On this Monday,
For the Jaguars, that’s a very good thing.
Mathis, the Jaguars’ 10-year veteran cornerback, was vocal and pointed this time last week that while the team was working hard, and while players were doing and saying the right things, that wouldn’t be enough much longer. After losses in the first two games, Mathis talked about needing to change the conversation.
A week later, consider it changed.
“I can happily say that today I’m not singing the blues,” Mathis said Monday, one day after the Jaguars (1-2) rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit for a 22-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts (1-2) at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.
“There are smiles and there are smiles for a reason.”
A big reason for the smiles Monday was that the victory not only was the first for the Jaguars this season, it was the first under Head Coach Mike Mularkey, and the first in the regular season since Shad Khan officially purchased the team in January.
“I’m very happy for them,” Mularkey said of his players. “I was happy we got the win. We can still play better. We can do a lot of things better, but we were down 14-3 at halftime. It would have been easy for them to tank it.
“I saw no signs of that. We found a way to win a game and that’s important in the NFL. We found a way to win a game.”
The Jaguars talked throughout the offseason, training camp and the preseason about believing in a new direction under Mularkey.
“It’s big,” Jaguars guard
The Jaguars, who lost the season opener in overtime at Minnesota, trailed 17-16 with 56 seconds remaining Sunday before quarterback
“It was big, and I think everybody knew it – it was a huge game,” Nwaneri said. “Coach Mularkey said, ‘It might come down to the last second.’ It did. In terms of us as a team, we have to enjoy this win as a team today and move on, then start preparing.
“That’s going to be crucial in allowing us to take that next step.”
The Jaguars, after a narrow defeat in the opener, a one-sided loss to Houston and Sunday’s narrow victory, now return to EverBank Field for a pair of out-of-division games against the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) and Chicago Bears (2-1). The Bengals and Bears are tied for the lead in the AFC North and NFC North, respectively.
“We have to take it one game at a time,” middle linebacker
“We can’t get too high with a win or too low with a loss. It doesn’t work that way. The season is too long to have that emotional rollercoaster.”
Emotional rollercoaster – two of the three Jaguars games this far fit that description, with the lead changing hands multiple times late in the opener against Minnesota and in Sunday’s game against Indianapolis.
Teammates said afterward that when Gabbert entered the huddle on the ensuing series he told teammates the Jaguars would score – that, despite Gabbert completing just 9 of 20 passes for 75 yards before that. Nwaneri said the team remained confident in Gabbert entering the final drive, and Mathis said that confidence extended to the entire team.
“The good thing is we stuck together,” Mathis said. “We were up on the sideline when the offense had the ball, cheering them on. They were cheering us on. It worked in all three phases.
“We couldn’t afford to fall to 0-2 (in the division). It was bigger than just 0-3. Oh-and-2 in our division was the bigger thing. We couldn’t afford to fall to 0-2 in our division. We did a great job finding a way to win at the end of the game.”
“This is a great game to teach off of,” Mularkey said. “There are a lot of good things that happened Sunday. There are a lot of things we have to keep working on. We’re still striving for everybody doing their role and trusting that their buddy is doing the same.
“It certainly helps to win like we did and respond. There’s nothing negative that can come from that.”