BALTIMORE, Md. – Well, what do you know?
The Jaguars won Sunday – yes, really – and that really doesn't describe what happened. Not remotely. They won in the most improbably weird, wild, wacky fashion imaginable.
They not only stunned a crowd on the road, they stunned themselves.
And because they did, you know what?
This thing ain't over. Not yet.
Did you feel it? Are you paying attention? Do you realize what a 22-20 victory over the Ravens Sunday means for the Jaguars?
They now have won two of three games. It also means they're 3-6, which means they're a game out of first place in their division with a home game against the Tennessee Titans Thursday – and with four of their next five games at home.
That means in five days we could be talking about—
No. No, no, no …. Not that. Not yet. Not the p-word. For now, let's savor Sunday. Shoot, let's just try to figure out Sunday. And let's talk about the reaction after a weird, wild, wacky, crazy, memorable, unbelievable … yeah, it was that kind of victory for the Jaguars at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.
"Unbelievable – unbelievable game," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said.
Quarterback Blake Bortles agreed.
"That was kind of crazy," Bortles said.
Bortles was asked if "crazy" might be better defined as "miracle."
Images from the Jaguars Week 10 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
"Call it what you want," he said, smiling. "Whatever … it happened."
And you know what? Good for them. Good for Bradley and Bortles and the rest of a Jaguars roster that kept pushing through difficult times this season.
Good for a team that finally took advantage of all those Ravens turnovers.
Good for Bortles, who was good at times on Sunday but who struggled far more than usual – and far more than expected against a Ravens defense that had been struggling.
Good for a lot of people, but mostly good for Jason Myers, who went from goat after missing a 26-yard field goal – and really, really missing it – to hero with a 53-yard game-winning field goal on the game's final play. And of all things, that final play was an untimed play.
"It came down to players making plays," Bradley said.
Well, it came down to a little more than that. It also came down to good fortune.
A lot of good fortune.
"I really feel like the football gods are looking out for us," defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said.
The game – and the season – appeared over when Bortles was being sacked on the game's final play, a play that was snapped with time about to expire. Then, Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil pulled Bortles' face mask, and suddenly the Jaguars had that untimed play.
"That penalty, it gave us a chance," Bradley said. "That's all you can hope for."
The untimed play was a 53-yard field goal attempt. And the kid made it.
He nailed it, actually.
And because he did, he changed the perception and perspective of this Jaguars team. Entering Sunday, they were team that had lost five of six games, and a team that five times this season had lost games in which it competed into the fourth quarter.
Now they're a team that has won two of three. Now, they're a team that has won on the road. Now, they're a team that has closed a couple of games in the last three.
Now, they're a team that's a game out of first place in the AFC South.
Not that the Jaguars are singularly focused on that. But is it somewhere in the back of their minds?
"Absolutely," middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "We know if we compete every week like we can there's no reason we can't be in it at the end. We play one game at a time with a maximum focus on each week, but if we play to our abilities we feel we can be there."
Is winning the division realistic? If you saw this team miss chances in five of the first eight games, your gut is telling you no, no, no. Maybe your gut is protecting your heart. Maybe you don't want to hope.
Tell your gut this:
Tell your gut about the upcoming schedule, a schedule that guarantees nothing but that certainly gives Jaguars a chance. Tell your gut that young players such as Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson are for real. Tell your gut the run defense is for real, too.
Tell your gut the next few weeks have a chance to be fun, and that Thursday's game just got a lot more interesting.
If your gut doesn't believe that, tell it something else. Tell it how 19 years ago a young team that spent the first half of the season losing in maddening fashion won a road game in November. Tell it how that game was in Baltimore, and how that young team from Jacksonville used that road victory as a springboard to something unlikely.
We're not talking about "the p-word" yet, so we won't draw too many parallels to the 1996 Jaguars team that left Baltimore 5-7 in November and spent early January making miracles to this Jaguars team that is still just 3-6 with a lot left to do.
But could the conversation be a whole lot different in four days than it was Sunday morning?
Tell your gut maybe, and tell it this thing ain't over. Not yet.