JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — In a clear sign of how bad things are in Jacksonville after just two games, coach Urban Meyer opened his postgame news conference by thanking fans “for being there” Sunday.
“Don’t give up on us. Hang in there with us,” Meyer added. “We’re going to get better. ... Go to sleep knowing there’s not going to be any group work harder to get this thing flipped.”
It’s unlikely to be a quick turnaround.
The Jaguars managed just 189 yards in a 23-13 loss to Denver, the franchise’s 17th straight loss. They didn’t look nearly as dysfunctional as they did in the season opener, a 37-21 debacle at Houston, but they also didn’t provide much hope that improvement is around the corner.
No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence completed 14 of 33 passes for 118 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. He now has thrown five picks in two games.
Lawrence connected with Marvin Jones for a 25-yard score on the game’s opening possession, capping an 83-yard drive, but Jacksonville mustered a measly 106 yards the rest of the way. It was the 19th time in team history that the Jags failed to top 200 yards in a game and the first since the 2018 finale.
“I hate losing,” Lawrence said. “It’s not fun, obviously. But at the same time, you’ve got to realize we’re getting better. It’s a long season. We’ve still got 15 more games. ... That’s the mindset in the locker room, too.
“Everyone is frustrated. Everybody is disappointed. Obviously we worked our tails off to win this game, and we felt like we were prepared. Just got to keep getting better, though. We’ve got to make the play when our number is called and didn’t do that well enough today.”
The Jaguars (0-2) were considerably more functional this week than last. They didn’t have as many pre-snap issues, penalties or turnovers.
They did, however, endure something else.
“We just had a lull,” Jones said. “We just had lulls. I think it was a common theme after that drive in the second and third quarters. It’s just something that we need to figure out and we have to find that energy and that spark and keep it.”
There were a few bright spots:
—The defense sacked Teddy Bridgewater three times, including once when Josh Allen got him for a 16-yard loss that forced a field goal. The unit also allowed 3.2 yards a carry and held Denver to 2 for 11 on third down.
—Jacksonville averaged 4.7 yards a carry although James Robinson still only ran 11 times after getting just five carries in the opener.
—Lawrence was sacked just once for the second straight week.
—Cornerback Shaquill Griffin nearly had a pick for the second consecutive game, this one slipping off his hands after he bobbled the ball.
—Jamal Agnew returned a kickoff 102 yards in the fourth quarter. It was the first big-time special teams play for a coach who specializes in special teams.
But the negatives outweighed the positives.
Courtland Sutton had his way with Jacksonville’s secondary, finishing with nine catches for 159 yards — both career highs.
And Josh Lambo missed two field goals — a 52-yarder wide right and a 48-yarder wide left. Those were the first ones he’s ever missed at TIAA Bank Field. He had made all 41 previous attempts since signing with the team in 2017.
Lambo is now 0 for 3 on the season, raising speculation that Jacksonville might at least bring in competition.
“First of all, he’s had a very good career and he works his tail off,” Meyer said. “I’m not giving up on Josh Lambo. If he didn’t work hard, wasn’t a professional about everything he does, yeah, I’d have a problem with him. But he’s missing some kicks, and as a professional, he’s got to make those kicks. I have confidence he will.”
The Jaguars have confidence they will end the longest skid in franchise history, too.
“I think we’re close,” Lawrence said. “Obviously it’s not what anybody wants to see and it’s frustrating and disappointing, but we’re going to stick together, and I really feel like we’re close. We’ve got good enough players to win these games. We’ve just got to keep going to work.”
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