "To not execute, to jump offsides, to have nine penalties – all of those things are in our control. We can no longer do this. It's something we can control. A lot of them were foolish penalties.
"I know we have the character. I know we have the guys. I must not be stressing it enough to our players. I've got to get better at that and I will."
Bradley afterward also took responsibility for several missed interceptions and missed receptions. All three interceptions thrown by quarterback Blaine Gabbert deflected off the hands of receivers, although the last interception was thrown behind Ace Sanders.
The first two interceptions were off wide receiver Cecil Shorts III.
"We'll find out why," Bradley said. "I'm sure it's on me, and I know those guys will take responsibility, too. We'll find a way."
Bradley said he doesn't believe it's time to start a mass releasing and signing of players.
"We're going to have guys come in for practice squad and things like that, but right now, we need to get guys where we can have some rhythm and get some rhythm going," Bradley said.
BRADLEY STICKING WITH GABBERT**
Bradley didn't lay the blame for the loss on Gabbert.
Gabbert, starting for the first time since sustaining a lacerated hand in the regular-season opener, completed 17 of 32 passes for 179 yards and no touchdowns with three interceptions. All interceptions were off deflections by receivers, which Bradley noted.
"I'm staying strong with Blaine," Bradley said.
Bradley said he realized there were those who have grown impatient with Gabbert, now in his third season.
"I know you say, 'Gus, 'we've waited to see,' but I've got to see it,'" Bradley said, noting that some routes are getting broken off by receivers and that not all of the mistakes are on the quarterback. … I have to go back and say, 'Is it Blaine?' We have to take a good look at it."
Bradley encouraged Gabbert to take more chances, and Bradley said he did so Sunday.
"We have to stretch these defenses out somehow," Bradley said. "We have to take some shots on top. Those opportunities we have, we have to hit. He tried to show some freedom. That's going to be a process, too."
Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis played for the first time this season, but left the game early in the first quarter after aggravating a calf injury.
Lewis, who missed the first three games of the season with a calf injury, started, but did not return after sustaining the injury.
Wide receiver Denard Robinson left with a hamstring injury in the second quarter and did not return. And cornerback Alan Ball left briefly after a collision on an incomplete deep pass. He was replaced by rookie Demetrius McCray, but Ball returned on the same series.
- Bradley on Shorts: "He's competing. He's going after it. He made some plays. He has to understand when you do well in the NFL, that (double teaming) is going to come. That can't slow you down. That's the challenge for him. But I have no doubt Cecil is one of our fiercest competitors."
- Gabbert: "As quarterback, you have to take your shots. Like they say around the league, you have to take calculated risks. We left a lot of plays out there that we should have made. All eleven guys on our football team have to make those plays."
- Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew: "It's been very frustrating. We're just not executing at the right speed or the right tempo to go out there and put up points. It's something we have to continue to work on and fix."
- Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin: It's the NFL, the margin for error is small when you make mistakes."
- Safety Josh Evans: "It's real tough. I hate losing. I'm a competitor I try my best to get a win. My old coach told me the fun is in winning and right now we got to find a way to get a W."
- Gabbert surpassed 4,000 career passing yards.
- Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen registered his first sack of the season with a four-yard sack of Andrew Luck in the first quarter.
- The Jaguars failed to score a touchdown for the second time in four games.
- Linebacker Paul Posluszny led the Jaguars with a game-high nine tackles and Jaguars rookie linebacker LaRoy Reynolds registered two special teams tackles.
The Jaguars (0-4) will visit the St. Louis Rams (1-3) at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis Sunday at 1 p.m.