LONDON, England – This was unacceptable.
If there was a message – a clear, clear message – from Jaguars coaches and players following a 31-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Wembley Stadium Sunday, that was it:
Yes, they have improved this season.
Yes, they believed they are a better team than they showed Sunday.
But players and Head Coach Gus Bradley all said the way the Jaguars played in the first half Sunday wasn't close to their standards. And although players believed they played better in the second half, their words were pointed and clear in the aftermath of a third consecutive loss.
"We're all determined," Cecil Shorts III said afterward. "We're all sick of it honestly, but we're all determined."
Safety Johnathan Cyprien said the Jaguars in the first half played as a college team should play.
"We didn't play well at all," he said. "We played terrible."
Bradley, normally upbeat and positive, said he was angry at halftime, and said he told the players as much.
"It was a challenge in the first half," Bradley said. "I just felt like, 'We have some special guys, but we're not playing special.' That was the challenge that we gave to our team. It was a deep challenge to them all. There are too many things that pop up."
Bradley added of halftime, "I just didn't believe we were playing as special as we could. I didn't believe we were playing our best."
Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said Bradley at halftime was just "being honest."
"We didn't play well," Marks said. "We let the game get out of hand. We had to find a way to turn it around."
Players said they anticipated Bradley's anger.
"Everybody's frustrated," running back Denard Robinson said. "We expect that from him. Even though we know he's an upbeat guy and I love him to death, I expected it, because that's not a team that we are. That's not us. We can do better. I thought we could do way better than we did tonight. Everybody on this team felt that way."
Said quarterback Blake Bortles, "He's been like that before once or twice. It was him trying to send a message. We didn't play well in the first half at all, and it was him trying to get everybody fired up. He does it in a way that you have a clear understanding of what the message is and what he means. He's not yelling to yell. He's yelling to get a point across and he did."
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Shorts, wide receiver, Jaguars
The veteran wide receiver, as expected, played despite a hamstring issue this week.
He wound up playing one of his best games of the season.
Shorts, a fourth-year veteran, caught five passes for 119 yards while being targeted seven times. His 53-yard gain in the second quarter was a season-long gain and gave the Jaguars a first down at the Cowboys 35. But running back Denard Robinson fumbled on the ensuing play to end the threat.
Shorts left the game in the fourth quarter and was evaluated for a concussion. The Jaguars announced after he game he had been cleared.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense:Robinson scored on a 32-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. That gave the Jaguars 7-3 lead and early momentum.
Defense:The Jaguars' defense struggled too much in the first half to expect much in the way of plays of the game, but the unit did force a turnover that kept them temporarily close in the second quarter. With Dallas driving, linebacker J.T. Thomas hit receiver Cole Beasley and forced a fumble at the Jaguars 25. Safety Josh Evans recovered at the Jaguars 23.
Special teams:For a second consecutive week, special teams hurt the Jaguars as much as they helped, with Ace Sanders' first-quarter muffed punt the game's turning point. The area did produce a late safety when Cowboys safety Kyle Wilber was called for holding in punt block in the end zone.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"It's time we take another step. It's time that we get it done, and get it done by playing consistent football from the first snap to the end. That's not what we're doing right now. I give credit to our team, their heart and how they battle throughout, but that consistency in our play is lacking a little bit right now. We need to shore that up."
--- Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley
1.Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks: "I don't think we had a letdown (after a first-half muffed punt by Ace Sanders. "It's frustrating when you count on people and something like that happens. But we went out and kept fighting."
2.Running back Robinson: "Those guys played a great game. The defensive line was great. The linebackers were good. We've just got to toughen it up. They got me on a couple of shoestring tackles. I have to avoid that. We could have had more yards, but their guys chasing from the backside did a great job."
3.Offensive tackle Austin Pasztor: "I think the bye week's coming at a good time. It's a chance to really refocus and do what we need to do to win games. We just have to do it."
4.Bortles: "The first drive was a really good drive. The offensive line played well and we ran the ball. We hit Cecil on a big play and Denard for a big run. We shot ourselves in the foot for two or three drives after that."
5.Bradley: "They're a very talented team and they played very well. We didn't play as well. Sometimes, when you want to be something special you go through some of these times that we're experiencing now. We didn't play as well as wanted to, especially in the first half. It's important our team learns and grows from it."
6.Bradley: "When you have three turnovers against a team like that, that's a challenge. It's something that's in our control and we have to get it corrected."
First half images from the Jaguars Week 10 matchup in London against the Dallas Cowboys.
1.J.T. Thomas moved to the middle linebacker spot and started there for a second time in three games with Dekoda Watson starting at outside Otto linebacker.
2.The Jaguars have not allowed a touchdown on the opposition's opening drive this season, a streak now at 10 games. …
3.Jaguars rookie guard Tyler Shatley started the second half in place of Jacques McClendon, who started the game in place of injured right Brandon Linder. "I thought Shatley played well," right tackle Pasztor said. "He made the right calls, and I thought he did a good job." …
4.Bradley on how much a muffed punt by Sanders in the first quarter hurt, said, "It doesn't help. Let's put it that way."
5.Bradley said the brought various pressures on Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but went away from the approach when Dallas got explosive plays after protecting Romo. "We stopped doing that as far as some of the pressures on first- and second down," Bradley said. "It calmed down some and got better after that." …
Jaguars' wide receivers Shorts and Allen Hurns left the game in the second half, with each being evaluated for head injuries. Hurns left in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a head injury, while Shorts was cleared.
Cornerback Peyton Thompson sustained a rib injury in the second quarter and was cleared to return.
The Jaguars are off next week and will visit the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis November 23 at 1 p.m.
Second half images from the Jaguars Week 10 loss matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.