Jacksonville enjoys being the underdog

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk says he’s ready to show his teeth once again after perennial weaker teams made one of the biggest comebacks in playoff history.

The lifeless Jags have made this year’s comeback even more impressive by setting the NFL’s worst regular season record in each of the past two seasons.

The appointment of head coach Doug Pederson and smart off-season acquisitions like Kirk rounded out nascent quarterback Trevor Lawrence and helped them win the AFC South.

More excitement followed as the Jags bounced back 27-0 in a wild card shootout with the Los Angeles Chargers last weekend to win 31-30—the third-largest comeback in NFL postseason history.

“Unfortunately, I think some of the playoff nerves started in the first half and things like that,” Kirk, the wide player who scored a goal against the Chargers, told the PA news agency.

“We were trying a little too hard for things to happen. There were some little things that took us away. On offense we dug ourselves a hole. It’s not a situation you want to get into.

“But we came in at halftime and everybody said to each other, ‘We’ve been here before’ – that’s what we’ve done so far this season, we came back from some gaps and we were able to win the game.

“We knew we had to play one game at a time, the defense faltered a bit and on offense we had to score every time we got the ball. We can go there, we can trust each other, and we can do it.

“It was a big moment for our team and this organization, but we kind of fried him right after that and we were able to bring those feelings to Kansas City.”

The Jaguars are muttering as they prepare to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday after winning six games on the trot and losing just once since their 27-17 loss at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 10.

“We were being wiped out early in the season – no one expected us to do anything,” Kirk said of the Jags, who will be returning to their home away from Wembley for their 10th game in London this year.

“We had a few wins, showed we could play good football, and then we had a five-game losing streak in October. It was a low point of the season and it was a tough time for us. Everyone forgot about us a little bit.

The Jags lost 21-17 to the Denver Broncos at Wembley in October.

Jags lost 21-17 to the Denver Broncos at Wembley in October (Simon Marper/PA)

“In the middle of the season (after the Chiefs loss) we came out of the bye week and said, ‘Hey, we have to commit to this – if we want to hit all of our goals, we have to win every game from now on out’.

“Obviously we lost a game in the process but we started to piece together some of the wins and play the football we really wanted to play and trust each other.

“Slowly but surely, I think people are starting to come to terms with what we’re capable of a little bit, and frankly, winning the AFC South was a huge success for us.

“We like to be underpowered and kind of overlooked, and we like to trust everyone in this building, not caring what anyone says outside of this building because we know what a team we are.”

This approach explains why the Jags weren’t bothered as pundits and punters expected Saturday’s AFC divisional clash to go the way of the Patrick Mahomes-inspired Chiefs.

Instead, they enjoy their underpowered titles and continue to use the “fear nothing and attack everything” mentality that Kirk says serves them well.

“We’ve probably been on the weak side in the last eight games we’ve played, so that’s nothing new for us,” the wide receiver added.

“We don’t expect anyone to come out and say we’re going to be world champions and we’re definitely the best team.

“We know every game is going to be tough for us and that’s okay. We believe in the guys we have in this building to do that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *