A postseason loss is more devastating for some teams than others.
For a franchise with a tight championship window — whether that’s due to salary cap constraints or aging stars — a loss in the NFL Playoffs can be the catastrophic close to their chance at a Super Bowl win. That wasn’t the case for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday, though.
“Equal parts crushed that we’re done playing, that the road ends for us here, and equal parts proud of what we did,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said after a 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. “You work so hard to get here, nobody thought we’d be here – we had our shot and that’s what hurts.
“We’ll be back, I’m confident in that. This is more the beginning than it is the end of something. This is just getting started for us, we got a taste of it. Guys are already hungry to get this opportunity again.”
The Jaguars weren’t satisfied with just reaching the Divisional Round. The team was resolved to give the Chiefs its best shot, but failed to seize a few opportunities that could have turned the tide.
But it’s hard for the team to feel too upset about the loss given the optimism the 2022 season inspired. The Jaguars — fresh off finishing with the worst record in the NFL in back-to-back seasons — now have a franchise quarterback, a Coach of the Year candidate, and a bevy of promising, young players.
“Nobody expected us, the Jaguars, to be in this football game,” Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said after the loss. “I told them we are going to learn from this and grow from this. Our expectation is to be in these games every year. That is our expectation. This was a good first year for all of us.”
The Jaguars aren’t going anywhere.