The Jacksonville Jaguars couldn't complete the comeback bid Sunday in Indianapolis, falling 23-17 after facing a 17-0 first-quarter deficit.
The 2-7 Jags have played better of late, winning two of their last four games -- including a massive upset over Buffalo -- and almost stealing a road win against a division foe.
"There's a lot of positivity," coach Urban Meyer said Monday, via the team's official website. "We're not far off. I refuse to believe we're far off."
The Jags defense has been the main reason for optimism in Jacksonville in recent weeks. Josh Allen has been a demon, including nine pressures Sunday, and the back end has been much better of late, led by Shaquill Griffin.
The offense, however, remains a work in progress. Trevor Lawrence continues his up-and-down season, missing more throws than you'd hope from the No. 1 overall pick, and he fumbled away the ball with a chance to take the lead late Sunday. However, it's hard to fault the rookie QB, given the line in front of him and the receivers he's throwing to each week. It's not great when a former full-time return man (Jamal Agnew) is the best wideout at earning separation from corners. As a result, Lawrence has been forced to make a ton of tight and low-percentage throws.
With eight games left -- including bouts against the one-win Texans and two-win Jets -- Meyer believes his team will continue to develop.
"It's a bunch of street fighters," Meyer said. "We have whatever games left, and we're going to go try to win this one (Sunday vs. San Francisco). The hardest thing is that this one stung because our I thought our guys put us in position to win that game."
Added Meyer: "There were a lot of encouraging things. Most importantly, the team is growing."
After a brutally rocky start to the season, the Jags are at least playing with more pep. The question is whether a team lacking talent will continue to battle as we head past Thanksgiving.