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View from the O-Zone: A buzz at the 'Bank


JACKSONVILLE – You know what we got here, don't ya?

Folks, we got ourselves a story.

Yes sir, the Jaguars after 10 games of this up-and-down 2015 season are now a real, honest-to-goodness story – and if it was a curious one at first, it's getting downright interesting now.

Yes, somewhere in the last few weeks – maybe it was in London, or in Baltimore, or somewhere in the sea of Bold Rush that engulfed a rowdy, raucous, ready EverBank Field Thursday night …

Wherever it happened, it happened. It's real. And it's now.

That's what Jaguars 19, Titans 13 in front of 60,121 at the bold, gold 'Bank meant.

It meant what was a bit interesting a week ago – what we felt might have a chance to happen – got more interesting, and it meant Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley could stand at a podium in the bowels of the 'Bank and smile the smile he smiled in London. And in Baltimore.

"It's an awesome feeling," Bradley said late Thursday after the Jaguars scored the final 10 points to win a second consecutive game for the first time since November/December 2013. "I know the guys are elated in the locker room. It's a great win."

It meant Paul Posluszny could smile, too – really, really smile.

The veteran middle linebacker has been here since 2011, which means he has seen losing. A lot of losing. The idea of playing important games in late November and maybe beyond?

Well, let's just say it was quite a smile.

"It's a great feeling – a division opponent, at home, under the lights – and then to get the win like that was great," Posluszny said. "The situation we're in right now, we haven't been like this since I've been here. The fact that we're in a competitive spot, late in the year … I haven't experienced this."

Guess what? They're experiencing it now. The Jaguars are 4-6, and if that doesn't sound great, how does three victories in four games sound? How about a half game out of first place?

That's cool, and it meant a little celebrating at 'the Bank late Thursday. They were celebrating a feeling that tremored through the 'Bank before, during and afterward. They were celebrating hope.

It has been a long time since mid-November football was fun around EverBank in the way meaningful games with a chill in the air are supposed to be fun. And this game undoubtedly had that feel.

And how in the world is it not OK to celebrate that?

Was it OK to celebrate Rashad Green's 63-yard punt return that in one play gave the Jaguars all the momentum they struggled to find all night?

Was it OK to celebrate Julius Thomas' five-yard touchdown reception on the next play – easily the most important play of the tight end's 10-game Jaguars career?

Was it OK to celebrate Davon House, Andre Branch, Aaron Colvin, Telvin Smith and Jared Odrick and all the other defensive players who made play after play after play?

Was it OK to celebrate Jason Myers, who didn't miss a kick and looked consistent and poised after an up-and-down rookie season?

Absolutely it was OK, and the celebration was real. It was joyous and youthful and really, really cool to watch. And make no mistake:

This was about the fans, too. The fans felt it. And so did the players.

"It's big," Smith said. "To keep that momentum going, to come back and win on our home turf – it's just big. The fourth-quarter wins – that doesn't do anything but feed confidence into the team knowing you can come out and finish when it counts.

"Whenever we made plays, the fans – they started to go crazy. That's one thing I love about the fans. They stay behind us. I know it gets tough at times, but they've been sticking with us and we want to give them a team to keep fighting for."

That was the tone of the celebration Thursday. Not a celebration about what the Jaguars have accomplished, because in the big picture, they haven't accomplished much. No, this felt like celebrating what might be accomplished, what they have put themselves in position to do.

Because more than anything, that's what Thursday did.

Thursday means that the Jaguars get to play another game that matters – maybe a few more games that matter. It means the next 10 days before San Diego at the 'Bank on the Sunday after Thanksgiving will have an undertone of energy, and meaning.

That's the same undertone that made the four days between the victory over the Ravens and what happened at the 'Bank Thursday so cool, so alive, so enjoyable. It's the buzz that competing, pertinent teams give their fan base when they're playing meaningful November games.

It has been a long time since there has been buzz like that at the 'Bank. A real long time. Too long.

But make no mistake: after Thursday, the buzz is back – and the way the Jaguars are playing, who knows? They may have a chance to keep buzzing into December.

And folks … *that *would be a story.

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