JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - This loss may take some time to get over.
The Jaguars put forth one of the team's most complete efforts under head coach Gus Bradley and still lost to the Green Bay Packers, 27-23, on Sunday.
"We talk about getting better, and we want our best and all that," Bradley said. "We’re getting better. We weren’t at our best today. There’s a few thing we’ve got to get corrected."
The back and forth nature of the game provided the Jaguars and their fans with a roller coaster ride full of twists and turns. When you're fighting to put a tally in the win column against an impressive team like the Packers and actually have a shot at the goal, it can be draining when you come up short.
"It was encouraging but we lost the game so it's not what we're here to do," center Brandon Linder said. "We'll come in tomorrow and watch it and see what we need to do. We did well, but we need to do better and it's not acceptable."
The loss impacted everyone in the locker room. For a team that has shown growth and improvement from last season, this was a tough pill to swallow.
Linder said this was one of the toughest losses of his football career. Others were quiet with disappointment. The Jaguars had the game in their hands in the closing seconds but failed to make a play on 4th-and-1 after going 3-of-3 on the "do or die" down with prior attempts.
"We always felt like we had a chance," defensive tackle Roy Miller said. "It just didn't go that way for us. It's frustrating right now to think about it, we have to watch film to get a better look."
Following the loss, linebacker Telvin Smith offered an emotional speech to the locker room. In a game of inches, added inspiration and energy can push you over the hump. The message was loud and clear to Smith's teammates.
"Anytime Telvin talks, it's powerful," linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "Guys listen to his message because he is so heartfelt and genuine. It was exactly what we needed to hear. Coming up short, that's not good enough anymore. It isn't good enough and we're not going to stand for it."
Despite the loss, there was plenty to like about the game on Sunday. The Jaguars played well on offense, moving the ball well and consistently answering when the Packers added to their total. The run defense was stifling at times and the coverage did the best it could against an offense that seems to make difficult plays look average.
The special teams unit played nearly flawless football. The punting unit pinned the Packers deep in their own territory a few times and kicker Jason Myers was perfect on his field goal and extra point attempts.
"We'll most definitely take some good points out of it," cornerback Davon House said.
"We did some great things in there. We did a good job of controlling Aaron [Rodgers], he only had 200 yards passing or something like that, which is good. I think we did a good job of stuffing the run, but we also did some bad things like penalties, which is undisciplined. We have to do a job in that situation. We'll see what happens when we watch film."
Left guard Luke Joeckel was called for a holding penalty on the team's final drive. He was bailed out by other penalties, but Joeckel never lost focus.
"The thought process is focus on myself, focus on my technique - things I can control - and play the next play," Joeckel said.
The silver lining for this loss is that the Jaguars proved they could hang with an elite group. They were never out of the contest and the confidence level in the locker room remains strong.
The players believe they have the pieces in place to win, regardless of the what the scoreboard said after the matchup with Green Bay.
"We have the camaraderie , we just have to capitalize on opportunities like that to beat big time teams because that's going to make us a big time team," defensive end Jared Odrick said. "Everyone in this locker room believes that. We relinquished out and we'll continue to relinquish out. The men in this room, I wouldn't want to be on any other team."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.