CINCINNATI — The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ latest loss clearly impacted head coach Urban Meyer more than the first three. And he didn’t even try to hide his frustration.
His eyes were red and he looked physically and emotionally drained in his post-game news conference. At one point he slammed his hand down on the podium to emphasize that the Jaguars didn’t turn the ball over on offense for the first time this season and still lost.
“It’s devastating. Heartbreaking,” Meyer said after Cincinnati kicked a field goal as time expired to beat the Jaguars 24-21 at Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday night. “These guys. Usually, I’m not wrong about stuff like that. I just see a good team in there. I see good guys. I see good hearts. I see guys that work and I told them I’m not wrong. I’m not wrong about that stuff.
“This team’s going to win some games.”
Thursday night was the closest the Jaguars have come so far this season. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 202 yards and ran for 36 yards and a touchdown, James Robinson ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns, and the offense didn’t turn the ball over as they tried to overcome the loss of receiver DJ Chark (ankle) and right guard A.J. Cann (knee).
But the Jaguars failed on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1-yard line that would have given them a 21-0 lead at the half and the defense couldn’t stop Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (who threw for 253 yards and two TDs in the second half) or force a turnover for the third time this season.
The result was the Jaguars’ 19th consecutive loss, behind only Tampa Bay’s 26-game losing streak in 1976-77 for the longest in league history.
It’s also Meyer’s first four-game losing streak of his coaching career. So, his frustration — and maybe even a little anger — is certainly understandable. And he doesn’t want to hear about getting a couple breaks to go their way so they can finally win a game.
“There are no breaks,” Meyer said. “I mean no disrespect, but you have to make your own. We don’t look at it that way. I’ve said this from Day 1: The core of this team has good players. We’re getting better each week. It’s sickening we couldn’t win that game. I’m not wrong about the guys in that room.
” … That’s a heartbroken locker room. We’ve got to get them back.”
The players are just as frustrated at the 0-4 start, though they hid it a little better than Meyer did.
“We’ll have to regroup a little,” Lawrence said. “This one hurts to be up 14-0 and somehow come up on the wrong side of it. We’ll bounce back. … Damn, I really want to get a win with these guys.
“We’ve been working so hard and put ourselves in positions the last two weeks to win. We just have to finish. It’s collectively. It’s not one side of the ball. We’re right there.”
The Jaguars (0-4) have two more chances to get a victory before their bye week: at home against Tennessee on Oct. 10 and against Miami in London on Oct. 17. The Jaguars have lost nine of their last 11 games against the Titans, who started Jacksonville’s 19-game losing streak with a 33-30 victory in Nashville in Week 2 last season.
“We’re going to keep swinging as hard as we possibly can,” Meyer said.