Jaguars focused on improving, not recent streak against Colts

Indy, which visits Sunday, hasn’t won in Jacksonville since 2014 season

Jaguars receiver Christian Kirk runs after a catching during a Week 1 loss at Washington. (George Varkanis, News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doug Pederson is focused on this week and not worried about admiring his team’s history against a division rival.

“I don’t worry about the past, that’s why they call it history,” he said on Wednesday.

While Jacksonville’s in-town dominance over the Colts is a great nugget for fans, Pederson said that the Jaguars are focused on fixing the trouble spots following a 28-22 loss at Washington in the season opener last Sunday. It spoiled Pederson’s debut with Jacksonville and left fans disappointed about more of the same from the franchise.

There was a lot to clean up after that game, especially with the AFC South rival Colts heading to TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.

“They should all sting. You’ve heard the phrase, ‘You should hate losing more than you like to win,’ especially when it’s self-inflicted. I can handle a loss if we get beat, right. Both good games, it goes back and forth, comes down to the end, and you get beat,” Pederson said.

“When you make the mistakes that we did, the amount of mistakes on both sides of the ball, it’s harder on your stomach. Listen, it’s Week 1. We’ve got a young football team that’s eager to get back on the practice field and correct a lot of those mistakes.”

Doug Pederson is focused on this week and not worried about admiring his team’s history against a division rival.

The Jaguars (0-1) face the Colts (0-0-1) in the team’s home opener, a winnable game that could vault Jacksonville to the top of the division standings. Indianapolis is a team that has had major struggles playing in Jacksonville. It squandered a win-and-in playoff situation in the regular season finale last year, losing 26-11 to the Jaguars and interim head coach Darrell Bevell. That loss shook up things in Indy, with the team shipping quarterback Carson Wentz out after just a season and trading for Matt Ryan.

Indianapolis hasn’t won in Jacksonville since Andrew Luck led it to a 44-17 rout of Blake Bortles and Co. on Sept. 21, 2014.

That history, as dubious as it is for the Colts, means nothing to Pederson.

What does matter is addressing the issues that plagued the Jaguars in a winnable Week 1 game at Washington. Unlike many games last year in which Jacksonville was seldom competitive into the second half, the Jaguars actually surged back after a ragged start and 14-3 halftime deficit against the Commanders. The ground game behind James Robinson and Travis Etienne was strong. The team forced three turnovers after having just nine all of last season. But mistakes were the difference.

“We have the guys to make those plays so at the end of the day there’s really no excuses, we just got to go make them,” Lawrence said. “We missed some this week, but that’s why you get 16 more opportunities to go do it. I’m excited. We’re taking it one game at a time. A good Colts team coming in here this week and we feel really good about our plan so far.”

They took a 22-14 early in the fourth quarter before Wentz, in his first game with Washington, led back-to-back touchdown drives with scoring passes. There were miscommunications on several big passing plays, something Pederson said the staff was able to show the secondary and get corrected.

Pederson said that when he had a chance to study the Commanders game, numerous things jumped out. The loss boiled down to one thing — too many mistakes that helped put points on the board for Washington and took them off for the Jaguars.

Lawrence had an up-and-down opener, including two intentional grounding calls and a late-game interception on Jacksonville’s final drive that seemed like a desperation heave on third-and-11. Lawrence said Wednesday that analyzing the performance was tough because of how close some of those plays — like an overthrow in the end zone to Etienne — were in the final result.

“You look at all of those [missed chances], and everyone kind of sees that so those are obvious, but you just break down the game and you’re kicking yourself because you had so many opportunities to win the game and you didn’t,” he said.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.