What the Jaguars had to say after their season-ending loss

Blake Bortles Jacksonville Jaguars
Blake Bortles speaks at a press conference after the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots. –AP Photo/Steven Senne

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Jacksonville had its chances on Sunday, but the Jaguars couldn’t pull off the upset in the AFC Championship against the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Patriots, once again, proved their ability to come back late in the fourth quarter, as they scored the game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes remaining.

Here’s what head coach Doug Marrone, quarterback Blake Bortles, and other players said in their press conferences following the wild contest:

Doug Marrone

On whether Blake Bortles delivered what he needed: “When you look at the team and we haven’t won, obviously you all want more from everyone including myself. So I think it is difficult. By the game, it is not one play or one player. Something random like that. It was a team effort out there today. We played hard and we came up short. I don’t think you can really look at anything and say that really swooned this way or swooned that way. We still had opportunities to win.”

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On whether he thought the Jaguars were going to win the game: “I was just trying to play it play-by-play, down-by-down. That is what we talked to the players about, knowing that there would be swings and adversity and things like that during the game … We had some penalties that led to scores for them. That kind of happened, but we talked to the players about playing it play-by-play. Throughout the game, my thought process was just win the down, win the play.”

On whether the loss serves as motivation for next year: “I do not know. The players may say that now. I am kind of old school when it kind of comes down to it. I never look a season before or anything of that nature. I always think you have to start from scratch. You have to start from the bottom. Start building the foundation. Every year is a new year. People come in, people go. You just have to start bringing the team together and start training.”

On the feeling of being so close to the Super Bowl: “I think it is hard when you come in right from the field and you come in here. I think if you think about it, and the more I think about it, the more it will hurt, the more it will weigh on my mind about what we could have done better. Everyone in that locker room is thinking what could we have done a better job of, including me, so it is tough. Outside of, God forbid, someone passing away that you feel close to, this is probably as close of pain that you will have. This is the pain you deal with when you lose football games. We have to deal with it and it hurts. It stays with you for a long time.”

Blake Bortles

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On the locker room’s atmosphere after the loss: “I mean, guys were upset. It was not what everybody expected outside of the country and popular belief. That room fully expected to win this game and I think everybody is shocked, disappointed and upset — whatever you want to call it.”

On whether the idea of advancing to the Super Bowl crossed his mind: “No, I don’t think you can, especially when playing Tom Brady and the Patriots because they’re going to score. They’re going to find a way to put pressure on you. We had a two-minute drive at the end of the game to win the AFC Championship, so there’s not a whole lot more you can ask for than that. You got to take advantage of that and find a way to win the game.”

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On how long it will take for him to feel satisfied from this season’s accomplishments: “I don’t know. I mean, it’s been an awesome season. I think it’s been a lot of fun despite what happened today. It’s been a special ride to do this for an organization that hasn’t done this in a really long time with a special group of guys. It’s tough to try to enjoy it right now, but I’m sure that at some point we’ll be able to reflect and think about all the good things that happened. Find a way to fix it to make sure that we don’t feel like this at this point again.”

On whether the team’s performance proves the Jaguars are ‘legit contenders:’ “I don’t know. I mean, maybe if we would have beat them. We got here and we didn’t get it done. We’ll figure it out and try to make corrections and do the same thing like we would any other game. We just got a couple-month break now.”

Barry Church

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On his helmet-to-helmet hit on Rob Gronkowski: “I just tried to dislodge the ball. He’s a big dude and I was just trying to dislodge the ball, but I guess they felt it was too high of a hit. I hope he’s healthy. I know he didn’t come back, so I hope he’s alright. It was a tough call, but you have to go with what they call. It’s the toughest play in football, if you go low for the knees you are considered a dirty player and if you go high, they throw the flag at you. It’s a bang-bang play and I was just trying to play football.”

On whether he felt the game slipping away in the fourth quarter: “No, I didn’t feel like it was slipping away. I mean we had it right there where we wanted it. We were up three, and we knew if we held them in that red zone — I mean we played great red zone ball all season, No. 1 in red zone efficiency — we knew we had a chance still. He was just able to buy time and make a play in the back of the end zone. Great throw, great catch, and there isn’t anything more you can say about that.”

Jalen Ramsey

On the locker room’s atmosphere after the game: “We didn’t get the job done. It’s a terrible feeling.”

On the turning point of the game: “You never know what play it is in a game that can change it around. There was a difference of what we did in the first half than in the second half in general.”

On the loss: “We did alright. I mean, we didn’t win though, and that’s what matters at the end of the day. It’s tough, we had bigger goal, bigger aspirations. We are pretty pissed off about not winning. But at the end of the day, we have to reflect on the season, and be proud of ourselves to a point. We brought ourselves closer together, did our thing to make it this far. We got to figure out a way to make it back, and do a little bit extra to make it to the next level.”

Jarrod Wilson

On the Jaguars’ future: “We were thinking more now rather than in the future. We wanted to win it now. We had our goal, we were all together. It is a missed opportunity and I am sick about it.”

On whether their lead ever felt safe: “Never, not against the New England Patriots. They have been in the AFC Championship seven years straight. No. You’ve got to play a damn near perfect game against them.”

Allen Hurns

On the game’s finish: “l felt no matter how we started the game or how much we were up we still had to finish. We knew they would put up points, the same as we went through last week. With a high powered offense, you never give up. We didn’t make enough plays when we needed them the most. They made more plays than us so they were able to finish it off. They made a lot of great plays.”

On whether this season was successful: “Yeah, I feel like it was, but it hurts because I felt like our potential was going all the way. It just shows something about life. Last week was one of our highest moments and this week one of our lowest. It’s something about life. It hurts.”

On Blake Bortles’ performance: “That’s who Blake is. He always feels he can lead his team and he did a great job today. And that is all year. People say what they want about him but he comes into the building each and every day ready to work. Another reason everyone on the team respects him is he never throws anyone under the bus or complains about anything. He has our respect.”