Oct 28 2013
The Jacksonville Jaguars have promised to buck up their ideas after beginning a four-year effort to win over London fans by being blown out by the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley.
In the first of a series of games Jacksonville will play in the capital between now and 2016, they allowed four touchdowns in the first 23 minutes on their way to a 42-10 defeat on Sunday night, dropping them to a miserable 0-8 on the season.
They made few excuses after the game in admitting the product on the field was not worthy of the support British fans had shown before and during the game, but the hope remains that his rebuilding team will come back better and better each season.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, one of the few star calibre players on this roster, wants the team to develop home advantage through sheer repetition of the complicated routine involved in staging an NFL game on this side of the Atlantic.
"The guys that come back next year, hopefully this will all be something we're accustomed to," he said. "Hopefully we can go back to the same hotel and keep the same routine, but ultimately it's about playing well on the Sunday.
"That's the biggest thing, but we want to eliminate as many of the distractions as possible."
It is going to take more than just fixing a routine to solve the Jaguars' woes, however.
The 49ers, who reached the Super Bowl last year and are targeting a swift return, were always expected to outclass them, but the extent to which they did so in an explosive start spoke volumes of the task facing Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley and his players.
"We talked about it a lot this week, we had to go in fast," said 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley. "We were going against a team looking anywhere for a win. You look for everything to go your way early and build from that.
"We had to let them know we came to play and we weren't overlooking them."
Both teams now go into a bye-week which Bradley intends to use for a full evaluation of where his team is at, and where they might be going.
There will be no magic wand, and no sudden turnabout, but Bradley was clear that by the time they return to London next season to play the Dallas Cowboys, things need to be radically different.
"We've got to get things right. Our mindset is to keep building and get to the point where we come back here and give London a team fighting for a play-off spot," he said.
"It's been a really good week, the support we've had, it felt like the whole city bent over backwards for us."
Given the close ties to London of Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan, who also owns Fulham, Jacksonville have even been tipped to make the move here permanent should the NFL push ahead with plans for a British franchise.
And although his first experience of Wembley ended in a loss, that idea sounded okay to linebacker Paul Posluszny.
"Put it this way," he said. "If Mr Khan said, 'We're moving to play in London', I'm going to say, 'Yes sir'."